BEND, Ore. - In their first two debates, Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty and challenger John Hummel went back and forth, exchanging jabs. Tuesday night's third meeting, a forum held by the League of Women Voters, was a bit different.
The candidates never addressed each other directly, but that didn't stop either from taking jabs at their opponent.
"Too much of our money, in fact over $1.5 million, has been wasted because of mismanagement in the DA's office," Hummel said.
"Your district attorney needs to be an experienced prosecutor with a proven record," Flaherty said -- painting Hummel as someone who didn't fit that bill.
One question from the audience: "Can you ensure that people with more money will face the same justice in court as someone with less?"
Hummel focused on the case of Brett Beidschied; he hit and killed a Bend man on third street, only to eventually serve less than two months in jail.
"This person plead guilty to hit and run, and the person ended up serving 55 days in jail," Hummel said. "That will not happen in my office."
Flaherty replied, "It would have been unjust to go forward with the criminally negligent homicide charge, because the evidence just wasn't there,. It wouldn't have made any difference if it did, because it was up to the judge."
Throughout the forum, the tone from each candidate remained the same, Hummel hammering the point of poor leadership by Flaherty.
"The insanity has to end -- it has to end," Hummel said. "If I get in there, you know what's going to happen? We're going to develop our vision. I'm going to run the office right and respect taxpayer dollars."
As he has throughout the campaign, Flaherty went after Hummel's lack of experience as a prosecutor.
"He's not going to be able to lead the 18 prosecutors in carrying out their function every day, because he has never done it." Flaherty said. "You can't ask somebody to do that which you have never done."
Another question from the audience was what each candidate thought their greatest strength and weakness was.
Flaherty said his strength was his leadership -- his weakness, working with the media, indeed a rocky relationship.
"I haven't developed a good relationship with the media, I think, though that is improving," Flaherty said.
Hummel touted his community leadership, while he said his weakness was taking things too personally at times.
"I can take things too personally," Hummel said. "I can just speak for this campaign, every day I read something in the paper, and I just think, 'Ah' - it hurts."
The combative contest shows no signs of easing in the final weeks of the campaign.
The last day to register to vote is April 29th, and ballots go out in early May, to be counted on May 20th.