WATCH: Cantwell and Hutchison square off in first Senate debate
After early doubts as to whether it would even happen, we’re finally got to see Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell go toe-to-toe with Republican opponent Susan Hutchison at Pacific Lutheran University Monday afternoon.
The debate came after Cantwell initially opted not to participate, before relenting following a good deal of pressure.
The two debated for an hour on a variety of issues. Out of the gates, the #MeToo movement became a key topic. “The #MeToo movement has been very, very important to all of us women in the workplace… I’ve been fighting for (women) and will continue to do so,” said Hutchison.
Cantwell was aligned with Hutchison on that particular point, stating that “this is so important that we can stand up for those who have been victims of sexual assault…these people need to be heard.”
Pressed on the 6,000 untested rape kits currently gathering dust in Washington state, both agreed that funding for testing is a necessity.
Things got much more heated on the topic of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, with Hutchison labeling the confirmation process “a national disgrace,” and blaming Democrats for “exploiting” Christine Blasey Ford.
When asked about whether President Trump’s controversial proposed border wall was necessary to securing the United States from drug trafficking, Hutchison was emphatic in her support.
“There’s no question about it,” she answered.
Cantwell disagreed, claiming that “building a wall would be a waste of money,” instead pushing for additional border agents, improved technology, and legislation to police our mail system.
A good portion of the debate was devoted toward each candidate’s opinions on gun control.
“I think that the laws we should have on the books is to make sure that people do follow good gun safety,” said Cantwell. “What we’re seeing from families is that people want us to do more.”
“The problem with an awful lot of the rhetoric about gun control is that it is intended to punish those law-abiding citizens who use guns properly, and not punish those who have used them the wrong way,” Hutchison countered.
Early polling in May showed Cantwell holding a robust 16-point lead over Hutchison, giving the Republican challenger a significant uphill climb in a state that has consistently voted Democrat in recent elections.