In a candidate forum hosted by Maine Public on Thursday, the three Republicans seeking their party’s nomination in the 2nd Congressional District challeged each other’s business resumes, conservatism and campaign styles.
The gloves were off as Dale Crafts, Eric Brakey and Adrienne Bennett traded barbs on their stands on issues and on their campaigns. Brakey claimed that a member of Bennett’s campaign staff had emailed him negative information about Crafts.
“You want to run a smear campaign against Dale like you have run a smear against me through this race, lying about me in the most personal ways. Then, frankly you should do your own dirty work,” Brakey said.
“No, and if I may,” Bennett said, “there is no one on our staff that would ever advocate going negative.”
Brakey went after both Crafts and Bennett for supporting the first federal COVID-19 relief bill.
“Dale Crafts is a big spender who supported a $2 trillion spending bill going through Congress on Nancy Pelosi’s say alone. He supports trillion-dollar wars overseas that are not just wasting our money, they are wasting the lives of our soldiers,” he said.
And Crafts called Brakey out for his aggressive style.
“You know, he just wants to attack, attack, attack. And you know what, his attacks are not working so well because he is on the bottom of the polls. He is now attacking Adrienne and I because he has to get his numbers up because he is losing,” he said.
All three questioned the wisdom of wearing masks. Bennett said she does not, but does retain some caution.
“My father, he has COPD, and I haven’t been able to visit him for quite some time. I use common sense: If I have a a sniffle, if I have a cold, I don’t see my dad, and I wait until I am healthy to do so. Because I don’t want to jeopardize those that have compromised immune systems,” she said.
On other issues, all three said they mostly support the policies of President Donald Trump and agree on the need to defeat incumbent Democrat Jared Golden in the fall. And all three called for changes to Social Security, ensuring that those that have paid into the system will get the benefits they expect.
Correction: Adrienne Bennett said her father has COPD, not diabetes.