By Laura Barron-Lopez - 07/26/14 01:00 PM EDT
Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie said he thinks there is enough evidence to support climate change after being pressed on the issue during a debate with incumbent Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerDemocrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal Democratic tax bill targets foreign reinsurance transactions Leahy wants Judiciary hearing on Yahoo MORE (D-Va.).
During the first, and possibly only debate Saturday between the two Virginia Senate candidates, Warner asked Gillespie about his views on global warming, and whether he sided with a majority of Republicans in Congress who remain skeptical of the science.
Gillespie dodged Warner's question at first, instead tying the Virginia senator to President Obama's signature climate rule, which mandates states cut carbon pollution from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.
The former chairman of the Republican National Committee blamed Warner and Obama for the regulations, which he said would put coal miners out of jobs in Virginia.
When pressed again on his climate change beliefs, Gillespie said he thinks there is evidence to support it.
"I believe there is ample scientific evidence that contributes to climate change but I'm not entirely dismissive of those who have a different point of view," Gillespie said.
Gillespie added, "Norfolk is dealing with rising sea levels but people can debate what contributes to that or not."
Still, Gillespie said he thinks the administration's new carbon pollution rules "go to far."
Warner wasn't as quick to attack the new standards, instead commenting on the difficult situation the state of Virginia finds itself in with the city of "Norfolk on one end with rising seas and coal fields in South West."
Warner, a pro-coal Democrat, said he is for an all-of-the-above approach to energy, but thinks the U.S. needs to use cleaner sources to offset coal plants built in developing countries.
Climate change has become a greater wedge issue in races, and remains a divisive talking point on Capitol Hill.