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Democratic Senate Candidates Meet in Forum

For the first time this campaign season, four of the Democratic candidates for the nomination of their party for U.S. Senate met on the debate stage on Sunday.

During the 90-minute debate, topics were agreed upon and differing positions staked out, but the real question that all had was which one of the quartet could actually win?

Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb and Jenkintown Borough Council member Alex Khalil fielded questions including the U.S. Supreme Court, the war in Ukraine, abortion and climate change. Candidates had two minutes to respond to questions and there was no time permitted for rebuttal.

The group largely agreed on matters surrounding protecting access to abortions and voting rights, and ending the legislative filibuster. They diverged on big tech, energy policies and expansion of the Supreme Court.

“Structural reform for (big tech) companies and starting with breaking them up,” said Kenyatta. He criticized Amazon for its size and its share of the retail market, making it difficult for small businesses to compete.

Lamb said he supports repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for Facebook. Section 230 provides social media platforms with liability protection for most content posted by their users, including disinformation.

Fetterman warned of the difficulty of pitting the position of supporting jobs in Pennsylvania industries such as steel and fracking versus taking action on climate change.

“We still need to make stuff in this country,” Fetterman said. “And I have been steadfastly talking about how important it is that we retain the manufacturing jobs and the energy jobs in Pennsylvania that currently provide our energy security as well, too. But we must also acknowledge and recognize that we have to trend … away from these.”

Climate change doesn’t really care whether or not you think it’s real,” Kenyatta said. “I’ve been unequivocal in saying that we need a moratorium on approving new permits for oil and gas drilling. Period.”

Lamb also supports “politically realistic” energy policies that will be able to pass the Senate and be sustained over the next three decades. He said any transition to renewable energy must be focused on ensuring those currently working in the field will have the same economic opportunities.

Kenyatta talked about the current political climate, noting that “if we are going to preserve our democracy, yes, it’s going to take winning this election. The Supreme Court has become too politicized, and having court reform is one of the most important things we can do to restore people’s faith in it.”

Khalil added that “We don’t have a choice,” on issues such as abortion rights due to the conservative actions of justices like Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett.

When it comes to Court expansion, Fetterman and Lamb said they do not support adding justices. Lamb referred to the issue as “a trap,” while Fetterman turned the question around, asking how many Dems would support expansion if liberals held a 6-3 advantage.

“We don’t just change something because we are upset by the outcome,” he said.

Kevin Baumlin of Philadelphia is also on the ballot but did not attend the debate.

5 Responses

  1. Gee if Fetterman wins we will have two of the seven dwarfs in the Senate from Pa, Sleepy and Dopey!

  2. At least 3 of the Dems are idiot, incompetent, dimwitted morons with no success at any government level. Any of the 3 are worse than anybody in GOP field. That Borough Council president is the only one I’m sure isn’t a complete doofus.

  3. At least 3 of the Dems are intelligent, experienced and successful govt officials at a high level. Any of the 3 are better than anybody in GOP field. I’m not so sure about a Borough Council president.

  4. Lamb continues to be the sensible pick to go against any of the Republicans. I would hope that Republican votes back away from any of the carpet baggers and try to settle on someone with distance from Trump. McCormick is clearly an elite 1%er and the last that should be in the US Senate. Oz is a celebrity windbag.

    1. Generic Dem like Lamb is a guaranteed loss in this cycle. I doubt Fetterman can win either , but he’s the only chance dems have. Lambs own polling shows Fetterman up 30.

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