EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) —From your local election headquarters. The race for a Pennsylvania Senate seat took center stage Monday night, as five Republican candidates squared off in a statewide debate. The candidates are seeking the seat currently held by Republican Pat Toomey, who is not up for re-election.

Monday night we heard from Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, Dave McCormick, Mehmet Oz, and Carla Sands and at the time it was heated, especially when focusing on issues that directly impact PA households.

How would you bring back high-paying American jobs? Address supply chain shortages?
Bartos said the “number one way to do it is to unleash Pennsylvania’s energy industry,” and that Pennsylvania has the natural resources to power the nation and our allies.

“Natural gas is a much cleaner alternative to the coal plants that are being fired up around the world. These greenies in Europe and around the country they’re making coal happen pa is not only the key to keeping Vladimir Putin in check, and holding him in check and stopping his war of aggression, but it is the key to bringing good-paying, working-family jobs back here to Pennsylvania,” said Jeff Bartos.

Candidates blamed the Biden Administration for record-high inflation, Bartos calling the American Rescue Plan a ‘disaster.’ Carla Sands said she would stop the ‘out of control spending’ the day she arrives in Washington.

We will stop the out-of-control spending and it’s going to bring down inflation. The green new deal garbage, corruption, that’s stuffed into these multi-trillion dollar bills are hurting our working families, our seniors on a fixed income. I will bring down the price at the pump for them, I will bring down that inflation and give them some relief,” said Carla Sands.

Just hours before the debate a federal judge ruled to extend Title 42 which allows border authorities to send migrants back to Mexico or their home countries due to the public health crisis. All 5 candidates were in support of the extension.

“You cannot have a state of national emergency for the nation but not have a national emergency as it relates to covid at the border,” said Kathy Barnette.

The two front runners, Oz and McCormick, constantly threw jabs, yet they seem to agree on one topic, COVID policies at home.

“I think what we’ve learned is that the government overreach by dictating everything from vaccines to testing to mask protocols, has brought huge damage on our population on our children, on our businesses,” said David McCormick.

“The three worst states were New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania in terms of its response to COVID and they were some of the strictest states, so the mandates didn’t work we now know that,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz.

All said they would support legislation preventing transgender women from participating in women’s sports. All but Barnette said they would support certain exceptions if Roe V. Wade were to be abolished. Barnette did not answer the question.

To watch more of the debate click here.