California Senate Hopefuls Spar in First Debate, Tackle Trump and Key Issues

Candidates Clash on Trump, Economic Policies, and Hot-button Topics in California Senate Race
First debate

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Candidates Clash on Trump, Economic Policies, and Hot-button Topics in California Senate Race

Four candidates vying for a U.S. Senate seat in California engaged in a spirited debate on Monday. The debate, hosted by the USC Dornsife Center, KTTV-TV, and Politico in Los Angeles, showcased diverse perspectives as the contenders compete for the open seat left vacant by the late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The three Democratic candidates, U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, and Barbara Lee took the opportunity to emphasize their opposition to former President Donald Trump. Their focus extended to the lone Republican candidate on stage, former baseball player Steve Garvey, who faced scrutiny for not clearly stating his support for Trump.

During the debate, Schiff criticized Garvey, stating, “What more do you need to see of what he’s done to be able to say that you will not support him?” While acknowledging Trump as the best candidate in the past elections, Garvey hesitated to declare his support for Trump or President Joe Biden this year.

Porter carved out an economic-populist identity, positioning herself as a consumer advocate ready to stand up against corporate power. She pledged to address income and wealth inequality, advocating for a ban on earmarks and stock trading for members of Congress.

As the March 5 “jungle primary” approaches, where all candidates compete on the same nonpartisan ballot, the candidates aim to secure a spot in the general election. While Schiff is considered a front-runner, the second candidate to advance remains uncertain.

The debate also revealed divisions among the Democrats, with Porter opposing earmarks while Schiff and Lee defended the practice. Tensions rose on issues such as abortion rights, the filibuster, and the Israel-Hamas conflict, showcasing the differing perspectives within the Democratic candidates.

The candidates’ stances on these critical issues will play a crucial role in shaping the upcoming primary and general election outcome. As the race unfolds, voters will closely examine the contenders’ positions on key policy matters to make informed decisions.