NORFOLK--It was a packed house Wednesday night at ODU as voters in Hampton Roads got their only chance to see the candidates for lieutenant governor squared off.

Republican E.W. Jackson, a Chesapeake minister, and State Senator Ralph Northam (D-6th D) debated the issues.

Northam said his opponent's rigid ideology would further hurt the image of the Commonwealth.

'We will stop the social agenda that rolled into Virginia two years ago,' he said, 'That has literally been an embarrassment to the Commonwealth of Virginia and put us on the late night TV shows.'

Jackson countered criticism directed his way saying he'd reach out to those who do not agree with him and focus on bigger issues.

'I think what a lt. governor needs to focus on is not attacking people who do not agree with you on family issues or traditional values but figure out how to work together on jobs and the economy,' he said.

As for the economy, both men agreed the region's transportation issues are a roadblock to economic development, but they disagreed on how best to deal with the problem.

Jackson pushed back on tolls.

'Tolls are not something we should just cast aside as out of the question.' he said, 'I think we need to look at each individual situation.'

Northam called transportation an key economic driver of the area and reminded voters of his support for the recent transportation bill. He also said tolls in Portsmouth have both crippled and isolated the area.

'The military is about 47% of our economy in Hampton Roads ... They put us on notice that if you don't do something about transportation and infrastructure, we're going to go elsewhere,' Northam stated.

Both men agree there needs to be reform in Richmond to avoid another gift scandal and non-violent offenders should have their voting rights restored.

Afterwards, in campaign emails, both men said they had won the debate.

The debate was sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association and the Young Laywers Division and Quentin Kidd, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University, was the moderator.

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