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Candidates face-off in the 2018 Democratic Gubernatorial Debate

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Alabama voters go to the polls in June to narrow down the field for governor. Many want to know what the candidates have to say in order to make an informed choice.

WHNT News 19 partnered with AL.com and ABC 33/40 in Birmingham to bring you the Democratic Gubernatorial Debate on Tuesday at the Lyric Theatre in Birmingham.

It was time for the Democrats to shine, making their names known in this race for governor.

"I'm the most capable and the most passionate about making Alabama the envy of the South," said Sue Bell Cobb.

"My goal is to make sure I improve the quality of life for each and every one of you," explained Christopher Countryman.

"We believe in Alabama, we believe in her future, she is solid," said James Fields. "She just needs some solid leadership."

Walter Maddox believes "Alabama deserves leadership that understands how to navigate crisis."

Doug Smith says he is running "to improve the economy of this state...I want to reinstitute that machinery. That's why I'm running for Governor."

The most tense moment of the debate came between Cobb and Maddox as she attacked Maddox on tornado redevelopment in Tuscaloosa. "Ask the people who lost their homes, that didn't have the money to contribute to campaigns," said Cobb. Maddox rebutted, "Judge, what you're saying is untrue and it's really beneath you to become this desperate to make allegations." Maddox, also on offense, accused her of being a quitter in regards to her retirement. For more about those jabs, click here.

Post-debate, some candidates say the night went well, but commented about the heckling. "It was certainly inappropriate," said Cobb.

Some agree that the squabbling became a distraction.

"Most of the debate was stuck between a couple of the candidates arguing over past rhetoric," said Countryman.

Others say the vigor created opportunities, and candidates explained how they capitalized on those.

"I believe we came forth as truth and honesty," commented Fields.

"I think we defined ourselves as the most prepared and ready candidate," said Maddox.

Candidate Doug Smith said he thought "It was a great, free-wheeling debate."

These candidates are hoping they did enough to capture voters' attention in a crowded field. While multiple candidates told us they believed they won, AL.com reporters offer this analysis.

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