Manchin, Morrisey face off in U.S. Senate debate

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey square off Thursday night in a debate in one of the most hotly contested races in this midterm election. (West Virginia Broadcasters Association)

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey squared off Thursday night in a debate in one of the most hotly contested races in this midterm election.

The debate opened with questions about hateful rhetoric in the country and especially in politics, but quickly turned to Amendment One, which is on the ballot in West Virginia and the issues where Manchin and Morrisey differ most.

Morrisey said if elected, he would push President Donald Trump’s agenda. Manchin said he is an independent senator who votes with the president 70 percent of the time, but on Amendment One, he said he will vote no.

"I have always voted pro-life my entire public career with the exceptions of the life of the mother, rape and incest. I've been very clear about that and the Republican Legislature had the chance to fix it and make it right, and put in case of the mother rape and incest. They decided to make it political. They decided to make it political, with the help of Patrick Morrisey," Manchin said.

Manchin said it's a decision most pro-life West Virginians agree with.

Morrisey said that is a big difference between him and his opponent.

"I’m clearly for Amendment One," Morrisey said. "I can state that very clearly I oppose taxpayer funding of abortion."

Morrisey was questioned on his compliance to release records of his communications with opioid manufacturers. The records were requested by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee under the Freedom of Information Act. He said he has complied.

"We've gotten all the information required under the law. We're doing everything right. But what this does is shows the politicization of this opioid issue, and unfortunately, Sen. Manchin has really failed on this issue. When he was governor, opioid debts doubled,” Morrisey said.

Manchin said there is only "one person that's made money from pills coming to West Virginia and he's sitting right here, Patrick Morrisey, his lobbying firm he's operated and basically made hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars from the Morrisey lobbying firm. He continues to reap benefits from that,"

Another big different between the two is their stance on Trump's next round of tax cuts.

"We need to stimulate our economy and you do that through Trumps pro-growth policies,” Morrisey said.

Manchin said the corporate tax needs to go back up to what it was a year ago.

"It need to go back to 25 and take all the exemptions off from all of his wealthy friends that have benefited from this,” Manchin said.

Our coverage of both candidates will continue until Election Day. You can join the conversation on social media, using the hashtag #yourvoiceyourfuture.

You can watch the entire debate here:

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