WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Reaction from across the state is pouring in following Wednesday night’s fiery, and at times combative, debate between the primary candidates running for the 13th Congressional District.
The candidates said they are pleased with how they approached the debate and now they are urging voters to head to the polls and make the right choice.
From arguments over mail-in ballots to past allegations, Republican candidates Ronny Jackson and Josh Winegarner went head-to-head in the first live televised 13th Congressional District debate.
They also challenged each other’s temperament and their loyalty to the district.
“I made it very clear that I am the local candidate, born here, raised here, raising a family here and that I am doing this for our community for our district to make sure we have a representative that knows us and that can represent us,” Winegarner said.
“There are polls that are coming out right now that are showing that we are literally taking this race over, I was an underdog from the very beginning a lot of people didn’t think I would make it in the run-off, I did,” Jackson said.
Both candidates said going into the debate they hoped the voters would see what makes them different from their opponent and they believed they did just that.
“You have a choice in this race between a lobbyist and a leader, and that’s really what it boils down to, so I think things went well, and I think I got to make my point,” Jackson said. “I think there were some stark differences between the two of us.”
“We’re pointing out some things that we want to make sure the voters know about our opponent, and he keeps saying that they are not true, but we have evidence that said they are, so we’re going to continue to put that out there just so the voters are informed about the people they’re [being] asked to vote for,” Winegarner said.
In the Democratic debate, Amarillo natives Greg Sagan and Gus Trujillo tried to convince voters in a very conservative district that they are the right man for the job.
“I am the only trained economist in the field and what we really need representing this district is somebody that is trained in economics because this is a very complex district in terms of economics,” Sagan said.
“I come from a working-class family,” Trujillo said. “I don’t come from influence or from money and that I have the heart to serve this community because this community has given me so much I wanna pay that back.”
Sagan also answered some tough questions about sexual assault allegations against him that he denies, and Trujillo’s lack of experience was called into question.
“I don’t think I tanked,” Sagan said. “If people could walk away with anything from this, I hope that they would walk away with it from is a suspension of their judgments about what is a Democrat and why don’t we vote for them.”
“I think that trying to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be important and rebuilding the economy so it works for every American is going to be important and I intend to do that in Washington,” Trujillo said.
Midwestern State University Political Science Professor Steve Garrison said overall he believes a Democrat could win this race; however, it is highly unlikely. Garrison also said for both parties, voters are tired of being caught in the middle of candidates yelling past each other.
“I think that any candidate that ignores that sentiment is really putting themselves in jeopardy in the next election,” Garrison said.
All candidates believe the voters have what they need to vote for them to represent their respective parties in the general election.
Early voting starts on Monday and election day is July 14.
If you missed the debates, find them here.
Also, find a behind the scenes gallery here.