Coastal Georgia’s congressional seat candidates faced off in their first debate, in which candidates answered tough questions about health care costs, inflation and personal wealth.
The debate, which took place early Tuesday evening at the Atlanta Press Club, hosted current Representative Earl “Friends” Carter, and Republican Wade Hering, a Democrat. PresentMargaret Cocker, Editor in Chief, and Savannah Morning News Reporter Will Peebles served as committee members questioning the men.
Carter, 65, has represented Georgia’s first congressional district since 2015. He previously served as mayor of Buller and is a pharmacist.
He shared the stage with Herring, a 63-year-old Savannah attorney who represented the companies and is a partner at one of the city’s white law firms, Hunter, Maclean, Exley & Dunn, PC
Carter sought to portray his Democratic opponent as a potential “rubber seal” for President Biden if he became a member of Congress. Carter repeated the phrase six times. Carter tied his candidacy to national Republican plans to take back Congress and challenge the Biden administration, which he blamed across the country. inflation.
Meanwhile, Hering used his airtime to knock Carter on voting with his party against bills that lower prescription drug costs, Hering claimed.
He asked Carter to explain why he voted against a measure Insulin cost capa drug to treat diabetes, to $35 under insurance or Medicare.
“I’m there to do something about[the costs of prescription drugs],” Carter said. But this limiting insulin was not the way to do it. This will not lead to innovation, all it will do is set the price.”
Carter said many life-saving drugs would not be produced without leaving “innovation” alone from regulation.
Hering referred to Carter appearance on Fox Business Carter’s admission that he wants to increase the costs of prescription drugs.
In the interview, Carter did not say that. But he said he wanted to get Republicans to take control of Congress in order to repeal the Biden inflation-reduction act.
verb It has measures that reduce the costs of prescription drugs For some Americans.
Carter became a millionaire selling drugs to the elderly. He opposed capping insulin, opposed capping pockets for seniors, and opposed Medicare’s ability to negotiate drug prices,” Hering said. “It works for Big Pharma, it doesn’t work for us.”
One of the debate’s most controversial moments came when Carter had to explain how he separated his finances from his votes.
Carter was named the 10th richest member of Congress in 2020, according to 2019 Financial Disclosures Analysis by Open Secretsa Washington, D.C., nonprofit that tracks money in Congress.
Carter entered Congress with a net worth of just over $20 million. In 2020, his net worth It has more than tripled to more than 66 million dollarsOpen secrets, he said.
Coker, the committee member, twice had to ask Carter to explain to Coastal Georgia voters how he’s stepping down from legislation in Congress that might involve financial interests.
“Look, I’ve got wallets like as many people own them. I don’t manage them. I have people who manage them. I don’t have input into them,” Carter said.
“It’s not like I’m getting this information or anything about what’s going to happen,” he said.
Carter said he would not apologize for the hard work and success. He also questioned the $66 million figure that Open Secrets had scheduled. After the discussion, Representative Carter’s office renewed the objection to the figures, saying, “As acknowledged by the House Ethics Committee, Mr. Carter does not exercise direct control over the vast majority of his investments as these have been identified as exempt investment funds. Adheres to all disclosure requirements and completes annual training to ensure Compliance “.
Legislators file annual financial disclosures that disclose their finances in ranges. To estimate net worth, OpenSecrets makes averages of the maximum and minimum assets and debts of legislators. The latest estimates published by OpenSecrets come from 2019 congressional disclosures.
After Carter was asked about this, Hering took the opportunity to criticize not only Carter’s personal finances but also his campaign finances.
“The day he said he wanted to raise drug prices, Big Pharma dropped a bunch of PAC money into his campaign,” Hering said. “When he voted against the Act to reduce inflation and invest in clean energy, Big Oil dropped a batch of PAC money from his campaign.”
Carter and Hering both addressed other major issues in the region, such as climate change and access to abortion.
Carter said he acknowledges the existence of climate change but says you cannot “allow politics to precede innovation” by regulating energy and promoting green energy sources.
For his part, Hering said the Biden administration’s policies are creating green jobs for residents of southern Georgia.
Regarding access to abortion, Hering said he wanted to protect First District voters from criminalizing abortion-seeking.
Since the US Supreme Court void Raw vs. WadeThe unofficial right to abortion for Americans, Carter welcomed the decision and said it allows states to make their own decisions.
“The federal government shouldn’t have the say,” Carter said of the ruling’s implications.
However, since last year, Carter has co-sponsored two federal bills alongside his party to criminalize post-abortion abortions. 15th And the 20 weeks. Exceptions included for rape, incest or if the mother’s life was at stake.
Carter accused the Democrats and Herring of wanting to allow unlimited abortion.
“They want you to be able to have an abortion until the time of delivery and for taxpayers to pay for it,” Carter said. And now he wants to go to Washington, D.C. and be a rubber stamp for this kind of politics. This does not represent the first region in Georgia.”
Herring called it simply incorrect and that Carter should be “ashamed” of this statement.
Carter wasn’t alone in having to answer tough questions.
Hering was asked how he, a 63-year-old white attorney, would be able to connect with black voters in the First District, who make up the 70% of Democratic voters who might not trust him.
“I don’t know where the question came from, but I worked hard to represent everyone in the area,” Hering said. “Right now, we don’t have that. We have someone who represents himself and represents the wealthy companies.”
Hering was also asked about his career defending big companies in lawsuits brought by workers and employees, while at the same time criticizing Carter as being in the pocket of big companies.
“Most of my clients were small businesses to mid-sized companies and what I did was work with them to be a trusted advisor, listener, learner, and problem solver,” Hering said.
He emphasized the organizations he volunteered for and described how Carter accepts campaign money from the pharmaceutical industry.
While it is difficult to account for the majority of Herring’s clients over the course of his career, it Profile on his law firm’s website It specifically highlights cases where he represented major companies.
His law firm’s website shows that he defended companies like Gulfstream and American General Life and Accident Insurance against claims by workers who were discriminated against or lost benefits.
Representative Carter runs to hold his seat in what was known as a “safe” Republican district. He has won by a margin of more than 15% in three of his four elections. In 2016, he ran unopposed.
He has higher aspirations, too: Carter previously spoke with former President Donald Trump About authentication To compete against Senator Raphael Warnock. Since Herschel Walker stepped in to contest Warnock, Carter is now seeking the House Budget Committee chair, a powerful position that sets the agenda for government money chains.
If reelected and promoted to the House Budget Committee chair, Carter said, he would seek to reform Medicare and Social Security benefits, according to the Bloomberg News article. This could include gradually raising the age at which an American can receive Social Security money from 62 to 70 and the age at which an American can receive Medicare from 65 to 67, the news story said.
His other campaign boards included limiting the size of government by cutting regulations, lowering health care costs, and boosting national security, according to the Carter’s campaign website, which highlights the details.
Hering said he decided to challenge Carter after watching a Georgian congressman vote to annul the results of the 2020 election a day after January 6, 2021, when election deniers stormed the US Capitol.
Hearing accused Carter of putting “politics above our country, our region and our families.” Since then, Savannah’s attorneys have focused on issues such as abortion access, protecting the coast from climate change, and gun safety measures. In recent weeks, Herring has sought to emphasize Carter’s many financial interests and campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, calling him “Big Pharma’s favorite son.” In a recent announcement.
Repartition of circles
The Georgia state legislature redesigned its first congressional district during a once-in-a-decade redistricting process.
Due to the rapid growth of Bryan County and Western Chatham County, the Carter District lost land in the southwest and gained some density within the coastal counties.
The redistricting process is supposed to ensure that each state representative serves about 765,000 people.
The first congressional district includes 15 counties but the bulk of the voting muscle is in the primary Georgian coastal counties — Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, Macintosh, Glen and Camden — where 555,527 people live, according to census figures.
More than 366,000 of these residents have registered registered voters as of December 2021, according to Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The demographic breakdown of everyone in those counties, not just voters, is as follows: 64% white, 30% black, and 7% Hispanic, recent census numbers show.
Early voting is underway in Georgia and election day is 3 weeks away.
The two candidates are scheduled to debate again at 7 p.m. Wednesday on WTOC-TV in Savannah.