Ken Buck, Karen McCormick Square Off in Longmont CD 4 Debate
Candidates for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, Congressman Ken Buck and Dr. Karen McCormick, traded blows over a variety of issues in a debate Saturday just one month from the day their race will be decided.
The 250-person capacity of the Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum wasn’t able to hold all who wanted to attend, and an overflow room with a video feed of the event had to be activated .
After all were settled in both the auditorium and the overflow room, opening statements from both candidates began. Congressman Ken Buck, who has held his seat since 2015, won a coin toss and went first, commenting on the divisiveness of 2016′s election.
“After that election we really went in two directions,” Buck said. “A group that felt strongly about the centralized control of our economy, and a group that wanted to fight for freedom for individual choices.”
He went on to talk about his work with the ReFormer’s Caucus along with other legislation that he’s introduced, including the Water and Agriculture Tax Reform Act of 2018, which aims to promote water conservation and efficiency in usage.
McCormick, who doesn’t have any previous experience in government, began by talking about the business that she built in Colorado. She also mentioned her undergraduate degree in agriculture, her history as a veterinarian and her childhood in a military family.
“I never imagined that I would ever run for political office,” she said. “But I feel driven to get off the sidelines and to stand up and be a voice for the people of this district.”
A range of topics was covered throughout the debate, the first of which was campaign donations and responding to constituents.
“First of all, I don’t know who donates to me,” Buck said. “Second of all I am very careful about being accessible to the residents and the citizens of the 4th Congressional District.”
Buck also went after McCormick, saying that “Only 15 percent of my opponents’ money came from the 4th Congressional District,” and that much of her money came from ActBlue, which he called a “Democrat funnel for money.”
“Mr. Buck shows his lack of knowledge in what ActBlue actually is,” McCormick responded.
“The funds that come to help me win this race come from people all over this state, not just in our district and all over this country and I’m proud to say that. If I’m getting money, it’s money of integrity, money of honesty and money that’s sole purpose is to help get us back to a functional democracy.”
Many more topics including health care, entitlements and immigration were discussed.
Buck showed support for President Donald Trump’s policies regarding border security. He argued that in order to have an immigration system that works, the country needs to have secure borders. He also praised the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, signed into law by Trump, for putting more money back in the pockets of Americans.
McCormick was critical of both, agreeing that America needs border security but arguing that America’s immigration system is broken. She also argued that the recent tax bill doesn’t help small business owners and increases the deficit.
One of the more contentious issues that the candidates discussed was sexual misconduct, and what the threshold should be for consequences, such as the loss of employment, when a crime cannot be prosecuted.
Buck spoke about his history as a prosecutor at the state and federal level, saying that he believes that there should be a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment or assault in the workplace.
“I think we should be much, much more strict about it,” he said. “There’s nothing that bothers me more than seeing a predator like Harvey Weinstein and his liberal Democrat friends take advantage of women in Hollywood and other places.”
This line drew a response from the crowd and prompted one person to yell something about Brett Kavanaugh, confirmed at about the same time the debate was underway on a 50-48 vote in the U.S. Senate. The moderator reminded the audience of the agreement they made to stay quiet during the debate.
After speaking about how underreported sex crimes are, Buck decided to address the Kavanaugh case in particular.
“Someone mentioned the Kavanaugh situation. Had that been reported earlier, we would have had a much more fair — and I’m talking about 25 years, 30 years earlier — we would have had a much more fair situation,” he said.
After another stern reminder from the moderator to stay quiet, McCormick responded. “For too long, since time immemorial, for too long women’s voices have not been heard on an equal level,” she said. “For too long when we do speak up we are discounted. For too long when we try to come forward we are shoved aside.”
The debate was sponsored by the Longmont Observer, the League of Women Voters and the Longmont Museum.