Both Tucker Anderson and Van Taylor each brought their own very distinct themes to Wednesday's Republican debate.
"I feel that I have the local roots necessary and the Washington experience necessary," said Anderson.
"I'm running for US Congress for the same reason that I fought in Iraq," said Taylor. "I want to leave a better, stronger, safer America."
So while each candidate laid out their stances on the issues, none of which distinctively deviated from party lines or the other candidate's stance, Taylor's business background and Iraq War experience appeared to be against Anderson's Robertson County upbringing and his stint as a legislative assistant in Washington.
"We have never run anybody with active duty military experience against Congressman [Chet] Edwards," Taylor said. "We've never run anybody who's a combat veteran."
"I will tell you that it's a working knowledge of veterans issues and a proven ability to get results on veterans issues that makes the difference," said Anderson.
In fact, what many people believe are two of the incumbent Edwards's strengths -- Washington experience and work for military veterans -- are shared by these two Republican, each of whom took a chance during every question to tout their pluses, including on a question about immigration.
"I will take my firsthand experience serving on the border to Washington. We need to implement the physical infrastructure that's necessary to keep people from coming in," Taylor said.
"What we have to do, and what we found when we passed that legislation, is that we build detention facilities," said Anderson.
In one of the memorable moments near the end of the debate, on a question on farming, Anderson said sometimes he wishes he was back in Robertson County doing that rather than campaigning. Taylor jokingly replied, "You will be in two weeks." He said he retracted his statement shortly after.
The winner of the March primary for the Republicans will go on to face the democrat Edwards, who is seeking his second term as the District 17's representative.
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