The two Republicans vying for their party’s nomination for a northeast Iowa congressional seat debated in Cedar Rapids last night. The two tried to portray themselves as the better candidate to face Bruce Braley, the Waterloo Democrat who’s been in congress since 2007.
Rod Blum, a 57-year-old businessman from Dubuque, suggested voters should focus on who’s a better “contrast” against Braley.
“Is it a 32-year-old lawyer who wants to be a career politician against a 57-year-old lawyer who is a career politician?” Blum asked. “Or is it a 57-year-old job creator who’s taken risks?”
Ben Lange of Independence, the lawyer Blum’s running against, shot back.
“I know you’ve stood up and told folks that those in their 20s and 30s shouldn’t run for congress,” Lange said. “Somehow we should just sit by and watch 50- and 60- and 70-year-olds mortgage the future of our next generation.”
Blum, by the way, missed the ages of both Lange and Braley. Congressman Braley is 54. Lange is 33, not 32. Two years ago, Lang ran against Braley and lost by less than two percentage points.
The debate, which was broadcast live on KCRG television, will be rebroadcast three more times before the June Primary.
The new first congressional district covers 20 counties in the northwest quadrant of the state. It includes the cities of Decorah, Dubuque, Grinnell and Marshalltown.