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Hudgens Embraces Insurance Lobbyists and Relationship With Oxendine During Televised Debate
Mary Squires clearly won the first and only televised debate for Insurance Commissioner, while Ralph Hudgens reaffirmed his prior statements that insurance lobbyists convinced him to run and are bank-rolling his campaign with the support of John Oxendine.
In response to a question regarding a fundraiser being hosted by current Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Hudgens stated, “If John Oxendine wants to host a fundraiser [for me] I think it’s fantastic. I’m proud to have that endorsement and I’m glad that he’s helping me raise money so I can do the things that need to be done to get elected.”
Libertarian nominee Shane Bruce asked Hudgens about accepting campaign contributions from the insurance industry, including lobbyists, “I want to know the rationalization you go through when you take those envelopes [insurance campaign contributions] and slip them in your pocket?”
“Well, that’s an easy question to answer. These are the people that have an interest in the race. Many of the lobbyists [for insurance] asked me to run. Because they have seen me operate as chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee for six years. They saw that I was fair and my door was always open,” responded Hudgens.
When asked why he accepted over $20,000 from insurance lobbyists for meals, travel, hotel and sporting events when his personal financial disclosure states he is worth over 8 million dollars and he could afford to pay for these things himself, Hudgens refused to answer.
Squires rebutted, “You just have to ask, if you take those kinds of gifts, trips and sporting events tickets and vacations at lobbyists expense when you don’t have to, are you going to work for consumers? Just who are you going to work for as Commissioner of Insurance?”