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Republican congressional candidates take the gloves off and trade jabs during political forum in Orange County

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ORANGE COUNTY - They have battled it our on the television airwaves, and Tuesday night, they faced off in person.

Brian Babin and Ben Streusand have been trading barbs through their TV ads, but voters have rarely seen them together. Tuesday they took part in what the Orange County Republican Party dubbed the Runoff Roundup.

Babin and Streusand are running for U.S. Congressional District 36, which includes nine counties, among them Orange County.

They are vying for the Republican nomination that will be decided in the May 27 runoff.

Babin is a dentist and a former mayor of Woodville.  He came out on top of a 12-candidate field in the March primary with 33%, but he did not get enough of the vote to avoid a runoff against the second highest vote getter, who was Streusand, a mortgage banker from Spring.  Streusand received 23% of the vote in the primary.

Nearly 300 people attended the forum.

Babin took the first punch of the night, saying Streusand can't even vote for himself because he doesn't live in the congressional district he's wanting to represent.

Federal candidates are not required to live where they run for office, still Babin considers that a problem with his opponent being out of touch with his constituents.

But Streusand said, "I think everybody would agree with me Congressman Kevin Brady was a pretty good representative, and he lived out in the Woodlands, and he was always in Orange.  It's not where you live, it's where you show up."

Streusand criticized Babin for not being conservative enough, saying if elected, Babin would cave in to the Washington Republican leadership, which Streusand believes doesn't stand up to Democrats.

Babin said, "I'm a longtime conservative Republican, been working hard before it was cool to be a conservative Republican."
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