Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and her Republican challenger, Wendy Long, faced off in a debate Wednesday night on NY1 to outline why they should be elected to represent New York in Washington, D.C. for the next six years. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Wendy Long has tried to get her message out in this race. She is outmatched in a lot of ways by Sen. Gillibrand's incumbency and significant financial advantage.
During Wednesday night's debate, the Republican went right at the senator. She criticized the stimulus package that came out of Washington. She also said Gillibrand hasn't done enough to help New York State's economy.
"You know, she talks about cutting taxes, getting small businesses the loans they need and getting manufacturing going," Long said. "She hasn't done any of these things."
Social issues also came up during the debate. At one point, Long complained that abortion was dominating the conversation when she argued the real issue is jobs and the economy.
Asked about Roe v. Wade, Long said it has been recognized as bad law and it should be overturned.
"I disagree with my opponent," Gillibrand said when asked to respond. "I believe every woman has a right to make decisions about her reproductive life, about her family and when she is going to have a family."
Gillibrand has championed women's issues in this race. But Long brought up the Vito Lopez scandal and Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's role in approving a secret payment to settle claims.
Gillibrand would not call on Speaker Silver to resign.
"Speaker Silver has asked for a full investigation as to the nature of the confidential settlement and why it was permitted to be a confidential settlement," Gillibrand said. "When we have the facts, we will know whether or not that was done improperly."
This was the first and only debate between the two candidates. Gillibrand has a commanding lead in the polls, which made tonight's debate one of Long's few opportunities to score some points and make some traction.