They agreed that jobs and economic growth are the region's top priorities.
Third District incumbent, Republican Marlin Stutzman and democratic candidate Kevin Boyd met at IPFW.
Stutzman focused on tax reforms and deregulating government control of businesses.
Boyd took the opposite approach, stressing the need for government involvement to help create jobs.
For voters, it was the first time to hear the candidates square off with each other and hear both sides at once.
Dozens of voters listened to Stutzman and his challenger, Boyd, in tonight's debate.
This is the first meeting between the two candidates--
And some like Randy Schmidt wanted to hear what Stutzman had to say.
"I was up in Kendallville a couple of weeks ago for a debate that we thought he was going to be at, but he wasn't there. He sent someone in his place," Schmidt says.
Portland mayor Randy Geesaman says his city is new to the third district.
Stutzman has visited the jay county city more often than Boyd, he says, and he wanted to hear Boyd's stance on the issues.
"Kevin has a very good grasp on the issues, I think he has a very good grassroots level campaign throughout the active district, and I think he's made an impact in jay county and Portland in the times he's been here," Geesaman says.
Throughout the debate, the republican Stutzman and democrat Boyd sparred about economic growth, foreign policy, health care and education issues.
Much of the time, the discussion kept coming back to one thing-- jobs.
Something Indiana political expert Andy Downs says he isn't surprised about.
"The most important issue in northeastern Indiana and throughout the entire state, obviously, is economic development, or jobs. And so we expect to hear a lot of that," downs says.
Stutzman stressed the importance of tax reform.
He says it is the biggest factor in putting a stagnant economy in motion.
"So I believe what we can do that would affect our economy and getting our economy to grow quickly is to do tax reform. We need to overhaul our tax code, which is full of federal government picking winners and losers: whether it's subsidies, whether it's incentives, all of these things are creating a convoluted tax structure," Stutzman says.
Boyd says the best way to add jobs is to get back to the region's foundation of manufacturing, and called for the development of advanced manufacturing.
"I'll make sure that we try to work with government, we work with local government, we work with universities, we work with businesses in the area to bring that kind of new manufacturing to our area. That will secure high paying jobs with good benefits that a family can exist on," Boyd says.
Boyd criticized Stutzman for his congressional stay, saying he did little during his term.
Stutzman focused on how his local office contributed to the district.
But both agreed cuts were necessary to balance the federal budget.
This is the only debate scheduled between these two, so voters won't have another chance to hear the two of them together.
But with the election just weeks away, and early voting already open, there isn't much time left.