The debate for the House seat in Congressional District (CD) Eight showed the stark differences between both political parties.

On the Republican side, you had incumbent Debbie Lesko who continually parroted Trump Zone-Fox Island talking points throughout the hour-long event.

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On the Democratic side, there was Michael Muscato who took a tailored centrist approach, spoke in realistic terms, and spoke directly to the people, reminding them that they were his neighbors and this is the community he grew up in.

Please click below to watch the debate in its entirety.

Opening Statements

The differences between both candidates were pronounced in their opening comments.

Lesko’s seemed to only be about her and how cool it was to fly on Air Force One, serve in Congress, and hold seats on four committees. She did not talk about the people (to be fair she did correct that In her closing remarks.)

In his opening comments, Muscato right away emphasized that Lesko’s actions or statements had done nothing to help the people in CD Eight. He relayed that he would represent the people in the district and not “glorify the President.”

 COVID 19 and Handling the Pandemic

 Lesko reminded the viewers that the Coronavirus is very dangerous (no fecal matter.)  She boasted that she had voted for the first three COVID 19 Relief Bills. She neglected to say she did not vote for the last two. She then repeated Trump Zone and Fox Island talking points about the handling of COVID 19, saying Trump was doing a “good job.”

Seeing an opening, Muscato said that saying Trump did a good job is “absolutely ridiculous.”. He then said this is about the district, not “bending the knee” to the President at a rally in Tulsa.

On the handling of the pandemic, Muscato said he would have made sure the PPP loans went to people and small businesses instead of the companies with stock. Also, would have had different rent payment relief options.

Lesko called the PPP program a success.

On masks, Lesko seemed taken aback when told by one of the moderators that her website had incorrect guidance on mask-wearing.  She told the viewers that except for when she visits the President or Vice President at the White House, she always wears it because “it is the polite thing.”

Muscato called out the hypocrisy on Governor Ducey on masks (not doing it at a barbecue) and the “fake doctor” approach of people like CD 5’s Andy Biggs in making the handling of the pandemic more difficult.

Q’Anon

Ms. Lesko said, “I do not know much about it.”  Despite that, she voted for a bill condemning it. She called on Muscato to condemn Antifa.

Muscato responded that “all lives matter I condemn Anti Fa and White Supremacists.” He then challenged Lesko to directly condemn White Supremacists. Lesko hemmed and hawed somewhat on that point.

 Affordable Care Act, Preexisting Conditions and The Possibly Soon to Be Uninsured

 Lesko said Obamacare was “crappy” and repeated the Trump Zone and Fox Island dribble about patient-focused and protection about preexisting conditions like portability and health savings accounts. She did not have a plan of her own to present to the viewers just bullet points on price transparency and commercial health care alliances which sounded a lot like the Democratic idea of health care cooperatives.

Muscato agreed that for some like himself, “the Affordable Care Act is not affordable.” He then went on to promote his own health care plan which includes public and private options along with a prescription drug component.

National Debt

Lesko, highlighting the COVID 19 relief bills, said “of course I am concerned.” She did not mention her vote for the Trump-Republican Tax Cut but one of the panelists and Muscato did.

Muscato: pointed out that the tax cut went to the top earners and the representatives who voted for it “should have known better.”

Mail-in Balloting and Poll Watchers

Lesko said, “what we have in Arizona is safe.”  Again, she parroted Trump Zone and Fox Island Propaganda that she thinks voter fraud is real and we need to be on the lookout for suppression.

Muscato contended that voter suppression is real in Arizona.  He also said that the real problem is not voter fraud, but that Republicans have done nothing about foreign election interference or helping the Post Office. Lesko took issue with the Post Office point, saying she voted for aid to them.

On Poll watchers like the ones, Trump is calling for. Lesko said, “I’m fine with them.” Muscato called them “wannabe GI Joes” and “we should not allow them.”

Immigration

Muscato came out for legal immigration and the need “to harness diversity.” He ridiculed the money spent on a wall that, citing Vin Diesel movies, can be breached underneath and above. He called for spending the money on reforming the immigration system like the Visa Program.  Spend the money instead of the wall on reforming the immigration system. He said DACA children should be given a pathway to citizenship and all immigrants should not be demonized. He also said he was against illegal immigration.

Lesko said that we need to reform the immigration system in a comprehensive package. She did not favor separate legislation to deal solely with the DACA children. She reminded viewers that she had supported Republican measures in the past.

She also continually tried to label Muscato as a supporter of illegal immigration which the Democratic Nominee continually denied.

Social Security/Medicare

Muscato said the Social Security and Medicare system would be in trouble “if we get rid of the payroll tax” like Donald Trump envisions.

Lesko said we should protect it with minor reforms for the future.

Racial justice

Muscato said, “we all want law and order.”  He blamed the current crises on the underfunding of impoverished areas and education and cited political candidates who rewarded donors in the appropriations process instead of areas in need.

Lesko boasted that she had endorsed by law and order organizations and said that the. Democrats’ law enforcement reform bill would take away qualified immunity from police and make it easier to arrest police officers.

After the debate, Mr. Muscato commented:

“I hope I made everybody proud and I know coming away from that debate that I am the best candidate to serve the people in CD 8.”

 “What everybody learned is that she was as ill-prepared for that debate as she was in representing the people of the district during this crisis.”

 “I’m humbled and grateful to the Democratic party for letting me run the district centered campaign on a platform that is based on being raised and growing up in the district.”

 

Voters in CD Eight will have a choice on November 3. 2020. Do they want to continue with the incumbent Debbie Lesko who thinks, despite 210,000 dead, Donald Trump is doing a good job on COVID 19 and has no concrete plan in case the Affordable Care Act is declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court?

Or do they want to go in a new direction that is district centered and based on reality with the Democratic Nominee, Michael Muscato?

 

Please remember:

  • The General Election Day is on November 3. 2020. Please see the below graphic for all-important voting dates. 
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  • Check-in with the Secretary of State’s office where you live to verify your mail-in ballot was received, processed, verified, and counted.
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