Bevin, Beshear land body blows in second debate

Bevin, Beshear land body blows in second debate
Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear threw haymakers in a televised debate at the University of Kentucky on Tuesday night. (Source: Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear threw haymakers in a televised debate at the University of Kentucky on Tuesday night.

Beshear and Bevin landed early jabs at each other in their responses to opening questions on pensions (Beshear) and on jobs (Bevin).

WAVE 3 News anchorwoman Shannon Cogan and WKYT anchorman Bill Bryant moderated the debate at UK’s Singletary Center, and before the event was barely five minutes old, they had to issue warnings to the enthusiastic crowd for their raucous cheers and boos. Several more warnings were needed during the hour-long debate that was shown live on WAVE 3 News and streamed live on all of WAVE’s digital platforms.

“You love public education so much that your kids go to private schools, right?” Bevin asked Beshear, who has made public education the top priority of his campaign. “I’m just saying you’re a fraud.”

“I’m not surprised that Gov. Bevin is attacking my kids,” Beshear shot back a moment later. “He’s attacked teachers, called them names, called them selfish thugs. I support my kids, and would never attack yours.”

On abortions, Beshear called Bevin an “extremist” for his total ban on the procedure, and Bevin shot back with an emphatic declaration that he’s “unapologetically pro-life," prompting another reaction from Bevin supporters in the crowd.

Both candidates offered strong points about their positions on healthcare, then argued about what Association Health Plans (AHPs) cover.

Beshear touted his plan to provide a $2,000 across-the-board pay raise for public school teachers. Bevin responded that education needs to be funded but criticized Beshear’s teacher pay raise proposal as “Andy Candy.” It was one of several shots the governor took at Beshear for what Bevin claims is the attorney general’s “incompetence" on budgeting.

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The campaigns are in their final weeks. There will be three more debates before voters head to the polls on Nov. 5.

Bevin, the Republican incumbent, is running his re-election campaign on what he says he has accomplished since taking office, things like creating jobs, addressing the pension crisis, and supporting pro-life legislation.

The debate was littered with personal attacks by both men, including Bevin’s several hits on Beshear’s father, former Gov. Steve Beshear.

Just Tuesday, hours before the debate, President Donald Trump tweeted his support of Bevin:

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Beshear also was busy on Twitter on Tuesday:

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Kentucky is one of only three states with gubernatorial races this year, with Louisiana and Mississippi being the others.

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear square off in an hour-long debate moderated in part by WAVE 3 News' Shannon Cogan >> https://bit.ly/32nuhhe Get the earliest breaking news alerts on your phone with the WAVE 3 News app >> http://bit.ly/2l0E64i

Posted by WAVE 3 News on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.