RUSTON, La. — The Latest on the debate in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

Major candidates in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race clashed in their first televised debate together, as they sought to draw distinctions in the final weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming hit GOP opponent John Kennedy, the state treasurer, for running years ago as a liberal Democrat and endorsing John Kerry for president. Fleming suggested Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany wasn’t fully committed in his opposition to President Barack Obama’s health overhaul and helped boost the country’s debts.

Boustany replied that Fleming was twisting his record and comments. Kennedy said he was targeted because he’s leading.

Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell said Kennedy was claiming victories as treasurer that weren’t his.

Lawyer Caroline Fayard, a Democrat, also participated in the debate at Louisiana Tech University.

12:20 p.m.

Five candidates vying to be Louisiana’s next U.S. senator are squaring off in the first statewide TV debate of the race.

The event Tuesday night is being held at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

Though two dozen contenders are on the Nov. 8 ballot, only five met the polling and fundraising criteria set by the Council for A Better Louisiana and Louisiana Public Broadcasting to reach the debate stage.

Those candidates are: Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, Democratic lawyer Caroline Fayard, Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming and Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy.

The whittling of the candidate list for the debate bumped Republican white supremacist David Duke and sparked a lawsuit from former state lawmaker Troy Hebert, an independent who called the criteria unfair.