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After email dump, CD8 debate gets chippy

From left: Joe Radinovich, Pete Stauber and Ray "Skip" Sandman

A congressional debate got contentious between candidates Tuesday night.

Candidate Joe Radinovich questioned the substance of comments made by Pete Stauber about entitlement programs at a Tuesday debate after an email dump revealing correspondence between the Republican candidate and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"I think what this shows is throughout the course of this campaign, Pete has failed to be honest about this incident and it calls into question his answers on pre-existing conditions, social security and medicare issues," said the DFL candidate.

The response came after a question that kicked off the 8th Congressional District debate in Chisholm. Radinovich referenced the content of some of those emails, saying Stauber "coordinated with national interests in Washington D.C. and he sought to politicize a nonpartisan event that commended veterans."

Stauber fired back at Radinovich, when he said the reason the issue was being discussed was because of the DFL candidate.

"In fact, the reason we're talking about this today is because Joe and his allies sued St. Louis County," said Stauber.

Later on in the debate, the moderator asked the candidates what their position on cutting entitlement programs to pay for tax cuts. Stauber rebuked Radinovich's statement, saying he does not support cutting those safety nets.

"I have said it numerous times, 'Pete Stauber does not support cutting Medicare and Social Security,'" Stauber said.

On Tuesday morning, a judge ordered St. Louis County make public the emails that Stauber sent to the NRCC while working as St. Louis County commissioner. However, Stauber concluded his statement by saying he respected the judge's decision.

"I'm a law-abiding citizen and happy the county released its emails," said Stauber.

However, the conversation stemmed from discussion over emails to questions of the candidate's character, when Stauber referenced Radinovich's criminal record. Radinovich responded he had been "totally transparent" about his past, which included parking tickets, speeding tickets and a marijuana possession charge.

Independent Party candidate Ray "Skip" Sandman, who was conveniently positioned between the two candidates compared their arguing to that of "third and fourth graders."

The remark brought laughs among the crowd.

"I believe everybody who's running for office should follow by the rules and I follow the rules," Sandman said.

The debate took place at the Minnesota Discovery Center, and covered issues regarding tariffs, mineral exploration, government civility and expanding broadband access.