LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)-Almost a week to go until we go to the polls. Monday night U.S. Senate candidates Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and incumbent Senator Rand Paul took part in their only debate before election day. Paul has declined to debate Gray until now.
Both candidates’ supporters took over the front of KET with yard signs during a pre-debate rally. Then in came Rand Paul supporters, marching to the station’s front entrance. Both groups screamed back and forth to each other with chants like “Jim Gray all the way” and “R-a-n-d Rand Rand Rand”.
There was also one smaller group that did not chant either candidate’s name. That group of young voters said they want to hear the candidates address environmental issues.
“It’s not that we don’t support either one, it’s that we want to push both of them to actually discuss these issues so we don’t feel like we’re settling for a leader that doesn’t represent the young demographic,” said Marriah Harrod with the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition.
“The mayor has done a wonderful job here in Lexington and to take that approach where you bring people together, you workshop ideas, and you do what’s best for the community would be very beneficial for Washington,” Clint Morris, a Gray supporter said.
“He makes a point every day when he’s in Congress to support our values in Kentucky,” Mackenzie Portwood, the UK Students for Rand chapter President, said about Rand Paul.
In the debate, Paul and Gray both mentioned economic issues as their top priorities. Then a talk about national security brought up a back and forth over who is more committed to serving Kentucky.
“He’s not even agreed that he’ll serve a full term. I made a pledge I would serve a full term and I’ll ask him now. Senator, will you serve a full term in the U.S. Senate if you’re elected?” Gray asked Paul.
“You know, the funny thing about hypocrisy is people come up with these things and it’s like well, Mayor are you going to serve a full term as mayor? You’re the one running for two offices. In fact, if anyone up here is distracted by running for two offices it’s you,” Paul responded.
The candidates also talked about choosing a new justice for the Supreme Court. Paul said he could only imagine voting for a Hillary Clinton nominee if that person believes in the separation of powers.
Gray responded by saying he is practical and thinks the senate should have already taken up the confirmation process.