SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The two leading candidates for Maine's U.S. Senate seat faced off Wednesday in their first debate. Independent Angus King and Republican Charlie Summers debated for an audience of people from the state's manufacturing businesses, and the Portland and Maine State Chambers of Commerce.
There weren't any sparks in this debate, because the candidates basically agreed on many issues. They answered questions about better training and education for the state's workforce, government funding of research, free trade, taxes and energy. They disagreed on health care -- independent King supports the President's Affordable Care Act, Republican Summers does not.
Their other major disagreement was over King's assertion that politics in Washington have become so partisan that the system is broken and nothing gets done. Summers said the system isn't broken but it needs stronger leadership.
Democratic candidate Cynthia Dill was scheduled to participate in the debate, but dropped out on Tuesday, because she was scheduled to teach a government class at Southern Maine Community College. Dill is expected to join Summers and King Thursday morning, for a debate over environmental issues at the Abromsen Center at USM in Portland.