BATON ROUGE, La. -- In the League of Women Voters hour-long debate in Baton Rouge Friday, the Democratic and Republican candidates for lieutenant governor made their positions clear.
'It does not matter whether you are a D, or you are an R, or you're an I, all that matters is that you're a double L, that you love Louisiana, and you want to see it progress,' said Democratic candidate Caroline Fayard.
'This is a critical time for our state,' said Republican candidate Jay Dardenne. 'Many of us are suffering. Our coastline is in jeopardy, and now is an opportunity to have someone develop a vision, develop a plan.'
And while it was not a slug fest, they did take a few shots at each other.
'Do you want more of the same, or do you want a new fresh face, a new fresh voice, and new ideas?' Fayard said.
'I hope that when people look at us and examine my record, they will conclude that what I have done is move Louisiana in a positive direction,' Dardenne said.
They sparred over contributions, with Dardenne challenging Fayard over campaign donations.
'You had income last year that could not have been more than about $80,000, based on the boxes that you checked,' Dardenne said. 'Yet you lent your campaign $450,000 to get elected. Where did that come from?'
Fayard said it came from 'success.'
'Let me be clear, we followed every ethical rule, if that is what the implication is,' Fayard said.
They agreed on their opposition to raising taxes, on the need to protect the state's tourism budget, to expand programs that draw tourists to Louisiana, and to find ways to keep higher education from being mangled by budget cuts. They were even asked about President Barack Obama's health-care plan.
'I think the plan is not 100 percent perfect, and I do point out, however, that it is not just President Obama's health plan,' Fayard said. 'It was voted on by members of the House and Senate, so it really is the country's health care plan.'
'Well, I won't be so defensive of the president,' Dardenne said. 'It's a disaster.'
This election is to fill Mitch Landrieu's term as lieutenant governor, which he vacated whenhe became mayor of New Orleans.Both candidateswere asked if they lose this time, will they run again next year?
'I think it depends on the direction of the state,' Fayard said.
'No,' Dardenne said. 'If I lose, I'll run for Secretary of State.'
Eyewitness News will release the results of its exclusive poll on the Lt. Governor's race on Wednesday at 6 p.m. on WWL-TV.