Paulsen, Phillips Spar in First, Only Scheduled Debate
Republican Third District Congressman Eric Paulsen and Democratic challenger Dean Phillips squared off Tuesday in a debate put on by the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce. It was the first, and so far, only debate scheduled between the two candidates, a fact that caused some controversy as admission to the debate cost $60.
Paulsen has been a member of Congress since 2009, while Phillips is a political newcomer. The hour-plus-long debate covered topics from transportation to health care to immigration. The candidates agreed on little and occasionally sparred with each other instead of sticking to the formal Q&A structure.
The underlying current of the debate was the economy. Paulsen thinks it’s doing well largely due to President Trump’s tax rewrite. Phillips believes the tax cuts went to the wrong people, saying the middle class should benefit more than the wealthy and large corporations.
“You’re No Jim Ramstad”
Words occasionally turned unfriendly. Paulsen accused Phillips of hypocrisy for demanding health care for all, while failing to provide health insurance to his employees, a charge Phillips denied.
And Phillips accused Paulsen of trying to sound like Jim Ramstad – at one point calling to mind another famous political debate by telling Paulsen “I know Jim Ramstad, you’re no Jim Ramstad.” Paulsen rejoined with “Jim Ramstad supports me.”
Both candidates agreed that they are willing to participate in more debates, but neither committed to any specifics as to where and when.