The three republican candidates for Governor traded jabs Saturday in their final face-to-face debate before the June 4th primary. Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats began Saturday’s debate by criticizing his opponents for criticizing one another. He says they’ve been engaging in “purposeful division” the past two weeks, trying to tear each other down. Vander Plaats says Iowans need to expect more. During their May 18th debate, Vander Plaats himself questioned his opponents’ credentials, but on Saturday Vander Plaats said his opponents were engaging in “purposeful division” with a barrage of negative advertising. Doug Gross, a Des Moines lawyer, lambasted state Representative and ag-businessman Steve Sukup of Dougherty during the debate.Gross said Sukup, who’s a legislator, missed a quarter of the roll-call votes in the 2002 Legislative session. Sukup said he had a 95-percent voting record over his eight-year legislative career, but he’d been on the road campaigning this past year. Sukup criticized Gross for not entering the race until January. The candidates, though, focused most of their fire on incumbent democrat Governor Tom Vilsack, laying the state’s economic woes at his feet. The debate was sponsored by the Quad City Times and St. Ambrose University and broadcast on K-W-Q-C television.
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