A wide open race: 6th Congressional District candidates square off

PLYMOUTH (WITI) -- Candidates hoping to claim Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District seat faced off in Plymouth on Thursday, October 30th.

U.S. Representative, Tom Petri, is retiring after 35 years in office.

Before you see their names on the ballot Tuesday, the three men looking for your vote in Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District race were on the Plymouth High School stage for one last debate.

"Don't look for the Republican or Democratic answer. Look for the right answer," Democratic candidate Mark Harris said.

Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman is also running.

"We have a tax structure that is out of whack," said Grothman.

The third candidate is libertarian Gus Fahrendorf.

"I'm just bringing some real-world, from the trenches experience," said Fahrendorf.

Grothman edged out his opponent in August's Republican primary by only about 200 votes. Since the November ballot was finalized, all three have been touting their platforms for a larger office -- the U.S. House of Representatives. The economy is a top issue.

"The future of our country is at risk borrowing 20% of the budget, the reasons the economy is down," said Grothman.

"Clearly those numbers don't come close to 20%," said Harris.

"I'm basically a government minimalist," said Fahrendorf.

The economy isn't the only topic that separates the candidates in this heated race. A question about drug testing for welfare benefits shows a big difference between the candidates.

"One thing the drug testing does is makes a certain lifestyle less advantageous," said Grothman.

"I see it as a basic invasion of the Fourth Amendment," said Fahrendorf.

"I bet you none of the businessmen that are going to get manufacturing tax credits are going to have to pee in a bottle before they get them," said Harris.

Questions about foreign policy elicited a wide variety of responses.

"I think the U.S. should never send in ground troops unless there is a major humanitarian catastrophe at stake," said Harris.

"We are not the policemen of the world," said Fahrendorf.

"If we hadn't left Iraq in the mess we did, we wouldn't be in this mess right now," said Grothman.

This is our state's only open congressional seat, meaning there is no incumbent in this particular race.

Thursday's was the first debate with all three candidates participating.