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5th congressional debate features two very different candidates and a surprising conclusion by one

Virginia State Election Results 2020
NPR

Democrat Josh Throneburg began the evening by pointing out that appearances can be deceiving.

“I think if you looked at us from a distance what you would see is there are two white, straight men—both who claim a deep conviction of faith and who have a deep love of country," he said. "You might sit back and say, ‘Oh, they’re kind of the same,’ but of course if you look closer I think what you’ll find is that the Congressman and I are very, very different.”

Republican Bob Good, for example, said the United States – which is the world’s number two emitter of carbon dioxide behind China – should ignore calls to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

“This dishonest demonization of fossil fuels and the petroleum industry needs to stop in our country!" Good thundered. "Petroleum and fossil fuels are a wonderful thing. God put them in the ground for us to harvest them.”

Throneburg attacked that view as unbelievably short-sighted.

“We have forty years left of known oil to fund at our current rates, and then it’s gone. Fossil fuels aren’t going to go down in price over the course of time.. They’re just going to go up, so this infatuation with fossil fuels and it being the future of our country is ridiculous!”

Throneburg expressed pride in U.S. support for Ukraine, while Good said the war with Russia was not our fight. He argued against sending further aid and said countries like Ukraine and Taiwan would be a lot safer if citizens there had a right to bear arms.

“The greatest deterrent to a land invasion for America to ensure that we remain free are the 40 million guns that Americans own," Good asserted. "Taiwan and Ukraine do not allow their citizens to be armed, and so that has made them vulnerable to attack.”

Like many other Republicans running in this mid-term election, Good warned of domestic and international dangers:

“Americans today are less safe than they were two years ago with an open border, America’s diminished standing on the national stage, crime at record levels across the country. America is less safe with the drugs pouring across our border. American is less prosperous than we were two years ago.”

Good said this country should finish the wall. Throneburg called for immigration reform and a robust guest worker program.

The only real surprise of the evening came at the end when Throneburg criticized debate organizers for failing to even ask about abortion.

“I do think it’s important to note that in a year when the Supreme Court overturned 49 years of precedent that there wasn’t a question or a conversation about it tonight. I think when you host a debate at a school for men, that is moderated by a man, with two men upfront, this is the result.”

New congressional boundaries have made the district more competitive, but political scientists say it still leans Republican.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief