The candidates for the Democratic nomination for the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat met on the debate stage for a second time on Monday night.
But while they are in agreement on a number of issues, there is one big question that remains for the Democratic electorate – who has a better chance of winning a general election?
U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, lieutenant governor John Fetterman, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta were joined on stage by Jenkintown Borough councilwoman Alex Khalil in a 90-minute debate at Dickinson College in Carlisle.
What Did They Agree On?
Ending the Senate filibuster. Supporting Ukraine but not committing to sending American forces. Protections for legal abortion would be a “litmus test” to supporting future Supreme Court nominees.
What Do They Disagree On?
Energy policy. Suspending the federal gas tax. Reforming the Supreme Court and the Electoral College. Medicare For All.
The candidates all said they support Biden’s decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices. But Kenyatta was alone in saying he opposed a plan supported by some Democratic governors and lawmakers to suspend the federal gas tax.
Kenyatta supported ending the Electoral College. Fetterman said Democrats can’t be like Republicans who try to delegitimize elections when they don’t like the results. Khalil agreed, stating “We cannot act like the last president and just get upset and say, ‘Well, we’re going to change the Electoral College.’” Lamb shrugged off the idea, noting it would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “It’s not happening. It makes this discussion completely academic.”
All the candidates except Lamb said they don’t believe major spending initiatives under President Joe Biden have contributed to inflation. Kenyatta said there’s a double standard of questioning whether spending on social programs causes inflation, but not tax cuts or aid to corporations.
Lamb said both sides of the debate have a point.
“There is a debate right now among these academic types about whether the inflation is driven by supply, meaning the pandemic, and the war [in Ukraine] — two things that are no one’s fault in this room or in our government — or driven by all the extra money that came in as a result of the pandemic,” Lamb said. “It’s a valid debate.”