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Massachusetts Senate hopefuls spar in first debate

The race to fill John Kerry's Senate seat has begun. Three candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the special election had their first debate tonight.

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Massachusetts Republican hopefuls for the U.S. Senate debated tonight at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass. (L-R) Former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, and state Rep. Daniel Winslow.

Steven Senne / AP

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The three Republicans running in a special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts sparred in their first debate of the campaign Tuesday night.

Norfolk state Rep. Daniel Winslow, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and Cohasset businessman Gabriel Gomez jousted on everything from the recent across-the-board federal spending cuts to the use of the filibuster in the Senate.

The three also agreed on many of the issues raised during the matchup at Stonehill College, including the recent filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. All three said it was a legitimate tactic to force the Obama administration to clarify its drone policy.

 

The three also faulted Washington for failing to reach a deal to avoid $85 billion in sweeping spending cuts.

"Quite frankly, I think our government is trying to frighten us," Sullivan said.

Gomez said the cuts show a lack of seriousness among what he called "career politicians."

"People have a lack of confidence that is hindering economic growth," Gomez said. "In order to grow the economy, you have to have more confidence."

Winslow said the gridlock is more evidence of why the GOP needs to recast its image.

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