Six of the seven Republican candidates who want to face-off against Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell in November debated this morning in Des Moines.
Five of the candidates stressed their “outsider” status as candidates who have never before run for public office, a contrast with Boswell who is seeking an eighth term in congress. Third district candidate Pat Bertroche of Urbandale is a physician.
“We all know that the problem with America is not Americans, it’s congress,” Bertroche said. “And we need to have people in there that are not beholden to special interests, that are fearless and are able to go out and serve the people of Iowa.”
Candidate Jim Gibbons, a former Iowa State wrestling coach, talked about his 17-year career as a financial advisor. “I take a look at what’s happening here with our government actions and the size and scope of government — it’s become too large,” Gibbons said. “And we need to get back to fiscal responsibility, the same kind of fiscal responsibility that millions of Iowans all across this state are having to step up and do in this financial crisis.”
Candidate Dave Funk, a retired airline pilot from Runnells, said it’s time to protect the American people from an “overreaching” government. “We need people who are willing to go up to Washington and reduce the size and scope of the federal government and shrink it down and stop the stupid spending,” Funk said.
State Senator Brad Zaun, the only candidate in this Republican race who is an elected official, stressed his record in the state legislature and as mayor of Urbandale. “I mean, I can say that I have actually dropped taxes,” Zaun said. “I could say that I have made government more efficient based on my record of experience.”
Candidate Mark Rees touted his “analytical” approach to solving problems, but seemed to struggle — admitting he was “stalling” for time as he answered the debate’s opening question. “I’m not a career politician,” Rees said. “I’ve never run for any office before in my life.”
Candidate Scott Batcher of West Des Moines said government officials have forgotten that “We, the People” are supposed to be the customer. “What I’d like to see is basically us getting back to the roots of electing a businessman into the office,” Batcher said. Batcher is a businessman.
Jason Lee Welch of Grimes is the seventh candidate to file the paperwork to get his name on the ballot for the Republican party’s nomination in the third district congressional, but he did not participate in today’s debate. The debate was sponsored by The Des Moines Register and WHO-TV. Watch the replay here.