MILWAUKEE (AP) – The first debate between U.S. Senate candidates Tammy Baldwin and Leah Vukmir turned tense and combative as they clashed over abortion, immigration, health care and a host of other issues.
The Republican Vukmir is down in the polls to the Democratic incumbent Baldwin. Their debate Monday on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus was the first of three before the Nov. 6 election.
Vukmir defended her push to repeal the national health care law, saying she would “fall in front of a truck before I would let people go without coverage for pre-existing conditions.”
Baldwin supports the law and says Vukmir’s push to repeal it would return us to the “bad old days” and jeopardize that protection for people with pre-existing conditions.
Vukmir says the question is whether voters trust her, a nurse, or Baldwin, who Vukmir dubbed a “career politician.”
Vukmir also forcefully defended being anti-abortion, saying “Tammy Baldwin would rip that life out of the mother just like that and snuff that life out.”
Baldwin accuses Vukmir of politicizing the death of a Marine veteran at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Their second debate is Saturday night in Wausau with a third and final debate set for Oct. 19 in Milwaukee.
Polls have shown Baldwin with a lead over Vukmir. Baldwin reported earlier Monday that her campaign raised $6 million between July and September and had $5 million cash on hand.