PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Just one week away from the Florida primary, some voters are already casting ballots early; but for the rest, time is running out to get to know the candidates.
Christian broadcaster WRXY-TV hosted a candidate forum on Monday, with six Congressional candidates in attendance. Candidates addressed a variety of topics, including a few that have been front-and-center in the news, like gun control following shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.
"We certainly have plenty of gun control as it today, we don't need any new firearms law," said Republican State Rep. Paige Kreegel.
"One of the things I don't think you could ever question is the right to own guns to protect yourself," said Republican Joe Davidow.
"As my colleagues have said, its not the guns, but rather the people that are wielding the guns," said Republican State Rep. Gary Aubuchon.
"Gun control laws are not going to solve the problem," said Republican Byron Donalds. "Gun control only hurts the citizens who pay attention to the law."
"We need to get involved as a society with some of these mental health issues to try to figure it out," said Republican Chauncey Goss.
The Republicans in attendance face each other on the ballot next Tuesday. Lone Democrat Jim Roach doesn't face a challenge in the primary, but he did echo a similar message on the gun control subject.
"These are things that are behaviors, they are not gun-related," Roach said. "You can't tell who's going to explode like that and who's not. You can't tell who's going to use a gun criminally and who's not."
Absent from the forum was Republican Trey Radel, who was hosting a campaign event with Rep. Connie Mack IV, the man who's vacating the Congressional seat to run for Senate. Mack faced some criticism when the candidates were asked how they'd be different:
"Connie came out with something called the Penny Plan, I don't like it, I think its a disaster, it will not work," Davidow said.
"We need somebody that's going to go to all the people, to both parties and start pulling our country back together," Roach said.
All did pledge to keep close ties to Southwest Florida.
"I'm going to make sure I stay a vibrant member of this community," Goss said.
"We need to spend time, as much time as we can, working on legislation that is meaningful to the people in our district," Kreegel said.
"I will be one of those annoying people as your next Congressman, you'll always see me around," Donalds said.
"Being involved in the community is critical to whoever represents us next," Aubuchon said.
The forum will be rebroadcast this weekend on WRXY (channel 10) on Saturday at 2:30pm and Sunday at 3pm.