U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, on Sunday debated her Republican opponent in the November election, Paul Junge, defending her vote to impeach President Donald Trump and saying Junge isn’t being specific enough about how he would handle questions surrounding health care access.
The two debated in a half-hour segment on WDIV-TV’s “Flashpoint” (Channel 4). Two years ago, Slotkin, a former national intelligence officer and acting assistant secretary in the Defense Department, won election in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, which is comprised of northern Oakland County and Ingham and Livingston counties and had been held previously by Republicans.
In the debate, Junge, who formerly worked for the Trump administration and as a TV anchor in Lansing, said Slotkin hadn’t shown the independence from her party that she promised, voting with them most of the time. “She does vote 96% of the time with (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi,” he said.
Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
Slotkin hit back noting correctly that she has been judged one of the most bipartisan members of the U.S. House during her first term in office despite that voting record, a claim which the Free Press has found to be correct based on the votes she has taken and the bills she has had a hand in introducing.
Asked about her vote to impeach Trump after he suggested Ukraine should investigate a political rival, Joe Biden, who went on to become the Democratic nominee, Slotkin said she didn’t regret it even if it hurts her politically. “I don’t have second thoughts. I certainly knew it was going to be controversial,” she said.
“There has to be something more important than just voting to keep yourself in office,” she said. The Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump after the Democratic majority in the House voted to impeach him.
More: Slotkin’s GOP challenger says she’s misleading voters on her record. We fact-checked it.
More: Crowded fields of newcomers vie to chance to face Reps. Slotkin, Stevens in November
Much of the debate circled around health care, with Junge confirming that, unlike most Republicans, he isn’t interested in overturning the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, even though the Trump administration has called for the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal it immediately without a replacement plan in place.
Junge said he supports market-based solutions to improving health care access overall and doesn’t want premium costs to rise but decrease. Slotkin said Junge’s positions aren’t specific enough to give voters a clear idea of what he supports, however. “I still don’t know what his health policy is,” she said.
Contact Todd Spangler at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @tsspangler. Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Slotkin, Junge debate health care and party politics ahead of congressional race