The two major party candidates in Iowa’s third congressional district are set to debate tonight at eight o’clock on the Simpson College campus in Indianola. Political observers classify the contest between Democrat Staci Appel and Republican David Young as a toss up.
Young toured the 16-county district last week with Senate Charles Grassley at his side. Young was one of six Republican candidates who sought their party’s nomination in the district and Grassley says he promised his former chief of staff he’d campaign with him if he won the GOP contest.
“He exercises good judgement,” Grassley said during a joint appearance in Atlantic on Friday. “He was more than just chief of staff which you might interpret to mean make sure the office runs effectively and efficiently because he communicated well with constituents that mayhbe wanted to talk to me and I wasn’t available, so he’s been in touch with the grassroots of Iowa for the seven years that he’s worked for me.”
Young, who is 46, went to Washington 20 years ago and worked in congressional offices, including Grassley’s, until June of last year when he started running for the U.S. Senate. He switched to run for the third congressiona district seat when Republican Congressman Tom Latham decided not to seek reelection. Ads running against Young accuses him of being caught in the trappings of Washington and Grassley is jumping to Young’s defense.
“Nobody can level any charges what-so-ever against him that he’s out of touch because he was born in Iowa — Van Meter. He lived and went to high school here, went to college here, worked here, come to Washington to help change the world,” Grassley says. “And he’s still in the process of pursuing another level of engagement of improving our society through being a congressman.”
Young calls Grassley his political mentor and suggests his opponent, Staci Appel, “will not be ready on day one” to do the work of a member of the U.S. House. Tonight’s debate will be broadcast live on KCCI TV, the CBS affiliate in Des Moines, at eight o’clock. The hour-long event will also be live streamed on The Des Moines Register’s website.
(Reporting by Rick Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)