EDISON - The two Republican candidates in this year's primary election for the U.S. Senate met for the first of two debates airing on News 12 New Jersey.

The primary is less than two weeks away and Dr. Alieta Eck and former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan are ready for a fight.

The candidates tried to prove their merits to the voters in Wednesday's debate.

As a physician, Eck has made repealing Obama's health care reform her top priority. "The Medicaid system is so bloated and it costs $13 billion in New Jersey and our state budget is $33 billion," Eck says. "People can't find a doctor, because they don't pay the doctor anything."

Lonegan stuck to his libertarian guns on several issues, including the controversial federal surveillance program. He says if he was sent to Washington, he'd push to repeal it. "Im not going to watch this war on terrorism result in us tearing up our constitution," Lonegan says. "And I don't want to have my individual liberty destroyed in order to defend my liberty."

Both candidates suck to basically the same line on the subjects of taxes and immigration reform. Lonegan says, "I don't think there's any difference between what we believe in, between myself and Dr. Eck, we both believe in liberty and limited government. The difference is between me, Dr. Eck and the Democratic candidates, because all four of the Democratic candidates are virtually identical."

The debate between the four Democratic candidates will be held Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.