Kara Eastman wants 2nd District Democratic voters to know that she’s a fighter while Brad Ashford portrays himself as a consensus-builder, and they hammered those points Tuesday in their second and final debate.

At Tuesday night’s debate, sponsored by The World-Herald and KMTV, the candidates were asked about a range of issues, including health care, Democratic House leadership and their governing styles.

Ashford, who served the Omaha-area 2nd Congressional District from 2015 to 2017, touted his brand of political pragmatism, which he said can win and govern effectively.

“That is how you get things done in Congress,” he said after the debate. “There is no other secret sauce.”

Eastman, a nonprofit executive and Metropolitan Community College board member, offered voters a more confrontational Democrat, trying to tap into the Medicare-for-all wing energized to stop President Donald Trump.

“I want voters to know who I am and what I stand for, and I want voters to know I will listen to them and I will fight for them,” she said when asked what separates her from Ashford.

The winner of the May 15 election will face off against Rep. Don Bacon, a first-term Republican who ousted Ashford from the seat in 2016.

The two candidates agreed on many issues, including overall vision for the country, the need for an assault weapons ban and universal gun background checks and their support for a bill focused on addressing the legal status of young people brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

The candidates’ most spirited exchange dealt with health care. Ashford called Eastman’s Medicare-for-all proposal unrealistic and said she should specify what she’d do when, not if, it fell short.

Eastman said that half-measures on health care haven’t worked and that there was a series of bills in Congress that could start the country on a march toward single-payer health care.

Ashford touted his 18 years of legislative experience and said he’d do a better job getting people together to shore up the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges to stabilize premiums.

Neither would commit to voting for Nancy Pelosi to lead the House Democratic caucus.

When he served in Congress, Ashford supported Pelosi, the former House speaker from California who is now the minority leader. And Pelosi has donated to Ashford’s campaign.

Ashford said he didn’t want to commit to voting for a particular person, though “I certainly won’t commit to not voting for her,” he said.

Eastman said she’s running because she wants to see new leadership but declined to name a leader she’d prefer.

After the debate, she noted that Pelosi and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have supported Ashford.

“It’s a shame they’ve picked a side,” she said.

Moderators Mike’l Severe of The World-Herald and Craig Nigrelli of 3 News Now asked the pair specific questions about their backgrounds.

For Ashford, it was the criticism that he’s flip-flopped, in part because he supported the Keystone XL Pipeline and then opposed it.

Ashford said he has consistently sought community input on his legislative decisions.

“If you don’t change your mind on things once in a while you’re just plain stupid,” he said. “You don’t change the world if you can’t change your mind.”

Eastman was asked whether she could make the transition from Metro Community College board member straight to federal legislative office.

She replied that she’s been in public service as leader of the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance nonprofit and that she’s worked with the federal government to bring grants and services to the Omaha area.

“I’ve done things in Congress without actually being in Congress, so I say, put me in and you’ll actually see what I can do.”

Reporter - Politics

Roseann covers politics for The World-Herald. Before she came to The World-Herald in 2011, she covered politics for the Springfield, Mo., News-Leader. Follow her on Twitter @roseannmoring. Phone: 402-444-1084.

Aaron covers political news for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @asanderford. Phone: 402-444-1135.

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