- Associated Press - Saturday, July 21, 2018

HOT SPRINGS, Va. (AP) - The Latest on the first general election debate in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

The candidates in Virginia’s U.S. Senate made President Donald Trump a focal point as they sparred in their first debate.

Republican Corey Stewart accused Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of hurting Virginia’s interests by reflexively opposing Trump’s agenda.

Kaine said Stewart would blindly follow the president, particularly when it comes to the U.S.’s relationship with Russia.



The pair debated Saturday at an event sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association held at the posh Homestead Resort in Bath County.

The candidates clashed on a variety of issues like taxes, immigration and abortion.

They also often traded personal jabs. Stewart said Kaine was “too weak” and “too liberal.” Kaine accused Stewart of repeatedly lying during the debate.

___

10:46 a.m.

The two major party candidates in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race are set to square off in their first debate.

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Corey Stewart are debating Saturday at the Homestead Resort. The event is sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association.

Kaine is seeking a second term. He was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 presidential election and the early favorite to win this year’s contest.

Stewart is a devotee of President Donald Trump and an outspoken defender of Confederate imagery. Several Virginia Republicans, including those seeking re-election to the U.S. House, have publicly distanced themselves from Stewart.

Virginia was once considered a swing state. But Republicans haven’t won a statewide contest since 2009.

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