Syracuse, N.Y. - Republican Congressman John Katko and Democrat Dana Balter squared off in their first televised debate.
Last night's head-to-head happened one week before voters in the 24th Congressional District head to the polls.
The most heated moments came when Balter impugned Katko's integrity. She accused his campaign of taking money from Microsoft after he voted No on a funding request by the IRS to secure outside legal counsel to hand the audit of the tech giant. The former Federal Prosecutor fired back and pointed to his life of service as evidence that he is not easily swayed.
When she pressed the issue again, she asked Katko to promise that he promises to not take Corporate PAC money, as she has. He raised the issue that Corporate PAC money is being spent to benefit Balter's campaign and that she has already broken that promise.
The debate focused on several issues, including the future of Interstate 81, President Trump's administration, and health care.
Regarding I-81, Balter said that she has long supported the Community Grid option. Katko said that until the final proposals are made, it is irresponsible to make a decision about the highway's future.
Balter attempted to characterize Katko as a yes man for the President. He discussed where he has stood in contrast to the President. He cited his 'no-vote' on the Obamacare repeal and when he hammered the President over the comments that he made that went against the U.S. intelligence community in Helsinki. Balter also advocated for a single-payer health care system, known as “Medicare for all.”
A poll out earlier this week showed Congressman Katko with a 14 point lead.
CNYCentral hosted the congressional debate. You can watch the entire debate by clicking here.