Republican Tom Cotton may have had more to say in his four commercial breaks during the televised Democratic Congressional run-off debate between Sen. Gene Jeffress and Q. Byrum Hurst.
The 30-minute debate took place on KARK-Channel 4 at noon on Monday, June 11.
Jeffress and Hurst will compete on Tuesday, June 12 for the nomination to face Cotton, the GOP nominee, in November for the Fourth District Congressional seat. Green Party nominee Joshua Drake and Libertarian candidate Bobby Tullis are also vying for the position that retiring Cong. Mike Ross (D) is leaving.
Hurst and Jeffress found little with which to disagree during the debate.
Hurst said he had “deep roots” in the district as a seventh generation resident of Garland County. He repeatedly emphasized that he would fight to protect Social Security and Medicare.
“It's a shame that a lot of peple have tried to use fear tactics related to Social Security,” Hurst said. “I'll fight til the last dog dies to protect Social Security for our people.”
He advocated that high income earners – those making more than $110,600 annually – should not be capped from making
Social Security payments. He argued that removing the cap would help keep the safety net program more solvent.
Saying he loved his Social Security check that he receives, Jeffress also said the system needed to be guarded. He also played up his background in the legislature, his family values and his education experience, which includes being a “yellow” bus driver.
“I think we need some of them up there,” said Jeffress, who said he'd angle for a seat on the Education Committee. He also played up his hunting and fishing credentials, popular attributes for a south Arkansas candidate.
Both men talked about the need to create more jobs in the expansive Fourth District. Hurst railed on stimulus funds that were spent with multi-national companies and advocated for more small business investment, while Jeffress touted the need to tap into lignite and oil deposits in the region.
Jeffress added that his campaign has used symbolic duct tape to underscore how “broken” Washington, D.C. is by partisan politics.
“We're not about being ole sore-headed cats. We're about being Americans and we need to talk to each other,” he said.