NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- The first debate for the race for the seat from New Jersey's 7th congressional district was held Thursday morning.
Democratic incumbent Tom Malinowski and Republican Tom Kean, Jr., faced off in their only in-person debate before the midterm election.
They focused on economics and issues important to New Jersey businesses, such as soaring inflation.
"I'm running for Congress so I can break the back of inflation, responsibly cut the spending coming out of Washington, D.C.," Kean said.
"Compare my record in four years in Washington to Tom Kean's record in 20 years in Trenton," Malinowski said.
The district has been redrawn to favor the Republican party, but the race is still close. The winner of the race could help decide which political party has control of the House of Representatives.
They took shots at each other over what they accomplished while in office and fought over broader issues.
The two clashed on key issues like abortion rights, health care and lowering prescription drug prices.
Kean discussed energy independence while Malinowski brought up abortion rights for women.
"I support legislation at the federal level that will restore the rights that the Supreme Court took away from American women," Malinowski said.
"We've got folks on the solutions that actually solve the problems immediately," Kean said.
Following the debate, both candidates put their spin on the encounter.
"I support an agenda that breaks the back of inflation, has the backs of cops and secures the southern border," Kean said.
"This is one of the very first public appearances that Tom Kean, Jr., has made, in over one year of campaigning for this job and we saw today why his team does not want him making public appearances," Malinowski said.
Both candidates will have another virtual debate this weekend.