(CNN) – "Extreme" was the word of the night as the two Pennsylvania Senate candidates debated for the first time on Wednesday.
Democrat Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey, a former Congressman, seldom agreed on the issues during the hour-long debate, but both came to the podium armed with remarkably similar messages.
Throughout the debate, both sought to paint the other as belonging to the extreme wing of their respective parties.
"It's very clear – the person who is the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak," Toomey said.
"Look at this agenda. Not only did he vote for every item on that agenda…he voted for all of the bailouts and then introduced his out bill to create a new bailout."
Sestak, meanwhile, sought to align Toomey with conservative Republican leaders such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin; Sestak also frequently referenced the "Bush/Toomey era," as he attempted to tie Toomey to the former President's policies.
As the candidates debated their positions on abortion, Sestak said, "Palin, Toomey, O'Donnell, they all would like to overturn Roe v. Wade."
Toomey, for his part sought to downplay his ties to Palin, who endorsed the Republican on Tuesday. When asked what role she played in the race, and whether he felt Palin was qualified to be president, Toomey avoided giving a direct answer.
"I'm very grateful for the support that I have from people from all over the political spectrum…. I welcome all allies in this effort to get a government that's our of control, under control, so we can get the prosperity we deserve," he offered.
Recent polls show Sestak rapidly closing in on Toomey, who had until recently enjoyed a comfortable lead in the race to replace Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. Sestak defeated the party switching Senator in the Democratic primary earlier this year.