NDBA Hosts Political Debate | VideoJoel Porter | 9/5/2012
However, in the highly contested Senate race, both Rick Berg and Heidi Heitkamp will square off just two more times.
A fired up crowd was all ears as Congressman Rick Berg and opponent Heidi Heitkamp faced each other for their first live debate.
"We were supportive of her the last time she ran and it was good to see her back," said John Toman from Flasher.
Heitkamp skipped her party`s national convention in Charlotte to instead take part in the 45 minute debate, discussing issues like health care reform and development in oil country.
"Absolutely. I mean, today, if I`d have said `No`, I`d have missed one debate and that`s critically important."
Heitkamp criticized Berg for turning his attention to the Senate race after only a few months in Congress, while Berg pointed to Heitkamp`s support along party lines.
"How his values represented the values of the voters of North Dakota and Heidi spent the entire time trying to run from her support for Obama, run from her support for Reid and run from her support for Obamacare," said NDGOP Communications Director Anna Nix.
House candidates Pam Gulleson and Kevin Cramer, who agree on some issues such as energy and health insurance, also took the podium today.
"And that`s good. People will have an opportunity to come and see us, they`ll hear us on the radio or TV and hear firsthand from our candidates, and I think that`s always important," Gulleson said.
"Debates tend to favor the challenger and to favor the person that`s behind in the polls. But elections aren`t about the people running, they`re about the people you want to serve," Cramer said.
Voters on both sides agree on one thing. They`d like to see more debates before Election Day. Cramer and Gulleson have been more receptive so far. They`ve agreed to seven. Meanwhile, Berg and Heitkamp, not as much. Only three.
"I wish we`d have seven, eight more of these and that`s not to be. We`re going to have another half hour debate and then maybe an hour debate at the end of the campaign and that`s unfortunate," Heitkamp said.
While both Berg and Heitkamp have plenty more to say, they won`t have much of a chance to say it to one another before November 6.
"Right now, Medicare, for example. It`s going bankrupt. In 12 years, Medicare is bankrupt and we have to fix it and we have to have a solution for that. So that was an issue that didn`t get brought up today," Berg said.
"When I go around and visit all of these places, I don`t hear about the Affordable Care Act, I hear about these problems. And I think we need to address solutions to these problems," Heitkamp said.
A job that only one of them will have a chance to tackle once voters decide who to send to Capital Hill in two months.
Heitkamp and Berg will next take part in a recorded debate that will air on October 15 on Prairie Public. Their third and final debate is scheduled for October 25. However. a time and place have yet to be determined.