Susan Collins & Shenna Bellows Debate in Aroostook County [AUDIO]
Incumbent Republican US Senator Susan Collins and Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows debated for the first time Monday night at WAGM in Presque Isle.
In a televised, 60-minute debate at the WAGM studios, the three-term moderate Republican Susan Collins took on political newcomer and Democratic nominee Shenna Bellows in the first televised debate of the 2014 US Senate election here in Maine.
Collins is asking the voters of Maine to return her to the United States Senate for a fourth six-year term in the upper chamber, arguing that experience and Senate seniority will enable her to represent Mainers better than any new senator ever could. Bellows contends that her fresh perspective and civil libertarian background are important qualities for a U.S. Senator, and that she'll take a different approach to Washington gridlock and bipartisan cooperation.
In a testament to the civility of Maine politics, the hour-long event highlighted the policy differences between the two candidates. In the lightning round on issue positions, both candidates shared similar views on issues like abortion, wind energy development, and the ability of local hospitals to deal with infectious diseases like ebola.
Major areas of disagreement were largely related to the economy, support for renewable fuel alternatives for Northern Maine, the federal government sequester, and the paycheck fairness act. Senator Collins also took issue with the characterizations of her positions and voting record on Shenna Bellows' campaign website.
After the end of the broadcast, we caught up with each candidate and asked a few follow-up questions to their responses during the debate.
Listen to Senator Susan Collins' reaction to the debate and her message to Aroostook County voters:
Listen to Shenna Bellows' reaction to the debate and her message to Aroostook County voters:
The general election for U.S. Senate, Governor, Congress, Maine Legislature, local officials and referendum issues will be held on Tuesday, November 4.