LENA (WIFR) -- Election season is in full swing and tonight candidates for two local races squared off in front of the public for the first time.
If you've been watching our airwaves you can tell from all of the political ads that the politicians are just getting started.
For the first time our congressional candidates went head to head in front of a local tea party. Democratic candidate George Gaulrapp and Republican incumbent Don Manzullo rarely looked at each other tonight as a moderator for the Stephenson County Tea Party battered them with questions.
They answered rapid fire yes / no and multiple choice questions then had a chance to explain their answers. Tea party questions covered a variety of topics including taxes, abortion and eminent domain.
The two candidates were in agreement over many of the questions however differences arose when it came to immigration and education.
"Something has to be done to stop the abuse that's taking place with these anchor babies," said Manzullo.
"This is part of the United State's constitution. If you're born in the United States you have the right, the privilege to love this country and be a United State's citizen," said Gaulrapp.
"Just get rid of the Department of Education. The money that they would spend there, hey, just give it back to the states," said Manzullo.
Gaulrapp's response to the question about the Department of Education -- he says the department is necessary to ensure that all states are educating in similar ways to meet a set standard.
The tea party is well-known to be more Republican minded and as such Manzullo won far more cheers from the crowd. You can see the two candidates duke it out live without crowd bias right here on October 18th at 6pm.
There was another first time debate tonight. Candidates for Stephenson County Sheriff also faced the tea party. Both received about the same reaction with the biggest difference between them being their experience for the job.
"The sheriff's position is more a managerial job than anything else. It's dealing with leadership, it's dealing with management and it's dealing with the budget. And I'm an accountant, a CPA and a doctor," said candidate Tim Clay.
"32 years law enforcement, almost 21 years with the Freeport Police Department and the last 11, 12 years as sheriff," said current sheriff David Snyders.
Clay adds while he doesn't have any law enforcement experience he is confident that he would learn quickly if elected.
(Chip Brewster is available via email AND facebook... feel free to shoot him a message or friend him at any time)