The two candidates, Republican Casey Lucius and Democrat Jimmy Panetta covered a range of issues at a debate on Monday night, from immigration reform and healthcare, to marijuana legalization and the military footprint on the Central Coast.
Hundreds showed up to watch the debate, and some even had to stand outside to listen, while both candidates tried to convince voters they're more than just their labels.
"We are out and about every day from all four corners of the county, from San Benito to Santa Cruz, from Watsonville to Big Sur. We are going to continue to be there and make sure people know me and not just my last name," Panetta said.
"I'm running as a Republican but I really want people to know that I'm an independent thinker and have practical solutions for the problems we are facing," Lucius said.
The candidates agreed on the urgency of climate change, and removing marijuana as a Schedule i drug. They both stressed the importance of our military bases and want that resource shared with community.
"The best way we can make our bases the best asset to our community is take the gates down and really make them our community assets," Lucius said.
"We need to tell people how invaluable it is to this area. No longer is our military about planes and guns. it's about education, it's about education, it's about leadership, it's about cyber security," Panetta added.
They also support comprehensive immigration reform, but Panetta said Lucius represents a party that doesn't support it.
"It was the Republican leadership that blocked it," Panetta said.
But Lucius said her party cannot define her as a politician.
"The good news is, I disagree with my party. I'm the first one to admit that. Unlike my opponent, who's been quoted in saying, there is nothing he disagrees with Hillary Clinton on," Lucius said.
Some people were impressed with the candidates.
"There was one thing that i thought made the decision for me, Casey at least said that she's open to changing her mind when facts are presented," Prunedale resident Steve Blumenthal said.
Others left wondering if it'll make any difference in Congress.
"The down side of it all is the feasibility of all the accomplishment seem so remote given the way congress has been parallelized by ideology," Carmel resident William Daniels said.
The candidates were also asked who they support for president. Panetta said he'll vote for Hillary Clinton, and Lucius said she thinks Gary Johnson could be a good candidate.
There will be four more debates leading up to the November election.