Second Carter-Herring debate shows deep divisions on issues and approaches


Savannah attorney Wade Herring, fighting from behind to unseat four-term incumbent Buddy Carter, sought Wednesday to persuade Coastal Georgia voters that his mastery of the issues and his ability to bridge the current divides in American politics compensated his lack of experience in elective office.

The second of two scheduled debates between candidates for the Coastal Georgia seat in Congress has been combative, pitting Herring against Carter, the veteran former Pooler mayor and former state lawmaker who now occupies the upper echelons of the Republican establishment. in Washington.

As he had done the previous day during a 30-minute debate sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club, Herring portrayed Carter, a licensed pharmacist, as a workhorse for what he called “Big Pharma” and “Big Oil” and a self-enlarging product. of Washington’s secret politics, disconnected from the interests of his constituents on the Georgian coast.

Herring, 63, hammered Carter’s opposition to the measures of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act that caps the price of insulin and allows Medicare, for the first time in its history, to negotiate the drug prices, while boasting of being a learner, problem solver and peacemaker.

“I’m going to go across the aisle to get First District jobs, to get affordable health care, to get green energy investment,” he said.

Rep. American Buddy Carter

Carter, 65, fired back, sometimes with a sigh of exasperation, other times with a mocking laugh at what he said were Herring’s lies. He returned to his favorite mantra from the day before.

If elected, Herring would go to Washington and become a “rubber stamp for the Biden administration’s failed policies,” which include, Carter said, four-decade-high inflation, crime “riding our cities.” , falling educational values, an uncontrolled border and deaths caused by fentanyl.

That, Carter said, would be “ridiculous.”

Where the race between Carter and Herring stands with three weeks to go until Election Day — and with early voting already underway — is unclear. Opinion polls are expensive and rare in coastal Georgia.

Wade Herring

From the start, however, Herring faced long struggles. Even before the start of the campaign trail, political operatives, analysts and pundits said the First District was a safe Republican seat. No Democrat has held the First District seat in the House of Representatives since 1992.

Yet despite being new to politics, Herring demonstrated on the campaign trail a poise and understanding of the issues that Carter’s previous Democratic challengers lacked. He did so again on Wednesday as he sought to dispel doubts over his qualifications for the job.

In one of the fiercest exchanges of the hour-long debate hosted by Savannah’s WTOC television station, Carter defended himself against Herring’s suggestion that he was opposed to infrastructure development in coastal Georgia, even though he voted against the legislation endorsing it.

“Look at the town of Pooler,” Carter retorted. “I mean, you’re telling me that I didn’t support the infrastructure. There you go, man. I tell you, it’s just amazing.

Herring answered curtly, “Well, I find it incredible that you use Pooler as an example of infrastructure. There’s a rubber stamp on the stage, and you vote with the Republican Party 98% of the time.

Herring only seemed to bristle when Carter suggested he and other Democrats were supporting abortion up to the point of birth and “making the taxpayers pay.”

“This statement is not factual. It’s not based on the law. It’s not based on medical science. That’s just plain wrong,” Herring replied. “It’s meant to stir up fear, anger and division.”

To secure his re-election, Carter is counting on anger over inflation, fear of crime, and his good faith as a high-ranking Republican in Washington to rally his Republican supporters to the polls.

To overtake the heavily favored Carter at the polls, Herring must become a Democrat and win over Republicans opposed to the incumbent’s stance on abortion, appalled by his continued embrace of Donald Trump and horrified by his actions around the Jan. 6, 2021, takeover. storming of the United States Capitol.

When Wednesday night’s discussion turned to the events of January 6, the differences between the candidates were even starker.

Herring accused Carter of violating the U.S. Constitution and his oath of office by voting with 146 other Republicans following the siege to overturn the election results.

In response, Carter described Herring as “obsessed with January 6eadding that when he’s at home in the district, he only hears about “this administration’s failed policies,” including inflation and crime.

“Yes, the people of Savannah are worried and they should be. There is crime on our streets again. I hear about the southern border. I hear about fentanyl.

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