Elections

What they’re saying about Spotlight PA’s Democratic and Republican U.S. Senate debates

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The Democratic and Republican debates both took place at Dickinson College.
The Democratic and Republican debates both took place at Dickinson College.
TOM GRALISH / Philadelphia Inquirer

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HARRISBURG — Nine people who want to be Pennsylvania’s next U.S. senator gathered at two separate debates hosted by Spotlight PA and its founding partners this week.

The four Democrats running for their party’s nomination gathered Monday at Dickinson College in Carlisle, while five of the seven Republicans vying for the GOP nod appeared the following evening.

Here’s a roundup of coverage of the debates from news outlets around the state:

U.S. Senate candidates, from left: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Jenkintown Borough Councilmember Alex Khalil, and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb at Dickinson College.
TOM GRALISH / Philadelphia Inquirer
U.S. Senate candidates, from left: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Jenkintown Borough Councilmember Alex Khalil, and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb at Dickinson College.

Democratic U.S. Senate debate

Watch here.

Candidates in attendance: John Fetterman, Malcolm Kenyatta, Alexandria Khalil, and Conor Lamb

Post-Gazette: “In a debate packed wall-to-wall with substantial policy discussions and clear, defined contrasts between the Democratic contenders for U.S. Senate, there was a moment that brought to light the key points of contention in this race…” Read more.

Inquirer: “… while there were areas of policy agreement, there were also clashes as the candidates tried at times to avoid being boxed in to taking stands.” Read more.

PennLive: “At Monday’s debate between the Democratic candidates seeking the party’s nomination for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat, real differences emerged on a list of issues.” Read more.

WGAL: “The candidates covered a range of issues from crime and guns, to abortion rights. They were also asked about adding justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.” Read more.

Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, from left: Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, George Bochetto, Sean Gale, and Carla Sands at Dickinson College.
TOM GRALISH / Philadelphia Inquirer
Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, from left: Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, George Bochetto, Sean Gale, and Carla Sands at Dickinson College.

Republican U.S. Senate debate

Watch here.

Candidates in attendance: Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, Carla Sands, George Bochetto, and Sean Gale

Candidates not in attendance: Dave McCormick and Mehmet Oz

Inquirer: “While the candidates squabbled over their conservative credentials, they were largely in agreement on major issues like energy, taxes, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” Read more.

PennLive: “But with big spenders David McCormick and Dr. Mehmet Oz off-stage, Tuesday’s ‘Spotlight on Pennsylvania’ debate among the five other candidates on the Republican Party’s U.S. Senate primary ballot had a golden chance to do just that.” Read more.

TribLIVE: “The debate was chaotic in nature, with most candidates dodging moderators’ questions, instead speaking out about alleged voter fraud and criticizing other candidates.” Read more.

WITF: “Republican Senate candidates all say enhancing voter identification rules at the federal level is key to keeping U.S. elections free and fair.” Read more.

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