HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Republican challenger Dan Carter took each other to task during an hourlong debate that touched on a range of issues, including gun control and the federal health care law.
The Sunday debate, the only one between the nominees, aired live on WFSB-TV.
Blumenthal criticized Carter, a Bethel state representative, for his 2013 vote against a gun control package passed after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and his opposition to a law confiscating guns from alleged domestic abusers served with a temporary restraining order.
"I think the NRA already has enough friends and defenders in Washington," Blumenthal said, referring to the politically influential National Rifle Association.
Carter said Democrats have done nothing to address illegal gun trafficking while making money off the gun control issue.
"That bill that I voted against in 2013 would have done nothing to prevent Sandy Hook from happening," Carter said.
Carter criticized the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature legislation, saying it has failed to reduce the cost of health insurance. He said families and small businesses have seen their premiums and deductibles "go through the roof."
Blumenthal acknowledged the law needs improvements but said it would be a disservice to roll back coverage guarantees for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
"I'm not willing to throw those people out of health insurance," Blumenthal said.
The Senate race has been low-key. The well-known Blumenthal, who is seeking re-election to a second six-year term, has raised much more money than Carter and has been running a series of TV ads.
As of September 30, Blumenthal had $4.7 million in cash on hand while Carter had $35,014.