GILFILLIAN ESTATE (LEARFIELD) – The first debate between Minnesota’s gubernatorial candidates was a contentious one Wednesday at FarmFest.

The forum was the first time incumbent governor Tim Walz (DFL) and challenger Scott Jensen (R) met on stage in front of a live audience, and they traded barbs over issues affect farmers, rural Minnesota, crime and even Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At times, the forum got rather heated.

On issues of agriculture – Walz called it a “false argument” that it’s family farms versus larger operations in Minnesota.

“We in Minnesota are proving that there’s room for everyone and that the market is going to drive where we go in those solutions,” said Walz.

Jensen responded, “Governor Walz’s comment that this is a false argument between family farms and that. This is not a false argument. Over my dead body will Minnesota sell farmland to foreign corporations! Count on it!”

Jensen turned up the heat on the Walz administration’s handling of crime in Minneapolis.

“This has gotta stop folks,” said Jensen. “There was a teenage boy killed last night (Tuesday) right by the light rail, downtown just before the Twins game started. We gotta enforce the law! Got to!”

Walz turned some of the blame back at Jensen.

“Had someone not said kill the bill, there would be 300 million dollars and three dozen more state troopers on the streets, today!” said Walz.

When asked about how each would each make sure more seniors in care facilities can stay closer to home, Walz put the blame for it on Senate Republicans.

“We have a budget and it is simply waiting to be signed,” exclaimed Walz. “Walking away from the fixes for political reasons is hurting these nursing homes.”

Jensen pivoted to Walz’s response to COVID-19.

“What we did by locking nursing home patients into their facility, and watch them die alone, frequently bathing in their own stool and urine, is our legacy to what we did with COVID,” said Jensen. “This is what we did! Never again!”