Va. GOP Gubernatorial Hopefuls Play Nice at First Debate - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Va. GOP Gubernatorial Hopefuls Play Nice at First Debate

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Virginia's GOP candidates for governor squared off in their first debate Saturday in Charlottesville, VA Virginia's GOP candidates for governor squared off in their first debate Saturday in Charlottesville, VA

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP/WBOC) - Virginia Republican hopefuls for governor have played nice during their first debate.
    
The candidates avoided attacking each other Saturday at an event in Charlottesville and instead stuck largely to GOP talking points.
    
Corey Stewart, a one-time chairman of President Donald Trump's campaign in Virginia, has blasted former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie several times in interviews and social media accounts.
    
But Stewart ignored Gillespie during the debate, which only featured a handful of questions and speaking opportunities.
    
State Sen. Frank Wagner and distillery owner Denver Riggleman are also running.

While agreement was the major theme at the debate, the candidates also touched on some important issues facing the nation -- including mass incarceration, healthcare and addiction. Where the candidates differed, was their personalities, and those came out in their closing statements.

"Others talk, I deliver," said Stewart. "Others talk about illegal immigration, I've done it. Deported 7500 illegal aliens. Others talk about cutting the budget, I've done it. 285 million dollars of spending cuts."

"We need to cut taxes. We need to repeal antiquated regulations, "said Gillespie. "We need to reform our education system to meet the needs of the workforce of today and the future. And I will put forward a sweeping plan to do that and get Virginia moving again." 

"A vision where all parts of Virginia are hitting on all eight cylinders. All parts of Virginia are producing," said Sen. Wagner. "For too long we've been treating symptoms in Richmond, symptoms of a bad economy and not treating an economy." 

"The Virginia way doesn't like bullies," said Riggleman. "The Virginia way is about liberty, and it's about freedom. We have been bullied, I think a lot of you out there also by government. That is why I'm up here running today." 
    
Virginia's widely watched contest for governor is seen by many as a potential referendum on Trump's first year in office and an early test of opposition groups aligned against him.
 

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