Aaron Bean and Erick Aguilar Engage in Fiery GOP Debate for District 4

July 23, 2022 Updated 8:47 PM ET

Florida GOP Primary Debate for Congressional District 4 (@JimmyPatronis, Twitter).
Florida GOP Primary Debate for Congressional District 4 (@JimmyPatronis, Twitter).

July 23, 2022 Updated 7:38 P.M. ET

HOLLYWOOD (FLV) – Aaron Bean and Erick Aguilar participated in a fiery debate Saturday at the Sunshine Summit.

It began with questions on whether the candidates would vote on a national ban on abortion if Republicans took back the House and the Senate. Both Bean and Aguilar said they would support the ban on abortions in the United States. 

“I think they want to know what kind of person you are,” the moderator said. “Are you the kind of person who’s going to go to Congress and build bridges with the Democrats or are you going to blow them up?”

That question led to chuckles from audience members. 

“How do you compromise with someone who wants to keep the border open?” Bean said in response. “No, there is no compromise. The only way we are going to take back our country and restore the American dream is defeat them. The red wave is a must if we are going to save our country.”

“You cannot actually work across the aisle with these left-wing lunatics. They are a bunch of domestic terrorists and they are ruining our country,” Aguilar said. “We can’t work with them anymore. That is not our party. The Republican Party is America’s party.”

The debate took place as allegations surfaced that Aguilar deceived donors by sending emails that suggested donations would go toward prominent GOP politicians like Gov. Ron DeSantis and Former President Donald Trump.

On Saturday, the moderator asked Aguilar to provide an explanation for being kicked off of the party’s online fundraising platform, called WinRed, for allegedly deceiving donors. 

Aguilar said it was an attack from career politicians and the news media because they don’t want MAGA candidates in office.

“Anybody can doctor emails. Anybody can throw a whole bunch of things out there,” Aguilar said. “It’s all part of computers. It’s the same thing, we don’t believe in the voting machines because you know they could be hacked.”

Aguilar continued to say MAGA candidates are under attack for wanting term limits, election integrity and a balanced budget. 

“Last time I checked, it’s public service not campaign service,” Aguilar said. “Complete campaign smear.”

Aguilar’s comments resulted in both boos and cheers from attendees.

“My opponent should be careful about using the word crook because let’s recap what he did,” Bean said in response. “He is an identity thief. He stole from seniors. If you go and look online at what emails he sent to seniors all across America, posing as if he was the great one himself Ron DeSantis or Donald Trump.”

“Those seniors not knowing that it’s a wolf in Aguilar clothing behind the scenes taking that money.”

Aguilar responded by saying Bean sent out mailers connecting himself to DeSantis. 

“We’re talking about identity thief and, in the meantime, he sent a mailer out saying he’s partnered with Ron DeSantis and everything in the state,” Aguilar said.

In a rebuttal, Bean said, “you can’t believe what a con man says.”

“It’s all untrue so I’m still shocked that he showed up and blamed everybody else. He blamed everybody except himself,” Bean said. 

Aguilar was also pressed on why he was a registered Democrat between 2014 and 2018. 

“What made you decide to leave the Republican Party during those years and why did you decide to come back?” the moderator asked. 

Aguilar explained that there was a period of hardships in his life when and that he “didn’t even think about it because that was not [his] focus at the time.” Aguilar said he was not politically active and thought of politicians to be “crooks.”

“When President Trump came around, it actually gave me a little bit of hope from a political outsider,” Aguilar said. 

With regards to foreign policy, the moderator explained how about two-thirds of House Republicans voted for the $40 billion in aid to Ukraine. 

“If you would have been in Congress, would you have voted for or against that funding, and why?” the moderator asked. 

Aguilar would have voted against the legislation, saying, “it’s our money, not the government’s.” Aguilar explained how other countries should not depend on the U.S. as much as they do.

“The United States is not the world’s welfare line,” Aguilar said. “And we need to stop that because we are in debt.”

Bean said he would have voted for the bill but senses a frustration from Americans about Congress since there is no “long term plan” about Ukraine. Bean also pointed out a need for NATO to “do their part.”

“There needs to be a long-term plan and we do need to stop Russia who is an enemy of America,” Bean said. “We need to be very clear about that and we need to treat Russia as such.”

The moderator followed up with a question regarding Congress’ approval of $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. 

“Is that something you would support? And for Mr. Aguilar – do you consider that different in any way from providing aide to Ukraine in order to defend off Russian aggression?”

Aguilar said he would support the funding for Israel’s defense system because they are a “long-term ally” and face “heavy challenges.” Bean said Israel “deserves our support” and that he would be committed to making sure Israel is “our strongest ally.”

The candidates were asked what their standard is for a ‘yea’ vote to send American troops into harm’s way. Bean referred to his son, who is set to join the U.S. Army, and said there is a “high bar.” He went on to say that there are other avenues to exhaust before using military intervention.

Aguilar’s response frequently mentioned that he does not support war and believes it is taxing on the country, similarly saying that a ‘high bar’ must be met to justify war.

The moderator asked candidates if they would vote for Rep. Kevin McCarthy to be the House Speaker and how they would cooperate under his leadership. Aguilar said he would not vote for McCarthy and would instead pick U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan.

Bean said he is on “team McCarthy” and expressed excitement to close the border and balance the budget under the leadership. 

Candidates faced a “lightning round” of questions; when asked to name one issue that Gov. Ron DeSantis has gotten wrong, both candidates said nothing. 

The candidates were asked to choose between DeSantis or Trump for president in 2024. Bean chose DeSantis and Aguilar picked Trump. 

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