Pat Murphy of Dubuque finished with 37 percent of the votes cast in the Iowa Democratic Party’s first congressional district primary, securing a spot on November’s ballot.
“I think the key to the victory was a couple of things,” Murphy said this evening during an interview with Radio Iowa. “I talked about one, my experience, and secondly I really focused on what the middle class issues were, focusing on raising the minimum wage, talking about universal preschool.”
Murphy, the former speaker of the Iowa House, is seeking the seat that’s been held since 2007 by Bruce Braley, who is the Democratic nominee for the U.S. senate.
“I’ve been in the legislature for 25 years and I’ve been the minority leader and I’ve been the speaker,” Murphy said, “so I have a lot of knowledge on the different issues that come up.”
Murphy won 18 of the counties in the first district, finishing ahead of four competitors who he described as “admirable” adversaries who ran positive campaigns.
“We all focused on what issues we were going to talk about if we ended up being the candidate for the Democratic Party,” Murphy said.
Rob Blum of Dubuque won a three-way Republican primary and is the GOP’s nominee in the district. Blum told Radio Iowa he wants an “issues based” race to November.
“We have an elderly population. They’re very concerned about ObamaCare,” Blum said. “And also people are concerned about this weak economy that we have. The average middle class family’s wages have gone down over the last six years and their household net worth has gone down.”
Blum is a real estate developer who also started a software company.
“I think I understand what it takes to create prosperity and what it takes to grow the economy and what it takes for Main Street businesses to succeed,” Blum said. “I know we’re not doing those things from a federal standpoint over the last six years.”
This is Blum’s second try at winning a seat in congress.
“Between the two, I won’t lie,” Blum said. “This one’s much better.”
Democrats hold a voter registration advantage of 25,000 in the first district.