BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Betsy Johnson, Tina Kotek and Christine Drazan took the stage for a spirited gubernatorial debate on Tuesday evening before a packed room of about 80 people at Tykeson Hall on the OSU-Cascades campus.
The audience was made up of students and staff from the campus, the City Club of Central Oregon, and representatives from each campaign.
OSU's new president, Jayathi Murthy, also was in attendance. Murthy became the new president on September, and made the drive from Corvallis to watch the debate.
They got to hear the candidates face off over a variety of hot-button issues, from COVID actions to homelessness, gun violence, and abortion.
The debate was co-hosted, broadcast and livestreamed by NewsChannel 21, as Central Oregonians wanted to learn and know certain stances from the candidates.
While the candidates had their differences on certain subjects, they found a common ground in their discussion on higher education, for example.
I spoke to some audience members after the debate, and got their reactions.
"I think they conducted themselves really well," OSU-Cascades student Taha Elwefati said. "The political landscape has gotten very loud, to say the least, and I think at times disrespectful."
OSU-Cascades communication professor Nick Dahl said, "I think that all candidates definitely displayed passion and enthusiasm."
Dahl also said he thought the candidates did a good job of being able to compare and contrast the issues they support.
Elwefati added, "It's good to see candidates shake each other's hands before and after debates."
The audience also was civil and respectful to the candidates.