The two incumbent congressman who’re facing off in this year’s election had their fifth “debate” tonight, and it was contentious. Republican Tom Latham of Clive is seeking a ninth term in congress. Democrat Leonard Boswell of Des Moines is running for an eighth term.
One tense exchange started with Latham saying: “It was my bill, Congressman Boswell.”
Boswell replied: “I know.”
Latham then said to Boswell: “You voted for it, you said…”
At this point Boswell interjected: “Oh, absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.”
Latham asked: “Can I be allowed to answer the question, if I may?”
Boswell replied: “Well, I don’t want to interrupt you,” to which Latham said: “Well, you have.”
The debate was broadcast live tonight on WHO Radio and the moderator began by asking the candidates if they regret the tone of the campaign. Latham answered first.
“Congressman Boswell starting running — immediately — very, very negative, personal ads against me, so you have to respond,” Latham said. “What I regret is the fact that we can’t talk about issues, only about personal attacks and I don’t think that’s constructive.”
Boswell said he had to fire after being attacked by outside groups that support Latham.
“Last Christmas over a million dollars was spent — negative — against me before I did anything,” Boswell said. “…Starting in March, before we ever got started, it was getting up to maybe $2 million and so I thought: ‘Well, I have no choice. I’m going to have to fight back.’”
About halfway through the debate, the two quarrelled about tax policy. Latham favors extending the tax cuts passed during George W. Bush’s presidency to all wage-earners. Boswell would vote to have Americans who earn $250,000 a year pay the higher tax rates of the 1990s when Bill Clinton was president.
The two incumbent congressmen were forced to run against one another as Iowa lost one seat in the U.S. House due to the redistricting based on new Census data.