A free-wheeling debate in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District on Thursday saw Democrat Emily Cain and Republican Bruce Poliquin hit each other on their tax records – in and out of state government.

The debate among Cain, Poliquin and independent Blaine Richardson, hosted by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, covered a range of topics including the Ebola virus and energy policy.

But the real fireworks came toward the end of the hourlong debate, when moderator Jennifer Rooks allowed the candidates to ask questions of each other.

That’s when Cain, a state senator from Orono, struck Poliquin, a former state treasurer from Oakland, with a claim on his personal tax history lifted from one of her recent ads against him. He struck back by criticizing her for taking credit for tax cuts passed largely by Republicans in 2011.

While in office, Poliquin was criticized for putting 10 acres of his coastal estate in Georgetown in a state tax-break program meant to encourage commercial logging, which a deed largely restricted. In 2010, he paid $21 in taxes on that plot. He was never found to have violated any rules and he later moved it out of the program, but criticism has followed.

“How do you explain that to the working men and women across the 2nd District, who right now are getting their property tax bills and are not sure how they’re going to afford to pay them?” Cain asked.

He said she was “airing false allegations about my record” and that he has paid all of his taxes, “in full, all of the time.” Then, he pivoted to tax changes that Cain has taken credit for helping to negotiate with a Republican in 2011, when she was House minority leader. Then, a budget passed that cut income taxes for the rich and poor.

Democrats opposed them at the time. In a meeting with the Portland Press Herald’s editorial board in 2011, Cain said that her Democratic caucus “hates these tax cuts.”

“She negotiated against them; she’s now trying to take credit for them because she’s running for Congress,” Poliquin said. “The people of Maine are sick and tired of the spin.”

Cain, who has highlighted her ability to compromise with Republicans in Augusta, said she was proud of the bipartisan work that went into that budget.

The candidates largely agreed on a timely issue, the Ebola virus’ arrival in America. Earlier this month, a man who had traveled to Africa died in Dallas of the virus. A nurse who treated him was affected, and some have criticized the Obama administration’s response.

Even Cain said the Democratic president’s administration “hasn’t done enough,” advocating for closing down flights between America and affected African countries, which Poliquin and Richardson largely agreed with.

“We need to make sure we stop the spread of Ebola in its tracks,” Can said.

Earlier in the debate, Poliquin, as he has in television ads and in their first debate, on Tuesday, hit Cain hard for her support of a carbon tax that he said would drive up costs, saying he favors upping production of domestic energy sources, including oil and natural gas.

He said that would “make Washington worse and hurt our economy here in Maine.”

Cain said she has supported natural gas expansion in the Maine Legislature, but she sees it as being a more transitional fuel to a time when America can develop and harness alternative energy forms including wind and solar power.

“We also need to make sure that for the long run we’re investing in renewable sources right here in our state that will create jobs,” she said.