Republican gubernatorial candidates debate the issues at LU


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - Liberty University hosted the Republican gubernatorial candidates for a debate Thursday night.

Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart, and Frank Wagner stood on the stage of the new center for music and debated for almost an hour.

They talked about several things from health care to gun control, and for most topics, each candidate had their own plan of attack.

It didn't take long for Corey Stewart to go after front-runner Ed Gillespie.

Stewart attacked Gillespie's policies on everything from illegal immigration, health care, and taxes.

"Gillespie avoids all controversy, he will not stand up on any controversial conservative issue, not one, and that is the difference there i am not afraid of that," Stewart said.

Gillespie responded by saying "I have faith in the people of Virginia, they're going to get accurate information and know I've been consistently conservative during my career and they know that I've go specific policies that will work."

Frank Wagner seemed to dodge confrontation with both candidates.

"What I said up there was concrete ideas to move Virginia forward," Wagner said after the debate was over.

Ed Gillespie went into the details of his tax plan. He says he wants to lower taxes across the board for Virginians by 10 percent.

"It would result in 53,000 plus good paying- private sector jobs in Virginia," Gillespie said.

Stewart says his work in Prince William County can translate to success at the state level and is running a campaign similar to President Donald Trump's of embracing controversy.

"I'm the only one here who has had to govern, the only one who has had to make tough decisions right through the recession, make spending cuts and I've already proven that I can lead effectively," he said.

As for Wagner, his big selling point was expanding broadband across the state. He claims it will grow business in Virginia.

"You can not have a business in today's economy unless you have broadband. No employer is going to move to your area unless you have broadband. It is the way business is conducted across the world," he said.

LU says they reached out to the Democratic candidates, Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam, for a similar style debate.

The university says those candidates have not gotten back to them yet.

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