There were few fireworks in the first debate tonight between the four Republican candidates for running for Congress in Minnesota's Second Congressional.
Republicans David Gerson, John Howe, Jason Lewis and Pam Myhra all said they would have voted for Rep. Paul Ryan to be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who was elected House speaker on Thursday.
All four candidates also agreed they would have voted against a two-year budget deal approved this week which would raise the nation's debt ceiling and increase federal spending by $80 billion over two years.
On issues such as federal spending and taxation, all of the candidates discussed reducing federal spending and reforming the federal tax code.
The 15-minute debate was broadcast live tonight on the Twin Cities Public Television public affairs program “Almanac."
When asked about who they were supporting for president, Lewis said he has "always been a big fan of Rand Paul," but added that he is "not afraid of Donald Trump" candidacy like some in the Republican Party's "establishment."
Howe said he was "proud" of all the Republican candidates, adding that he liked Ben Carson's candidacy, but was not committing to publicly backing a candidate at this time.
Gerson declined to answer who he was supporting and Myhra said her role as vice president of the Minnesota Federation of Republican Women prevented her from disclosing who she is supporting for president.
Lewis announced tonight he would abide by the Republican Party of Minnesota's endorsement for Congress. Myhra and Gerson both previously said they would not run in the primary election if they failed to win the Republican endorsement next year.
Howe remains the only Republican candidate in the race who has yet to commit to abiding by endorsement process. Howe said he will make a final decision on whether to abide after all the potential Republican candidates have decided if they will abide by the party's endorsement.
Republican Chris Andryski, a CPA from Savage, announced yesterday he would not run for Congress and no other possible candidates have expressed public interest in running.
Gerson said tonight he was "going to Congress to join the House Freedom Caucus," which is a group of conservative members of the House of Representatives. Lewis said he would join the Freedom Caucus, while Myhra and Howe said they wait to decide if they would join the caucus.
The next debate between the Republican candidates is scheduled for November 19 in Inver Grove Heights.
Two Democratic candidates, Angie Craig and Mary Lawrence, have both announced they are running for Congress. Details on a series of debates are between Craig and Lawrence will be finalized within the next few days, according to officials with the Second Congressional District DFL Party.
All of the candidates are hoping to win the seat of Republican Congressman John Kline, who announced in September that he would not seek re-election to Congress next year.
Picture source: Twin Cities Public Television