In his closing debate statement, Harris made an oblique reference to rivals Greg Brannon and Thom Tillis’ political baggage as he cited character issues.
“Without character, there are some issues that are going to be baggage, and I think there’s no question that that’s a cause for concern,” he said in the debate spin room after the event.
So why wasn’t he more aggressive in the debate? Harris said the format was an issue with the one-minute limit on answers. He also said he was feeling out the discussion.
“I think that was probably the hesitation that you would’ve seen tonight, and I think more than anything, those distinctions are continuing to be drawn and I think that people are going to see them,” he said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
He added, “I’m not afraid to address them.”
Asked about the Democratic TV and radio ads hitting Tillis on his office sex scandal, Harris questioned Tillis’ rebuttal ad in which Tillis labeled them “firings.”
“Now the question was raised in an article yesterday of he said when they left office that they had resigned, and now he’s running an ad saying that they were fired, so which is it? And as the question was raised earlier, which one is it going to be? Is this the kind of spin that we’re going to have to get used to?” Harris said.
Grant, too, sought to avoid the fray as Brannon and Tillis exchanged words throughout the debate.
“It’s not about me belittling or trying to compare myself to somebody else. It’s about people seeing who I am and what I can do without having to say something bad about somebody else. I wasn’t raised that way,” she said.