Dayton-Johnson debate: Ebola, corporal punishment, economy

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Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican challenger Jeff Johnson went head-to-head from Hamline University Sunday morning in the fourth of five scheduled debates in the gubernatorial race. You can rewatch the debate above.

Star Tribune reporter Ricardo Lopez noted Dayton and Johnson were "more subdued and cordial" than in recent debates, however they did outline "starkly different visions for the state."

During the Sunday morning debate, Dayton and Johnson were split on surplus priorities and gun control.

Dayton said he would make expanding child-care tax credit to more families his priority for the first $100 million of any surplus. Johnson said he would use that money to assist broader overhaul to income, property, sales and corporate taxes.

When it comes to gun control laws, Dayton says he favors extending background checks, while Johnson says he won't favor adding new restrictions to existing state law. Both candidates said they own guns.

Dayton and Johnson also answered questions relating to education, student loan debt, taxes, MnSure, the middle class and other issues that have been touched on in various other debates during the campaign.

The candidates also briefly discussed issues that have been in the headlines recently. If anyone was wondering if the gubernatorial candidates had ever smoked marijuana or physically punished their children, we now have the answer.

Dayton, who this spring signed a bill legalizing medical cannabis in Minnesota, said he had smoked marijuana, while Johnson said he hadn't.

As for corporal punishment, which has been in the spotlight as of late due to charges against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, both candidates agree that it's tough to sometimes distinguish between appropriately disciplining a child and child abuse. Dayton admitted he spanked his son once and regretted it. Johnson said he too spanked his son.

The candidates also discussed Ebola concerns in Minnesota. Dayton says he's been meeting with state officials to work on an Ebola preparedness response. Johnson says being prepared is important and says he supports an "Ebola hospital" with dedicated faculty and response team.

FOX 9 broke down some of the other questions in the debate. Click here to read more.

Independence Party candidate Hannah Nicollet was not invited to participate in the Sunday morning debate. She held a news conference Sunday morning detailing why she plans to file a lawsuit against the university.

The final debate before the November election is scheduled for Halloween and will air on Twin Cities Public Television.

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