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First debate held for Mo. Governor candidates

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Columbia, MO –

>> Listen to the entire debate
(1 hour, 15 min.)

Pictured left: (L-R) Kenny Hulshof (R), Andrew Finkenstadt (L), Greg Thompson (Const), Jay Nixon (D), and moderator David Lieb from Associated Press.

Four candidates for Missouri governor met for the first debate ahead of the general election.

The debate was largely cordial, with Republican Kenny Hulshof and Democrat Jay Nixon headlining the event at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

"You deserve a government that reflects the values of our people, responsive to our needs and responsible with your tax money," Hulshof said during his closing remarks.

"Our state is at a crossroads, and the people of Missouri will decide this November whether we continue with the same failed policies, or whether we change direction and begin moving forward again," Nixon said.

Libertarian candidate Andrew Finkenstadt promised that his administration would leave Missourians and their pocketbooks alone, and Constitution Party candidate Greg Thompson said he would protect Missourians by bringing God's wisdom into all his decisions.

The temperature of the dialogue rose a few times. Nixon took a swipe at Hulshof's record on campaign contribution limits.

"He (Hulshof) said he'd sign the bill with no limits in it...he said he would...he doesn't get the opportunity to stand here in front of you and say he supports limits when he said that he would sign the bill ending campaign limits," Nixon said.

During the debate, Hulshof said that the old system with campaign limits was a sham, and that the new law removing those limits is better. But he added that he includes campaign limits as part of his ethics platform.

Hulshof also took a swipe at Nixon when he suggested that it's incredulous to spend 22 years in Jefferson City and call yourself an agent of change.

Meanwhile, Finkenstadt had this to say about campaign limits:

"I would love to hit the limit."

That comment brought a round of laughter from the audience and those on the podium.

Finkenstadt continued: "I really have nothing to say, because, of course, as Libertarians, we struggle every day trying to have enough money to pay the bills and to put out our first TV ad in the state of Missouri, so there you go."

Thompson didn't go into detail on campaign contribution limits, other than to say that the system should be opened up so that the best person for governor wins.

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