TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) — The candidates in the state's most closely watched congressional race clashed Tuesday over expiring tax cuts and an oil pipeline in their first debate.
Republican state Sen. Andrew Roraback said at the debate in Torrington that he favors extending the Bush-era tax cuts for a year for everyone while the tax code is reformed. He said raising taxes would hurt small businesses.
Democratic former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty said she wants to extend the cuts for the middle class. She said Republicans want lower taxes for the wealthy but offer no specifics on spending.
"We've seen this before," Esty said. "It didn't work under Bush, and it won't work now. That is why I oppose it."
Roraback endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline proposal to transport crude oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries, saying it would create 4,000 jobs.
"I think the Keystone pipeline is something this country can't afford not to have," Roraback said.
Esty said the project would contribute to climate change and the oil likely would go overseas.
"It is an environmental disaster," she said.
The 5th district seat, in a largely bipartisan area of northwestern Connecticut, is held by U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, a Democrat who's running for U.S. Senate. It's one of only two U.S. House seats in New England where an incumbent is not running for re-election.
National Democrats have spent nearly $800,000 on television ads in the race. The National Republican Campaign Committee has spent about $90,000 to support Roraback, who has lagged behind Esty in fundraising. National Republicans also brought in House Speaker John Boehner to headline a Roraback fundraiser last week in Hartford.
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