Feingold, Johnson U.S. Senate debate


8 p.m.

Democrat Russ Feingold says Wisconsin voters deserve a senator who will stand by them, not billionaires and special interests.

His Republican opponent Sen. Ron Johnson says Feingold is a career politician whose solution to every problem is to grow government.

Both candidates made their remarks in closing statements in Friday’s Senate debate. It was the first of two debates before the election.

Feingold is touting his support of paid family medical leave and raising the minimum wage to differentiate himself from Johnson. But Johnson says he has a record of accomplishment during his first term in the Senate and his experience building a plastics manufacturing company in Wisconsin makes him more qualified to know how to build jobs in the private sector.


7:50 p.m.

Democrat Russ Feingold says Sen. Ron Johnson is lying about when Feingold found out about problems at the veterans medical facility in Tomah.

Johnson accused Feingold of ignoring problems at Tomah when he was in the Senate, citing a Tomah employees’ memo detailed alleged over-prescription abuse at the facility.

But the union official who circulated the memo has said that Feingold did not receive it when he was in the Senate.

Feingold says in the debate, “It’s a sad moment for the state of Wisconsin when a senator from Wisconsin says something he knows isn’t true.” Feingold says “it’s awful.”

Johnson did not get a chance to respond to Feingold’s charges.


7:42 p.m.

The tone and tenor of Wisconsin’s Senate debate is in stark contrast to the presidential debates.

Sen. Ron Johnson and challenger Russ Feingold are not interrupting one another or hurling insults in their Friday debate. The presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been marked by frequent interruptions and harsh rhetoric.

But Johnson and Feingold’s debate is staid by comparison. Johnson and Feingold are standing close to one another at podiums at the Green Bay debate as they answer questions from a panel of journalists. While they are hitting their campaign talking points, they are not making personal attacks against one another.


7:40 p.m.

Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson are both hitting some of their main talking points in their first debate.

But Johnson and Feingold touched on major platforms of their campaigns in Friday’s debate.

Johnson dinged Feingold for supporting President Barack Obama’s health care law, and Feingold jabbed Johnson for once referring to social security as a “Ponzi scheme.”

Feingold is also making a plug for his support of raising the minimum wage, which Johnson opposes. And Johnson is talking about the Joseph Project, an initiative he started that connects people in the inner city with manufacturing jobs.

Feingold is also challenging Johnson to drop his support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“I’ve been supporting those areas of agreement, but I’ve not been shy of disagreeing with our candidate, with our nominee. And certainly I’m not going to defend the indefensible,” Johnson replied.

Feingold touted his support of his party’s candidate.

“I have supported Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both. I said all along, that I would happily support either one. And of course I am confident having worked with Secretary Clinton in a number of contexts that she will be an excellent president,” he said.



7:30 p.m.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is touting a project he started to help connect people in the inner cities with manufacturing jobs.

Johnson spoke in Friday’s Senate debate about the Joseph Project. He says that effort he started is the answer to helping people in struggling inner cities find jobs. His answer came in response to a question about how to tackle conflicts between police and minority communities.

Johnson’s Democratic opponent Russ Feingold says the answer includes funding public schools, having police in the communities more often and not just in times of crisis and making sure there are thriving businesses in the neighborhoods.

Feingold says the issue of institutional bias must also be tackled.


7:10 p.m.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is sticking with his support of Donald Trump, but he isn’t saying his name.

Johnson was asked in Friday’s U.S. Senate debate if he was still “100 percent” behind Trump as the Republican nominee. Johnson replied without saying Trump’s name. But he says he supports “our Republican nominee” on a number of issues, including securing the border and fighting the Islamic State.

Johnson’s Democratic challenger Russ Feingold is issuing a challenge to Johnson to renounce Trump. Feingold says, “This one of those times where you have to be an American first, not a politician running for office.”

Trump is campaigning Monday in Wisconsin but Johnson is skipping the event in Green Bay.


7 p.m.

The debate between Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic former Sen. Russ Feingold is underway.

Feingold and Johnson are answering questions from a panel of journalists in Green Bay. It is the first of two debates between the candidates before the election. The second debate is Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Johnson beat Feingold six years ago, ending his 18-year Senate career.

Friday’s debate is to last one hour.


9:11 a.m.

Sen. Ron Johnson and former Sen. Russ Feingold are about to face each other in their first debate of the campaign.

Johnson and Feingold were to debate Friday night in Green Bay. The debate is sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and will be broadcast across the state on a number of stations and nationally by C-SPAN.

It is the first of two debates in the race over a four-day period. They are set to debate for the second and final time Tuesday in Milwaukee.

The debate comes as the Marquette University Law School poll show the race to be about even. Feingold and Johnson are familiar debate opponents. They squared off three times in 2010, a race Johnson won ending Feingold’s 18-year run in the Senate.

The second debate between the candidates will be held Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee.

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