Both Gregg Harper and Charlie Ross arrived at WTOK's downtown Meridian studio for a taping of "On the Record" ready to explain why they are the best choice for the Republican nomination for Congress.
WTOK's news director, John Johnson, moderated the forum and a coin toss decided the question order. Both men were asked several questions and given plenty of time to answer them.
For weeks, the candidates have been buying commercial ads to get their messages out to the public. But in a debate format, the candidates can actually emphasize their differences while still reaching all viewers.
The candidates say this format is best for getting out their messages before the Apr. 1 runoff.
"One of the things missing in politics is real focus on the issues," said Ross, referring to the limitations of 30-second sound bites. "I think it's important for the system and important for the public."
"I think people get a better glimpse. It's so hard to really know who a candidate is in a 30 second commercial," said Harper. "We feel we have done it the best we can, but it's much better to let people hear more of what you have to say."
Both candidates consider themselves strong conservatives. However each says there are factors that distinguish one from the other.
Harper said it's that he can work well with others, while Ross says it's his experience that sets him apart.