Key moments from Tuesday night’s NC Senate debate

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and challenger Cal Cunningham (D) took part in their second debate in the race for North Carolina Senate Tuesday night.

The New York Times featured this race Tuesday in an article titled, The White House, Senate and Supreme Court Could All Hinge on North Carolina,” noting that this race could ultimately decide which party controls the U.S. Senate in 2021.

This week’s North Carolina Nexstar Media Group/Emerson Poll numbers showed the Republican incumbent falling behind in the race.

The last time North Carolina was blue was in 2008.

Much like their first debate, there was a lively discussion on several big topics affecting North Carolina and the nation.

Here’s a look at some of the key moments from Tuesday’s debate.

Marijuana Legalization

In the Nexstar Media Group/Emerson Poll, 72% of respondents said they believed marijuana should be legalized for medical use opposed to 48% who said yes when asked if marijuana should be legalized in North Carolina for recreational use.

In response to a question about the legalization of marijuana, Tillis said he does not support it, saying it’s not the right time. Cunningham said regulate it.

When asked by the debate moderators, both candidates admitted they had tried marijuana.

“Yes, when I was a kid. I was growing up in a trailer park,” Tillis responded.

Cunningham said, “Yes, I have. When I was a young person.”

Supreme Court Nomination

The opening question of the debate was about the handling of the decision on who will replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Thom Tills explained why he will vote to confirm President Trump’s nominee saying Biden will nominate judges from the “radical left.”

Cunningham said Tillis wants to “rush into partisan politics.”

Police Reform

On the topic of police reform, the Nexstar Media Group/Emerson College Poll showed North Carolinians evenly divided when asking about using federal forces to quell civil unrest.

Cunningham said police need resources, not a partisan effort, “I take a back seat to no one in keeping our communities safe.”

Tillis responded that if a governor or mayor requests help, the president should respond with that assistance.

Mask Mandate?

Should there be a national mask mandate in public? Tillis never directly answered if he supports a mandate, but rather said what we need is a vaccine.

Cunningham said he does believe in a national mask mandate because he said he trusts the science.


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