Blunt, Carnanhan clash in Lake Ozark in Missouri U.S. Senate race

The candidates had previously debated in Kansas City on Thursday.
Democrat Secretary of State Robin Carnahan questions Republican U.S. Representative Roy Blunt about his position on an issue during a debate Friday morning at the Lodge of the Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Mo. Constitution Party candidate Jerry Beck and Libertarian Jonathan Dine also participated in the discussion hosted by the Missouri Press Association.

LAKE OZARK—In a battle between two Missouri political titans, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and his major opponent, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, tried to discredit each other during their second Senate debate Friday morning.
Blunt is leading his Democratic rival in polls with 51 percent of the vote as opposed to Carnahan’s 43 percent, according to Rasmussen Reports.

Jerry Beck of the Constitution Party and Libertarian Jonathan Dine also tried to cut in between the two main candidates during the forum sponsored by the Missouri Press Association. The Association's headquarters are located an hour south of Columbia.

Carnahan went on the offensive in her opening remarks, criticizing Blunt for voting to raise his own salary and fraternizing with lobbyists.

“He doesn’t deserve a promotion,” Carnahan said after the debate. “He hasn’t protected Missouri jobs and Missouri families.”

During the course of the debate, attacks from both major parties escalated. Although Carnahan attacked Blunt in her opening statement, her opponent struck first in the actual debate. Blunt criticized Carnahan’s brother for receiving $107 million in federal stimulus funds for a wind farm he owns.

“When I first heard that I said, ‘Surely, you must mean $1.7 million,’” Blunt said. “They said, ‘No, it’s $107 [million].’ It’s a grant. It’s a gift. It doesn’t have to be paid back.”

Carnahan asked Blunt about his ties to lobbyists and other fundraising companies, claiming as she did in their debate in Kansas City on Thursday that Blunt was the number one recipient of lobbyist funds in Washington.

Carnahan gave up some of her own speaking time midway through the debate to allow Blunt a chance to defend himself on the issue of whether or not he had been flown around in a private jet by an unnamed company from California.

“[Blunt] slipped something into a bill for a company in California,” she said. “And two days later, they gave you a campaign contribution and you started riding around on corporate jets.”

Blunt claimed his was a small contribution on a bill over 400 representatives also voted for.

Moderator David Lieb, the Jefferson City Associated Press correspondent, asked the two candidates to say something nice about the other given the hostile nature of the debate.

Blunt spoke first, but failed to directly credit Carnahan for any accomplishments. Carnahan spoke up, stating that Blunt “did some good things” as her predecessor. She utilized this remark as a segue into another criticism on her opponent.

“I think when he was here in Missouri he was a terrific public servant which is, to me, why I’m disappointed it hasn’t worked out the same way in Washington,” she said.

Beck and Dine also both worked hard to get their voices heard at some point in the debate. Pushing an agenda of electronics manufacturing and jobs staying in America, Beck appealed to the audience with his roots in the military and business. He also appealed to the MPA to put a businessman in office.

“They’ve been sending our jobs overseas, along with our factories, our technicians, our technologies,” Beck said.

Dine provided argued primarily for individual freedoms and a governmental emphasis on fostering job growth, instead of simply increasing spending to drive employment. He offered the harshest criticism of the Blunt-Carnahan matchup.

“I’ve seen both of their commercials that play nonstop for the Blunt and Carnahan campaigns and they’re both right,” Dine said. “I don’t think you should vote for either of them.”

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