Local congressional candidates react to presidential debate

5 key takeaways from Tuesday’s presidential debate
Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 18:32:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Scrolling through social media feeds following the first president debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, an overarching theme became clear: many people wanted a stiff drink.

As the campaigns and political analysts sort through what the debate, filled with interruptions and name-calling, means moving forward, CBS 6 reached out to every local congressional candidate to get their views on Tuesday night’s events.

Some of the campaigns have not yet returned out request for comment or posted about the debate on their social media platforms, so we’ll update this story as they do.


Sen. Mark Warner (D): “Virginia, we take pride in our kindness, our integrity, and our family values. These are qualities that Joe Biden has demonstrated over a career in public service. Last night, the President of the United States displayed none of these. From his inability to maintain civility to his lack of a COVID-19 recovery plan to his dangerous refusal to condemn white supremacists, like those who marched on Charlottesville, Donald Trump again demonstrated that he is unfit to lead this country. I’m proud to have already cast my vote for my friend, Joe Biden, and, after last night’s debate, I am even more hopeful that Virginians will join me in doing the same.”

Daniel Gade, the Republican candidate, did not post on social media about the debate, and our requests for comment have not been returned at this time.

The Republican Party of Virginia did release a statement Tuesday night:

"Tonight, Joe Biden proved that he’s just an empty vessel for the Democrats' dangerous policies that would destroy American families. The choice is clear -- President Trump will uphold the rule of law and continue to lead the Great American Comeback."

7th Congressional District

Rep. Abigail Spanberger:

“Last night’s debate was an embarrassment. We watched as the President of the United States refused to condemn white supremacists, refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, and made one misleading, attacking statement after another. These machinations meant that the American people didn’t get to hear detailed explanations from either candidate on key issues like COVID-19, healthcare access, and the economy. It was an insult to our democratic process and should motivate everyone to vote.”

In an interview with CBS 6 Tuesday evening, Del. Nick Freitas said:

“I think the president has done a good job to explain his approach to things like COVID, his approach to the economy. . . Then when you look at the way that Joe Biden is responding. I don’t know how you run on a platform of taxes by four trillion dollars when you got a bunch of small businesses that just survived a pandemic, and now, they’re supposed to survive your tax policies. Again, if that’s what Joe Biden believes; I think it’s going to be bad for our country."

4th Congressional District

Rep. Donald McEachin’s (D) campaign did not return our request for comment and did not post publicly on social media outside of sharing news articles on the debate.

His challenger, Pastor Leon Benjamin (R), said:

“Last night’s presidential debate was not pretty. The format was terrible, Chris Wallace did a poor job as moderator and Joe Biden dodged every question he could. President Trump once again showed the American People that he does not back down when he faces opposition. This was the first of three debates, and I look forward to the President being able to further make the contrast between his accomplishments over 47 months versus Joe Biden’s failures over 47 years.”

1st Congressional District

Rep. Rob Wittman (R) did not post publicly about the debate, and his office has not yet responded to a request for comment.

His challenger, Qasim Rashid (D), said:

“Let’s be clear, today white supremacist groups are celebrating because last night Donald Trump endorsed white supremacy terrorism. Trump’s own FBI Director has cited groups like the Proud Boys as a high-level terror threat. I have spent my life as a human rights lawyer condemning and combatting terrorism. It is incumbent on all Republicans, including my opponent Rob Wittman, to unambiguously condemn and disavow Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric. Silence or anything less than full condemnation of Trump’s remarks puts American lives at risk. That is unacceptable.”

Related: Your voter's guide to the 2020 General Election