US Representative Chis Pappas accused his Republican challenger of treating politics as a performance without offering solutions to problems, while Karoline Leavitt accused the Democratic incumbent of being a partisan problem maker during their third and final debate on Thursday.
The two candidates for the seat in New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district offered contrasting views on a range of issues, including rising costs and the economy, as well as abortion, among others.
Pappas, who is seeking a third term, said he was proud to have worked to secure a record amount of money for New Hampshire families through the low-income home energy assistance program. He said he was working on ways to modernize shipping and trucking regulations to “untie supply chains”, move more goods to market, strengthen the workforce and to deal with the housing shortage in the state, which contributes to inflation.
“Well, Congressman, everything you said sounds wonderful, but the truth is, none of that happened and none of that worked,” Leavitt said. “Granite Staters Suffer.”
She accused Pappas of backing trillions of dollars in spending she said contributed to inflation and attacked energy production in New Hampshire, which he said was “not true “.
“I support a comprehensive energy strategy and have supported deficit reduction legislation” that also provides home and business tax credits for energy efficiency programs, Pappas said.
Leavitt said if elected to Congress, she would work to pass a balanced budget and cut spending on unnecessary items rather than vote to raise the debt ceiling, which would allow the Treasury Department to honor financial commitments already made by Congress and the President.
Quoting economists, Pappas called this a “totally reckless position, because not only would it jeopardize our own economic health here in the United States, but it could lead to a global depression.”
“We need bipartisan conversations on how to reduce the debt and the deficit,” he said, adding “we should not hold our economy, with the full faith and credit of the United States, hostage. “.
Leavitt replied, “Our economy is hostage right now. The people of this neighborhood are being held hostage right now because of the economic policies you supported.”
On abortion, Leavitt, who is pro-life, said she supports state legislatures making decisions on abortion regulation and would oppose a federal abortion ban.
Pappas, who supports the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect the right to access abortion care nationwide after Roe v. Wade, said New Hampshire women deserved a pro-choice vote in Congress.
“I want women and families, in consultation with their doctors, to decide for themselves,” Pappas said.
“No, that’s not true,” Leavitt replied. “You want politicians in Washington, DC, to make these decisions. … I support the people closest to the people, closest to the voters,” in Concord, she said.
Pappas called her response “really scary”, adding, “I think the government should walk away because they don’t have to decide this issue for women and families.”
Both candidates were asked if they believed former President Donald Trump when he said the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Leavitt, who worked in the White House press office under Trump, said during the pre-primary debates that she believed the 2020 election was stolen from the former president. On Thursday, she said she believed there were irregularities in the 2020 election.
She spoke of Pappas’ support for a bill that would have created automatic national voter registration, allowed all voters to vote by mail, and weakened voter identification laws, among other measures.
“Donald Trump is wrong,” Pappas said. “The election wasn’t stolen from him. Everyone knows that. And Karoline Leavitt continues to double down on the big lie.”