During a heated debate Thursday night in New York City, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who’s running for re-election in this midterm year, went head-to-head for 30 minutes with her Republican opponent, Chele Farley — and the differences couldn’t have been starker.
The live face-off on WABC-TV in the New York area came after Gillibrand (shown above left) dropped out of a debate scheduled for last Sunday — with Farley (above right) suggesting that perhaps Gillibrand’s been too busy laying the seeds for a 2020 presidential run to attend to her New York Senate re-election campaign.
Gillibrand said, however, she’d serve out her entire six-year term if she’s re-elected on November 6, the New York Post and others reported.
“You will serve out your six-year Senate term?” moderator Bill Ritter of Eyewitness News asked Gillibrand.
“I will … I will serve my six-year term,” Gillibrand replied.
Farley is a financier making an initial run for public office. She is thus far not very well known in heavily blue state New York; most polls have her lagging well behind Gillibrand.
“Honestly, I don’t believe it,” said Farley of Gillibrand’s comments about 2020. “We need someone who will fight hard for New York.”
But the most intense exchanges centered on immigration, health care, and the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh of the Supreme Court.
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Gillibrand declared that President Donald Trump’s comments about his opponents over the past two years have contributed to “hate” in today’s political discourse. “I believe we need a role model in the White House. I don’t believe this president has done that. He’s unfortunately been divisive and really put hate into the climate.”
Farley, for her part, would not let Gillibrand off the hook for her calls to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“This is an act of terrorism,” Farley said of the suspicious packages containing crudely made bombs sent this week to a number of Democratic figures, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, actor Robert De Niro, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
“It’s got to stop, but my opponent, Sen. Gillibrand, wants to abolish ICE, which, since 9/11, is the group primarily responsible for stopping terror. We cannot allow that to happen,” said Farley.
Gillibrand insisted ICE had become a rogue deportation force, something she’s long been saying — and went right for emotional and misleading comments about family separations at the border.
“[We] need to reimagine [ICE] under a different agency and have better oversight and accountability so they can do the anti-terrorism mission and not continue their efforts to separate children and babies at the border,” she said.
The two sparred about the migrant caravan of Central Americans that is continuing its march to the U.S. border.
“People are calling it a caravan. I call it an invasion,” said Farley. “We cannot allow open borders.”
Gillibrand is in favor of hearings to consider asylum claims for the marchers. “They should be processed properly in a humane way.”
Gillibrand said she supported hearings to consider asylum claims for the marchers. “They should be processed properly in a humane way,” as the New York Post reported.
Gillibrand also reiterated her support for Medicare for All, a universal government-run health care proposal. She said cutting out insurers would render the plan affordable.
But Farley denounced that idea as an unaffordable socialist nightmare — one that would cost taxpayers $32 trillion over 10 years.
Farley graduated from Stanford University and joined the financial services industry in New York, where she’s lived for the past 25 years, according to her official biography. She worked at UBS Capital and Goldman Sachs, then joined Mistral Capital International, a private equity investment firm specializing in the real estate and energy industries.