- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BANGOR, Maine (AP) - A group of freshmen Republicans in Congress is calling on the party’s presidential candidates to focus less on bickering and more on the national debt in advance of the South Carolina primary.

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin is leading the group, which is sending a letter to the candidates on Wednesday. Poliquin and the lawmakers want Republican candidates to put aside personal jabs and show support for a balanced budget amendment.

The letter says candidates need to back spending restraints and show debt is one of the “primary threats to our freedoms.” The signers are from more than a dozen states and many haven’t endorsed a candidate for president.

All of the major Republican presidential candidates have expressed support for a balanced budget amendment in the past. The primary is Saturday.

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