Pawlenty, Johnson Spar in Televised Debate

August 03, 2018 05:55 PM

Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Jeff Johnson sparred over a variety of issues Friday in their only televised debate of the campaign, ranging from taxes and light rail transit to education funding and the opioid crisis. Although both are considered fiscal conservatives, they spent much of the debate criticizing each other's conservative credentials.

"So if you want to attack my record you have to be prepared to have your record reviewed and scrutinized, too, Jeff," Pawlenty said to Johnson during the 30-minute, commercial-free debate on "At Issue." The full debate can be seen at 10 a.m. Sunday morning on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.


KSTP 'Vote 2018' Election Coverage

The two candidates were asked to defend television ads each is running attacking the other. Johnson took issue with an ad from the Pawlenty campaign accusing him of being a big "tax and spender."

"I think it's fair to say any reasonable people who look at our records would say we are both conservatives," Pawlenty said of his ad. "But as he nitpicks my record then I think it's fair to nitpick his."

When Pawlenty was asked if he really thought Johnson is a big tax and spender, he didn't directly answer the question. He instead highlighted issues raised in the TV ad.

TRUTH TEST: Pawlenty Ad Attacking Johnson Misleading

"His question to you was do you really think he's someone who taxes and spends a lot," Johnson said, "which is what your commercial said and you essentially said, no he's a conservative, but there's all these little things that turned out to be quite false."

Johnson was asked to defend his ad that claims Pawlenty was also a big spender as governor who also "brought us light rail" transit. Pawlenty said that not only wasn't true, but he claims Johnson voted in favor of light rail in the legislature and on the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners.

TRUTH TEST: Johnson Claims Pawlenty Big Spender, Light Rail Supporter

"Guess who voted for light rail? Jeff Johnson," Pawlenty said. "Guess who voted for the Central Corridor in his early votes in the legislature? Jeff Johnson. Same with Hiawatha. So again, this is hypocrisy. Jeff is talking out of both sides of his mouth."

Johnson acknowledged he might have voted for light rail as part of an omnibus bill that mostly included funding for highways and bridges, which he supported.

Again, you can see this entire debate at 10 a.m. Sunday morning on "At Issue."


Tom Hauser

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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