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Beth Van Duyne, Candace Valenzuela Battle For North Texas' Open 24th Congressional Seat Considered Toss-Up

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - One of the most competitive races this year is for the open seat in the 24th Congressional District, which is in parts of Dallas, Tarrant, and Denton counties.

Constituents can't turn on the TV without seeing Democrat Candace Valenzuela's and Republican Beth Van Duyne's campaign ads.

They differ on a number of issues, including the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Valenzuela said the federal government hasn't provided enough testing, contact tracing, or protective gear for workers.

"When we are supposed to reopen, we're supposed to do that, with those safety mechanisms in mind, and the Trump administration cheered on by my opponent, Beth Van Dyne didn't have any of that in mind when they were trying to send folks headlong into a global pandemic."

Van Duyne praised the Trump administration's efforts."

You saw them being very responsive to cities like New York when they said they needed help. They don't get enough credit for that. We have seen what it's done to small businesses, to people who put everything they had into their business, and now are ready to reopen. People are ready to get back to work and they have been for awhile."

On healthcare, Valenzuela criticizes Van Duyne for opposing the Affordable Care Act, which protects people who have pre-existing conditions.

Valenzuela wants people to be able to buy into medicare.

"I support the public option, we need to make sure that we have a robust public option that supports people in their ability to have health care as somebody who's had to work three jobs to pay for health care because they had a pre-existing condition and 100% markup on my health insurance."

Beth Van Duyne and  Candace Valenzuela
Beth Van Duyne and Candace Valenzuela (credit: CBS 11 News Art Dept.)

Van Duyne said the Affordable Care Act is a failure because it has increased costs and decreased quality.

She said she supports protecting people with pre-existing conditions.

"I think you can definitely do that. I think what you've seen is a rally cry from Republicans and this administration to do exactly that. We can do things like increasing people's ability to put money into their health savings accounts. We could make it for people who need it the most their monthly premiums tax deductible. We can have sales of insurance across state lines."

On criminal justice reform, they disagree on the status of cash bail.

Valenzuela said, "I support ending cash bail, because I don't think that nonviolent offenders who just don't happen to have the money to pay to get out of jail, should then lose their jobs, lose the ability to connect with their families or to support their families as a result of nonviolent offenses."

But Van Duyne criticizes Valenzuela's position. "Instead of looking at ways of ending cash bail, which if you talk to police officers, will tell you how horrible that is, just continues to put criminals back onto our streets."

The retiring Congressman in this district, Republican Kenny Marchant, won two years ago by just eight thousand votes thanks to supporters in Tarrant County.

He lost Dallas and Denton counties.

The Cook Political Report rates this race as a toss-up.




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