CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With just weeks remaining until the special election for North Carolina’s ninth district congressional seat, the two leading candidates took part in a special debate Wednesday evening.
Both Democrat Dan McCready and Republican Dan Bishop participated in the debate hosted by WBTV and the Charlotte Observer. The debate was held at WBTV’s studios in west Charlotte.
McCready is a military veteran and solar energy entrepreneur. Bishop has worked as a lawyer for years and currently serves in the state senate.
The two candidates sparred on several major topics during the hour-long debate. Right out of the gate, they accused each other of accepting campaign contributions from big pharmaceutical companies.
"He took the only vote from either party - the only vote - against pharmacists being able to tell people about lower cost drugs and now big pharma is funding his campaign so I see this as a critical issue for the ninth district," said McCready during the debate.
Bishop responded immediately, claiming McCready’s accusations had been proven false.
"You just added another falsehood which you said I’m supported by big pharma. There is a fact-check on that very claim and they said you had received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from executives of big pharma and I’ve received none,” said Bishop.
The candidates also discussed the controversy surrounding Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden and his reluctancy to help ICE with immigration enforcement. Bishop has been critical of the sheriff’s actions and has referenced these beliefs in his campaign advertisements. McCready criticized Bishop for this Wednesday.
"A lot of people are saying that the state senator playing partisan politics by attacking our law enforcement is enabling violent criminals to put North Carolina families at risk and I have to say I agree," said McCready.
Bishop defended his beliefs and turned the attack around on the democrat.
"You won't secure the border. You won't even secure the Mecklenburg County Jail,” said Bishop. “It's not a question of an attack on the sheriff. It's a question of requiring the same sort of cooperation among law enforcement agencies that has always existed in North Carolina."
The candidates also debated the federal budget, taxation and methods to reduce gun violence among other topics. In interviews after the debate, both men were still confident they should be the leader representing North Carolina’s ninth congressional district in Congress.
"Dan McCready - wrong Dan - has hidden from accountability to voters by relying on 30 second attack ads. They're loaded with falsehoods,” Bishop told reporters.
McCready thinks he can bring a new perspective to Washington, and thinks that is why voters should choose him over Bishop.
"The voters are gonna have a choice on September 10th between a career politician who believes in partisan games and believes in the same old career in partisan politics that's really killing this country and someone who wants to bring us together," said McCready.
The special election will be held September 10th.