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Chellie Pingree, Jay Allen Debate For First Time

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Maine Public illustration
Chellie Pingree and Jay Allen

In their first televised debate, incumbent U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District and Republican challenger Jay Allen disagreed on almost every issue.

From the start of the forum hosted by WCSH-TV in Portland, Pingree and Allen differed on front-burner issues including whether wearing masks helps stop the spread of COVID-19. Allen, who is a family doctor, said that despite the fact that President Donald Trump has contracted the disease, he hasn’t changed his mind about making masks mandatory.

“No, not really, because I look at the numbers, not just the fact that people that are healthy don’t spread the virus,” he said.

Pingree countered that all the scientific studies show wearing a mask dramatically lowers the spread of the disease.

“I take the completely opposite point of view. We see many studies that show you often are shedding the most virus prior to any sign of the virus or being tested for it. Many people are asymptomatic,” she said.

The two also disagreed over continuing the Affordable Care Act. Allen supports repeal, while Pingree says it should be preserved but improved.