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Primary Approaches For Senate GOP Hopefuls, With No Debates

Evan Vucci
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., talks with reporters after a meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York.

Pennsylvania's two Republican U.S. Senate candidates came as close to each other as they've been in public, speaking separately at the state's largest annual gathering of conservatives.

In front of a crowd of a couple hundred Friday at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, state Rep. Jim Christiana of Beaver County and U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Hazleton answered questions separately from conservative commentators.

Christiana criticized Barletta for voting for last month's $1.3 trillion budget bill and suggested Barletta would be loyal to Senate Republican leaders, not Pennsylvanians.

Barletta focused his criticism on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

It might be the closest they get. Christiana says he's asked Barletta for debates in every Pennsylvania media market, with no response.

Barletta is endorsed by the state party and backed by President Donald Trump. The primary election is May 15.