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Cartwright, Bognet face off in 8th Congressional District debate

8th Debate
Neil Prisco
WVIA Photo
Republican Jim Bognet and Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright debated at the WVIA studios Thursday night.

Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright and Republican challenger Jim Bognet clashed on inflation, gun control and abortion rights in the only debate scheduled for the 8th Congressional District.

In several answers throughout the hour-long debate Thursday night, Bognet characterized the country’s economic state as “the Biden Cartwright Inflation,” and challenged the incumbent congressman on his accomplishments on social security and other issues like gun control over his 10 years in office.

“Judge a person by what they’ve done,” he said. “He (Cartwright) has not protected Social Security, and the inflation that him, Biden and Pelosi have unleashed are really hurting our seniors.”

The candidates answered questions on abortion, Ukraine and immigration throughout the night.

8th debate 2
Neil Prisco
WVIA Photo
The 8th Congressional District Debate was broadcast live from the WVIA-TV studios.

Cartwright often tried to point toward issues where he said he did not vote with his party and instead worked with Republicans.

“I support enforcing the rule of law, I’m proud to have supported two major border security bills that were signed into law by President (Donald) Trump to increase Border Patrol funding,” he said. “Even though some in my own party did not support those things.”

Bognet, a business owner and conservative policy adviser, said he would not take federal action on abortion if elected as the issue was “sent back to the states” by the Supreme Court. ‘

Cartwright called the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade an attack on reproductive freedom and said he supports a woman’s right to make healthcare decisions.

On gun control, Bognet said Cartwright has not done enough during his tenure to address mass shootings. He proposed a “crack-down” on illegally purchased weapons.

“We are having a crime wave and it started in the summer of 2020,” he said.

Cartwright, a hunter and gun-owner himself, said federal laws “set the tone,” for gun safety measures across the country.

“I’m in favor of sensible gun safety laws,” he said. “I’m not interested in going around sweeping up people’s guns.”

The 8th Congressional District encompasses all of Wayne, Pike, and Lackawanna counties, along with portions of Luzerne and Monroe counties. Cartwright is seeking a 6th term.

View the full debate here.

Sarah Scinto is the local host of All Things Considered on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.
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