WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Democrat Kay Hagan, Republican Thom Tillis and Libertarian Sean Haugh gathered at the WECT/FOX WILMINGTON studio Thursday night for what is likely the final televised US Senate debate.
The League of Women Voters sponsored forum gave Haugh his first chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with the two leading senate candidates wanting to represent North Carolina in the nation's capitol - a place Haugh believes has too much control - in most areas ranging from the economy to marriage.
"It is not my position to judge anyone for they love or how they want to love them, as long as it's between consenting adults," Haugh said. "Of course, I'm for gay marriage, and if you want to get married, mazel tov, I wish you every happiness."
Tillis differs from Haugh on gay marriage, but agrees on shrinking the role of government.
"If the president and Senator Hagan have their way, we will regulate ourselves out of a lot of beach access," Tillis said. "Senator Hagan supports the EPA's overreach and it's become ridiculous."
Tillis and Hagan fired back and forth, sometimes as if Haugh weren't standing between the two of them. While Tillis criticized Hagan's work in Washington, the senator went after the speaker's tenure in Raleigh.
"Folks, do you know what his tax policy is doing? It's sending our teachers to Texas, our film jobs to Georgia and our Medicaid dollars to twenty-eight other states," Hagan said.
Hagan left after the debate without talking to reporters, who asked Haugh if he appeals more to Democrats or Republicans.
"I think the divide is more between the political class and the real world, and I think I appealed more to people in their daily lives," Haugh explained.
When it was Tillis' turn to talk to reporters he repeated his claim that a vote for Hagan is a vote for the president.
"Senator Hagan's on the ballot this year, but so are President Obama's policies. She votes with him 96 percent of the time," Tillis charged.