Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates met Monday night on statewide television for the only debate of the 2016 campaign. Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Democrat Lexington Mayor Jim Gray appeared together on KET's "Kentucky Tonight.”
During the hour-long face-off, Gray reiterated a charge that Paul is more concerned about another run for the presidency than with the office he holds, “He’s not thinking about Kentuckians and Kentuckians needs and challenges and problems. That’s what I’m committed to, serving Kentucky. He’s not even agreed that he will serve a full term.”
The incumbent responded that his opponent is ignoring his duties as Mayor of Lexington while running for the Senate, “I also made 96 percent of my votes. Many people ran for president and missed half their votes. I made 96 percent of my votes. Some have said I’m the hardest working senator up there and I think it’s probably true.”
The candidates were asked their opinion of raising the minimum wage. Mayor Gray commented that failure to increase the federal base wage is an example of federal legislators failing to do their job, “And it meant then that a city like Lexington, a city like Louisville, had to act and had to do its job. Had to do the job that the Congress should have been doing.”
Senator Paul says economists disagree with a need to raise the federal minimum wage, “They all say that raising the wage above the market wage leads to unemployment. Congressional Budget Office says 500,000 jobs would be lost.”
The Monday night event is the only time the two candidates will debate in person, and only the third time they have appeared together during the campaign.