TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida’s first and only U.S. Senate debate was held at Palm Beach State College’s Lake Worth Campus on Tuesday night, and we want to know who you think won.
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Incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio faced Democratic challenger Val Demings, a former U.S. congresswoman. The two traded fiery jabs throughout the hour-long debate and did not pull any punches when it came to attacking each other on controversial issues like abortion, inflation and gun violence.
Sen. Rubio, when asked about his views on abortion, confirmed again that he is “100 percent pro-life.”
“Not because I want to deny anyone their rights,” he said. “But because I believe that innocent human life is worthy of the protection of our laws.”
Rubio then accused Demings of being the extremist candidate in the race when it comes to abortion.
“No, I don’t think it’s OK for you to make decisions for women and girls as a senator,” Demings said. “I think those decisions are made between the woman, her family, her doctor and her faith.”
The former congresswoman later accused Rubio of doing nothing to address gun violence.
“Our primary responsibility is the safety of Floridians,” she said. “And senator, 24 years in elected office and you have not yet risen to that occasion.”
The senator argued that gun laws proposed by Democrats wouldn’t change anything.
“What makes no sense is we’re going to pass laws that only law-abiding people will follow and criminals will continue to violate,” Rubio said. “At the end of the day, Americans have a Second Amendment right to protect themselves.”