The debate started out light.
"Before my time starts, I hear a little bit of music and I ask that while I am talking, they turn that up," said Gohmert in his opening remarks.
Sandlin also got a few laughs in his opening remarks.
"It's always great to be home, and it is good to be with you. When someone from Marshall can come to a place where they have two forks, we know we are in tall cotton," said Congressman Sandlin.
But that humor didn't last.
"I voted six times against partial birth abortions. You aren't telling the truth on that. The Lufkin paper caught you on that. The Longview paper caught you. They say what you said was untrue. It wasn't right and you were slinging mud," said Sandlin in response to Gohmert's attacks on his vote on partial birth abortions.
"That was a mistake," Gohmert admitted, "but those groups have been telling me how he was not their friend. I am amazed you can act so righteous when you know the truth."
It was exchanges like these that allowed the audience to see the candidates, live, unscripted.
"I am really interested in really kind of getting a feel for what they are like as people," says audience member Suzanne Cook.
The questions from this debate came directly from the audience. Two issues were of top concern, taxes and Iraq. Both candidates answered frankly and often very similarly.
"I will not vote to increase taxes," said Sandlin.
"I would not vote to increase taxes," said Gohmert.
"It's important to support our troops. To support the commander-and-chief." said Sandlin.