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Political analyst weighs in on Kiggans v. Luria debate

Dr. Ben Melusky, an assistant professor of Political Science at ODU, said each candidate accomplished what they wanted to in the debate.

NORFOLK, Va. — There are just 27 days left until voters head to the polls.

On Wednesday, Virginians heard from the two candidates in one of the most watched races in the Commonwealth.

So, how did they do? One political expert said both State Sen. Jen Kiggans and incumbent Congresswoman Elaine Luria accomplished what they wanted to.

Both are Navy veterans and mothers, but they differ on a number of issues.

"It was a great messaging opportunity for me just to highlight the differences between my opponent and I," Kiggans said after the debate.

"We differ on issues and the purpose of a debate is to talk about our differences and the issues," Luria said.

Dr. Ben Melusky, an assistant professor of political science at ODU, said both parties came away from the debate feeling good.

"Ultimately, I think both candidates did what they wanted to do," he said.

RELATED: 5 things we noticed in the Elaine Luria, Jen Kiggans debate

During the nearly two-hour debate, they covered student loan debts, immigration, abortion, and of course, inflation.

"This is by and away is the number one issue. You know, we have inflation at a 40-year high right now. It went from 9.1%, 8.5, 8.3. It was 1.4% went Joe Biden took office," Kiggans said.

"Gas prices are high because Vladimir Putin made them high. I voted for the Inflation Reduction Act because it is largest investment in all above energy plan," said Luria.

Melusky said both women had clear objectives going into the debate.

"Elaine Luria came out, she touted her record and she essentially put Kiggans to the point basically asking her to provide some specifics to bridle a little bit of the difference between herself and Elaine Luria. Kiggans, for the most part, did exactly what she wanted, which was to come out and to, in some cases, tie Elaine Luria to the speaker of the house and to President Biden as well as to push her on some issues that are gaining some traction at the ballot box."

He said Luria has and will continue to double down on her experience in Congress and what she has done on the Armed Services Committee. He said Kiggans has and will continue to link Luria with the Biden administration.

As for who he thinks will come out victorious on Election Day?

"It really is a flip of a coin," Melusky said. "Turnout is going to matter in this election, where it’s going to be tight and intense."

Both women made their case in a race that could determine party control of the House of Representatives.

"There are certain cases where I’m not your candidate. I’m not your candidate if you think the election was stolen. I am not your candidate if you think that 70 million dollars of state taxpayer money should go to a forensic audit of the 2020 election," Luria told the crowd.

"The government mandates and expansion into our lives and businesses must stop. To stop these things and get our country back on track… we must have a change of leadership in Congress. In the 2nd District, that starts with flipping the seat and firing Nancy Pelosi," Kiggans remarked.

To watch the entire debate, click here.

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