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Two Dans Debate For Open Congressional Seat

Angela Hsieh

The two Dans running for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District faced off last night in their only face-to-face debate, aired on WBTV in Charlotte. It was a heated battle between a moderate Democrat and a staunch Republican supporter of the president.

Democrat Dan McCready cast himself as a problem-solver with bi-partisan policy proposals on big issues, like health care.

"They're all ideas to bring down the cost of health care and protect pre-existing conditions and work with Republicans and Democrats to do it," said McCready

Democrat Dan McCready, running for a U.S. congressional seat, visits a Lumberton shelter and thanks the nurses for their long hours on Twitter.
Credit @McCreadyForNC Twitter post
Democrat Dan McCready, running for a U.S. congressional seat, visits a Lumberton shelter and thanks the nurses for their long hours on Twitter.

And McCready attacked N.C. Senator Dan Bishop as part of the General Assembly's GOP leadership blocking Medicaid expansion.

But Bishop noted his sponsorship of a bill extending group health plans to small businesses.

"And what it does is it allows employees of small businesses and the self-employed to receive lower cost health care premiums," said Bishop.

On immigration, Bishop brought up a Republican-backed bill in the General Assembly that would have required sheriffs to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention requests for inmates in local jails.

"The governor vetoed that bill because the governor favors sanctuary city policy and Dan McCready said the governor made the right call," said Bishop. "Wrong Dan."

But McCready, who served with the Marines in Iraq and started a solar energy investment business, again said he'd bridge the partisan gap to address the country's immigration challenges.

"I think that on immigration we need a comprehensive reform that secures our borders, that makes sure we're a nation of laws that are respected and that upholds our American values," said McCready.

On guns, McCready said he'd support comprehensive background checks and red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others - but he wouldn't call for an assault weapons ban.

"We've also got to look at what we can do right now," McCready said. "Washington's a very broken place. Just about nothing's getting done at all up there and anything that's coming out of the House of Representatives right now is dead on arrival with Mitch McConnell."

Credit Rusty Jacobs, WUNC
Republican Dan Bishop is a state senator running for Congress.

Bishop - a staunch gun rights advocate - surprisingly said he would not rule out the possibility that some type of weapons need to be prohibited.

But Bishop hedged on red flag laws.

"I have grave concern in administrative practice for whether liberal judges, who have taken so much on themselves to carry out, in terms of activism, might use such a power to strip inordinate numbers of people of weapons," said Bishop.

Libertarian Jeff Scott and Green Party candidate Allen Smith did not qualify for the debate.

Election Day is September 10.

Rusty Jacobs is WUNC's Voting and Election Integrity Reporter.
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