This post could be subtitled: What happens when two conservatives and a moderate walk into a debate.

During the pre-primary face-off co-hosted last night by YNN and NY1, two of the three Republican US Senate candidates – Wendy Long and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos – tacked right in a clear effort to woo members of the conservative base that will likely make up the bulk of turnout on June 26.

Rep. Bob Turner, on the other hand, stuck largely to the center – an approach that no doubt makes him the most appealing general election contender to take on Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in November, but probably won’t win him too many converts among the right-leaning set.

Although the candidates largely adhered to state GOP Chairman Ed Cox’s admonishment to heed Reagan’s 11th commandment (thou shalt not attack a fellow Republican), they did mix it up a little in three key areas: Tax hikes, same-sex marriage and gun control.

Maragos, who, like Long, has signed Grover Norquist’s anit-tax pledge, accused his opponents – but mostly Turner – of indecision when it comes to tax increases.

He suggested members of Congress (including Turner and Sen. Chuck Schumer) need an “education” on the economics of tax increases, which he maintains don’t serve to boost the economy.

The comptroller, who did most of the verbal bomb-throwing last night (which stands to reason, since, according to polls, he’s the least well-known of the three little-known candidates), also mantained that one cannot be a “true Conservative” unless one advocates for the repeal of the New York’s same-sex marriage law.

Long took that personally, since she’s the Conservative Party’s endorsed candidate.

But Long also insisted she has no role as a contender for a federal office in championing the repeal of any state law, although she did say she would have voted “no” on the marriage bill last summer had she been a state senator.

Turner only reluctantly weighed in, saying:

“When your opponents are fighting, it’s better to just sit back and watch. This, I’m hoping is not an issue in this campaign. This ship has sailed in New York, and I want to keep the focus on jobs and the economy. The Gillibrand record, the Obama record. That’s what this is going to be about.”

Long and Turner later disagreed on reciprocity when it comes to concealed weapons permits. The House voted last year to approve a federal regulation that requires states to honor these permits issued by other states. Turned voted “no” on that bill.

The highlights of the debate appear in the clip below. We have posted a video of the entire debate, which you can watch here.

Also, both the New York Times and the Times Union covered the event.