MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Congressman Bobby Bright and his Republican Challenger, Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby answered questions on a wide range of issues facing the Second Congressional District during a debate at the WSFA 12 Studios Monday night. The district covers 16 counties in South Central Alabama.
The two candidates stood side by side, the differences between them much wider than the space between their lecterns.
It didn't take long for the candidates to discuss a key figure prominent throughout the entire campaign - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"It's not like what my opponent wants you to think about it being between her and a lady who lives over two thousand miles away by the name of Nancy Pelosi," Rep. Bright said. "It's about two people who are asking you for your support."
"And Congressman Bright, this is about the first vote in Congress, the most important vote, and by voting for her, you voted in favor of her agenda, and all of the failed policies we've seen handed down," Roby responded.
The candidates also discussed another claim brought up in campaign ads - whether Martha Roby supports eliminating the Department of Education. Roby had said maybe there will come a day when the department would be eliminated.
"Our tax dollars should come right back to Alabama," Roby said. "This has never been about cutting the funding of education. This is about letting that funding to funnel right back to our schools in Alabama."
"Don't make those statement erroneously or lightly, always know the consequences of those statements, and if you do that, you're going to cut out millions and millions of dollars that our schools have access to," Rep. Bright said.
Both candidates said the tension during the debate showed how vital the race is on the national stage.
"It was a great opportunity for the people of Alabama's Second District to see the candidates side by side, see the differences between us," Roby said.
"It's very obvious. I was proud to be here tonight so that people could see pretty much the difference in the tactics and the mannerisms that the two candidates have," Rep. Bright said.
Bright also brought up the man who would be speaker if the Republicans win control of the House - Minority Leader John Boehner. He said Boehner opposed the farm bill, and would be harmful to Alabama farmers.
While Boehner did oppose the last farm bill, there is no clear indication that Republicans would cut farm subsidies if the party gains control of Congress.