CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Democrat and Republican nominees for Second District Congress got together for the first time in a head-to-head setting Thursday but it wasn’t called a debate. The West Virginia Business and Industry Council, who sponsored the event between Republican Alex Mooney and Democrat Nick Casey, stressed it was a forum for discussion.

The questions asked to both candidates were pre-written and Mooney and Casey got a look at them before the event got started Thursday morning at the Charleston Civic Center.

During open statements, Casey, a Kanawha County native and lawyer, made it clear he is not a strong supporter of President Barack Obama and would not be a Democratic puppet if he were to win the Nov. 4 election.

“Now I’m not a career politician. I have never run in one state let alone in three areas. I’m 60-years-old. I’m not going to Washington to make a political name for myself,” stressed the Democrat. “I’m going to Washington because, as my father used to say, ‘We have the greatest form of government in the history of the world.’ He’s right but we are testing that right now. I think it’s time we send in the adults, the experienced, responsible people who can go there and fix what’s wrong with our country.”

Mooney, who worked in Washington as a legislative analyst and then served 12 years in the Maryland State Senate, moved to West Virginia with his family a year and a half ago.

“I know I haven’t lived in West Virginia as long as my opponent. I’m proud to be a West Virginian by choice,” said Mooney. “My wife and I are raising our family here. We’re sending our children to school here. We want to make sure our children grow up in a state that is filled with opportunity.”

The first topic up for discussion was one both Casey and Mooney agreed on. The Democrat and Republican said programs like No Child Left Behind and Common Core must go and states need to be fully in charge of their education systems.

But when it comes to Obamacare, the two candidates are on opposing sides.

“I am adamantly opposed to Obamacare. I think we should repeal it completely. Unlike the last issue, this is an issue where my opponent and I disagree,” stated Mooney. “Obamacare has resulted in higher taxes, higher premiums and fewer jobs.”

While Casey does struggle with some issues within Obamacare, he says we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

“The reality is Obamacare is here. One hundred and thirty seven thousand, as of yesterday, uninsured, working West Virginians have obtained insurance because of the results of Medicare,” explained Casey.

Both candidates answered questions on the deficit, global warming, transportation, the EPA and the future of coal, all issues important to the business leaders gathered in the room.

In closing, Casey made it clear he wanted the business and industry vote in November.

“If you send me (to Washington), you know I’m dependable. You know I’m experienced. You know I’m competent. You know I’m accessible. And you know I don’t answer to anybody but West Virginians,” said Casey.

Mooney told those gathered it was time for a change in Congress and he’s the candidate to make that happen.

“West Virginia is an incredible state. Our citizens are hard working, industrious and creative,” stressed the Republican. “But right now the federal government is stifling our businesses and burdening our families.”

There are two other candidates running in the second district: Independent Ed Rabel and Libertarian Davy Jones.

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  • Jay

    Nick Casey is what Washington needs. He knows how to solve problems and is clear he will not be a puppet

  • Jephre

    "Casey, a Kanawha County native and lawyer, made it clear he is not a strong supporter of President Barack Obama and would not be a Democratic puppet if he were to win the Nov. 4 election."

    Total BS.

  • arp

    Nick Casey, with full knowledge of Obama's plans to shut down the coal industry, enthusiastically endorsed and promoted him. Can we think he'll oppose Obama once he's elected? He was state Democrat chairman. Does anyone really expect he'll buck his party? Plus, the Republicans are fully expected to keep control of the U.S. House--Mooney is more likely to gain helpful committee assignments that could benefit our state.

  • Rebecca Newhouse

    Why were the other candidates not invited. It almost smells of a business sponsored commercial for shills.

    • Aaron

      I don't know. If there is a debate involving Rabel, I would like to know so I can ask him how he proposes to replace the energy generation he wants to halt from fracking and how he would address the cost affiliated with EPA regulations on existing coal fired power plants that will do very little besides increase the cost.

      • The bookman

        Increased electricity cost is a necessary component of the EPA's guidelines on emissions. They believe the higher cost will create the incentive to conserve. Some call that choosing eating over comfort, but they have our best interest at heart.

  • C. F. T.

    Nick have u forgot the years you were the WV State Democrat Party Chair and did aggressive support Obama? There is NO forgiveness for you and any other politico who did support Obama, you should have had the backbone and courage to opposed Obama, we in Wv and the USA cannot risk anymore CoolAid drinkers.

  • Nicolay'sDilemma

    I would like to hear what Mr. Jones would have said. Was he invited? Libertarian policy toward business seems more favorable to business and industry than Republican policy.

    And just because you invite Mr. Jones doesn't mean you have to donate money to him.

    I understand why they didn't invite Mr. Rabel, of course.

  • Hazel

    Why does it matter that Mooney is from Maryland? Rockefeller was what my dad called a carpetbagger and used WV as a political stepping stone; apparently he has been accepted as a West Virginian. No difference in Mooney coming here and doing the same thing. Maybe he'll do more for WV than the Democrats have in the last 70 years. No, I'm not a Republican; I'm a registered Democrat but tired of their rhetoric.

    • Jephre

      Thank you, Hazel.

  • Karl

    Wonder what size crowd this event drew? Any pictures Jennifer?

  • wvu999

    10 to 1 odds
    Mooney moves back to Maryland before March when he loses to Casey

    Who wants some of that action?

    • Shadow

      Waiting for your reply. It is a nothing bet as Mooney will win and my money will be returned. Now what odds will you give that Mooney will be defeated? Same conditions apply for a neutral money holder.

    • Independent View

      @ wvu999
      I'll take as much of it as you can afford to loose. Only hitch is, someone demonstrating poor judgment as you have---I want a third party holding the money.
      "A fool and his money are soon parted"

    • Shadow

      I have $100 and will take that bet! Leave you name and number and a person to hold the money.

  • Big Ed

    Mooney, go back to Maryland. Baltimore is almost bankrupt. Your help is needed there.

    • Shadow

      Baltimore and MD are beyond hope. Anyone who stays there is batting their head against a stone wall, somewhat like living in the old East Germany.

    • arp

      Baltimore is probably why Mooney moved to WV. It is completely Democrat, by the way, and offsets the rest of Maryland, the western end of which is conservative.

  • Jim N Charleston

    I can make no predictions until I see which candidate has the most hair.

    All I got
    I'm Jim N So Charleston

  • jcsmith

    Mooney will win.Out with the liberal's.

  • Butch

    Mooney is toast. Go back to Maryland.

  • Jack

    Really Mooney, "OUR citizens"...c'mon give me a break