Davis, Watkins clash during WIBW-TV forum

Published: Oct. 18, 2018 at 10:22 PM CDT
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With their race marked a toss-up, Kansas 2nd Congressional district candidates Steve Watkins, R, and Paul Davis, D, sparred over health care and outside funding, as well as their personal and professional backgrounds.

The two met for a live, televised forum held in our 13 NEWS studio.

Despite a slew of personal attack ads from both sides, Thursday's debate was kept civil. However, the candidates showed different views on the majority of issues impacting Kansas.

Among their disagreements was health care.

Davis said the country should fix what’s broken, not eliminate the current healthcare system entirely.

"I believe that we need to preserve what we like about our healthcare system. Things like being able to keep our kids on our insurance until they're 26-years-old,” he said. “Then we need to fix what needs to be fixed in our healthcare system, and move on with trying to do something about cost."

Watkins suggested the healthcare system should be privatized.

"Healthcare is a large and complex series of systems and it ought to be built on a platform of free market,” he said. “Medicare for all will require some $32 trillion to be added to the debt resulting in perhaps the largest tax increase in history."

They did find common ground on President Trump's tariffs.

"I’m a capitalist and I’m a free-trade thinker so as a general rule I don't believe in tariffs," Watkins said.

Davis said the tariffs were hurting Kansans.

"Many farmers are frankly being hurt by what's happening with the tariffs," he said.

The candidates clashed when asking each other questions.

Watkins targeted Davis' funding from the Democratic Party, asking, "What is Nancy Pelosi getting for her $4 million?"

Davis replied, "I would not support Nancy Pelosi. I don't think it comes as a surprise to anybody that Democratic groups support Democratic candidates and Republican groups support Republican candidates."

For his part, Davis questioned whether people could trust Watkins, when fellow Republicans have said he's lied about his record.

Watkins responded, "If people don't like your policy and they don't have a voting record upon which to sling arrows at, they go after your character, and we've seen that even at the national level."

Watch the full debate in the series of videos above.