HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The first debate is set for Monday for Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and his Democratic challenger, Katie McGinty, in an increasingly nasty race that could decide whether the GOP hangs onto its Senate majority.
Toomey said he will seek to highlight how they differ on issues from national security to taxes.
McGinty was expected to continue her attacks against Toomey over his refusal to disavow the GOP’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, even as he has criticized him.
Differences over gun rights, abortion and immigration are also prominent issues in the campaign.
The hour debate will be taped at 1 p.m. at Pittsburgh TV station KDKA and broadcast at 7 p.m. A second debate is set for Oct. 24 in Philadelphia.
The first-term Toomey is among the Senate’s most endangered Republicans, running for re-election in a state where registered Democrats hold a 4-to-3 advantage over Republicans.
He is backed by business associations and anti-tax and anti-regulation activists, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, and the Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth, where he was president before running for Senate.
Toomey is ranked by the American Conservative Union as the third-most conservative Pennsylvania member of Congress and 13th among U.S. senators. A former investment banker and restaurateur, he also served three U.S. House terms.
McGinty is popular with labor unions and environmental advocacy organizations, and had the backing of the Democratic Party leadership to help her win a four-way primary. She got her start in government working for then-U.S. Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee. She later worked for Bill Clinton’s White House and two Pennsylvania governors, Ed Rendell and Tom Wolf.
She finished a distant fourth in a four-way Democratic primary for governor in 2004.