The Weddington Witness

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The 9th District Debate

Images used are from the respective candidates campaign websites and was compiled by Spectrum News.

Images used are from the respective candidates campaign websites and was compiled by Spectrum News.

Images used are from the respective candidates campaign websites and was compiled by Spectrum News.

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On Wednesday, October 10th, the 9th District of North Carolina saw a debate between its two candidates for the House of Representatives. Either Mark Harris or Dan McCready will be elected in november to replace Robert Pittenger, the incumbent who lost to Harris in the primaries. The debate lasted a slim forty five minutes and encompassed such topics as health care, education, immigration, and partisan politics. Each candidate maintained civility throughout the debate, but neither shied away from taking swings at the other.

Dan McCready, the Democrat, is a veteran of the Marine Corps who owns a small clean energy business. His Republican opponent, Mark Harris, is a former pastor who has run in the past, both for this position and for senator, losing in the primaries both times. Both of them stated their platforms outright during the debate: Mark Harris hopes to support Donald Trump’s efforts to secure our southern border, but urges the President to proceed with caution when using tariffs Meanwhile, Dan McCready hopes to advance public education, fight partisan politics, and cut taxes for the middle class. Each was confident, concise, and each backed up their stances with facts. That being said, in my eyes there was a clear winner.

Compared to the presidential debates that preceded the 2016 election, this event was fairly tame. Harris and McCready sat at separate tables, and directed all of their statements towards the host, never to each other. This made it less of a debate and more of a side-by-side comparison. For a candidate to ‘win’ the debate, they had to actually plead their case for why they would make the better congressman rather than scoring insult points. This felt like a breath of fresh air for many of us expecting a political battlefield.

An issue the two frequently returned to throughout the debate was education, a topic each candidate has vastly different plans for. Harris, if elected, plans to shut down the North Carolina Department of Education, which he feels draws necessary funds away from public schools. His opponent sees this as unacceptable, claiming it will have an adverse affect public education. McCready didn’t offer many specifics, but he supports changes to the current system to give kids a good education regardless of where they live in North Carolina.

Health care, immigration, and the National Anthem debate were among the other topics discussed. Both candidates support healthcare that includes people with preexisting conditions, yet neither supports universal healthcare which is being seen more and more on progressive agendas. Harris sided with Trump’s immigration plan, saying that illegal immigrants should only be granted amnesty once the border has been secured via a wall. McCready didn’t mention the wall, but agrees that people who enter the United States illegally should have to wait for documented immigrants first. When the National Anthem debate was brought up, McCready stated that as a veteran he will always stand, but he respects the NFL players’ right to kneel in protest. Harris, in alignment with most other republicans, believes that the National Anthem is no time for politics.

While both candidates had a strong showing, it was Dan McCready who stood out to me. He made his background as a Marine and a small business owner seem valuable, while his strong stance against party divides was a clear advantage over his opponent. Harris had some solid stances, but he felt like a run of the mill republican, with no new ideas or characteristics that make him stand out. McCready set himself apart by promising to vote against his party if it meant benefitting our state or our nation. Since our federal legislature is more divided than ever, we are in desperate need of more representatives who will champion bipartisanship, and Dan McCready seems committed to doing this. He is relatively young, which means it is easier for him to identify the problems faced by the average North Carolinian, and he has a multi-faceted background that will prepare him for a political career in Washington DC. His calm demeanor and focus during the debate are also signs of a good congressman. The polls are fairly close at the moment, but based off of Wednesday’s debate Dan McCready could prove to be the stronger pick for our state’s 9th district.

The two candidates will face each other again on Wednesday, October 17th on Spectrum news at 7:30.

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