Senate candidates asked about support for presidential nominees

WPVI logo
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, left, and Democrat Katie McGinty take part in a debate at Temple University in Philadelphia, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke-AP

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The presidential election was a topic of discussion during Monday night's Pennsylvania Senate Debate between Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democrat Katie McGinty.

6abc Action News anchor Jim Gardner was the moderator for the debate at Temple University and pressed both candidates on their view of their respective party's choice of Commander in Chief.

Jim brought up that Ms. McGinty's opponents say she was handpicked by the Democratic machine in Washington and would be a rubber stamp for the Democratic leadership and Hillary Clinton should be elected president.

"Can you tell us about one issue where you disagree with your party or your potential president?" Jim asked.

McGinty began her response by speaking of her support of Clinton.

"I do stand with Secretary Clinton because she is focused on standing up with families and rebuilding the middle class. I think it would be helpful this late date in this election if Senator Toomey would similarly let voters know whether he is voting for Donald Trump or not," McGinty said.

Katie McGinty speaks about one issue she differs on with Hillary Clinton.

She then spoke about an issue of disagreement with Clinton.

"There are some issues that I disagree with Secretary Clinton on. For example, I agree it was wrong to set up Guantanamo Bay. We know that has been a tool that has been used against us by terrorists as General Petraeus and others have said. But I can't today say that we should close Guantanamo Bay because I'm concerned that we have those who would return to the battlefield against us," McGinty said.

Jim then turned his attention to Senator Toomey and his stance on Donald Trump.

"I know you have been waiting for this debate. In fact, I know you have been waiting for this moment to say whether or not you would be voting for the nominee of your party. So it is yea or nay?" Jim asked.

Jim Gardner asks Pat Toomey if he will endorse Donald Trump for president.

Toomey responded, "Jim, unlike Katie McGinty, I am not a hyper-partisan, reflexive ideologue who thinks he has to give blind obedience to his party's nominee. Katie McGinty does that. I don't. There's a lot of things that concern me a great deal about Donald Trump and I've been very public about it. I have criticized him repeatedly, publicly, because I think he's said some terrible things, I think he's taken some very badly flawed position. I acknowledge that the nominee of party is flawed. Katie McGinty is just blindly obedient to Hillary Clinton."

"So I guess that means you haven't been waiting for this debate," Jim said jokingly.

Jim mentioned detractors of Toomey who believe he is not completely disavowing Trump because he needs his supporters to win this election.

Toomey responded those accusations.

Pat Toomey responds to accusations he needs Donald Trump supporters.

"I have refused to endorse Donald Trump. Katie McGinty say that's supporting Donald Trump. That doesn't make any sense," Toomey said.

Toomey said there is a dilemma because despite Trump being a flawed candidate, he believes Trump would as president sign a bill repealing Obamacare and restore sanctions on Iran.

"I'm like a lot of Pennsylvanians. I know because I talk to them on a regular basis who feel stuck, who feel 'I can't believe in a country with 300 million people, we've got these two choices.' And Katie McGinty can't acknowledge a single flaw in the nominee in her party."

1 of 8
Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and Democrat Katie McGinty plowed through a fast-paced, final debate.
Bob Watts

Continuing on the topic, Jim told Senator Toomey, "I'm not going to badger you to say something you're not going to say," but asked if his constituents deserve to know if he will support the nominee of his party.

Pat Toomey responds whether voters care if he is supporting Donald Trump.

"I don't think my constituents care that much how one person is going to vote. They are going to make their own decision all across the commonwealth about whom they are going to support and whom they're not going to support. I think they care much more about whether I have policies that are going to help grow this economy, whether I have policies that are going to help keep us safe, and that's the contrast on which they'll make their decision," Toomey said.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.