- Associated Press - Saturday, October 6, 2018

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Republican incumbent and his Democratic challenger for Kansas’ 4th Congressional District exchanged barbs and attacked the character of the other in their first debate of the general election.

The Wichita Eagle , which sponsored the debate with television station KPTS, reported that Rep. Ron Estes started Friday by pointing to a 2001 incident in which challenger James Thompson pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct for punching a bar patron while Thompson was working as a bouncer. Thompson said the man hit him first.

Estes also brought up a 2000 report that claimed Thompson hit a woman. That case was dismissed after the man who actually hit the woman falsely identified himself to police as Thompson, the Democrat said.

“What’s sad about this, though, is Mr. Estes has used this as an example of something to put out into the public even though he knows the truth of the matter,” Thompson said. “He’s weaponized violence against women as a way to score political points.”

Thompson revisited the subject later in the debate when Estes bemoaned the partisan divide in the confirmation process of federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was narrowly confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday following claims that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted women decades ago.

“I don’t want my daughters to ever be a victim of sexual assault, but I also don’t want my son to ever be a victim of being accused of something he didn’t do and just take it for granted because they’re not doing due process,” Estes said.

Thompson declared Estes’ stance on Kavanaugh “rich,” adding that Estes was “willing to cast aspersions on me with things that are untrue.”

Thompson also criticized Estes for accepting donations from political action committees. Thompson said he doesn’t accept PAC money. The two also clashed over abortion, with Estes saying he would support bills that make sure “we protect life.” Thompson said he would support abortion rights and accused Republicans of not caring about children after they’re born.

Thompson painted Estes as part of a “do-nothing Congress.” Estes said Thompson wants a “big government with higher taxes.”

Estes and Thompson are scheduled to debate again on Oct. 17. The election is Nov. 6.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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