The two major party candidates in Iowa’s third congressional district answered 18 questions in an hour-long radio debate tonight, but it was what might be called the “elephant in the studio” that drew some verbal jousting.
“A lot of people have opinions about what’s going on with the presidential race, that’s for sure,” Congressman David Young, a Republican from Van Meter, said in his opening statement.
Jim Mowrer of Des Moines, Young’s Democratic challenger, wasn’t shy about saying the name Donald Trump. He did it six times.
“Donald Trump is wholly unfit to hold the office of commander-in-chief,” Mowrer said in answer to a question about the military, “and I think that the congressman has shown some very flawed judgment in his continued support of Mr. Trump.”
A few minutes later, in his closing statement, Young responded, without saying Trump’s name.
“My opponent’s campaign and ads have been solely focused on one person running for president and you heard my opponent mention the presidential nominee many times tonight, but that doesn’t offer any solutions to the big problems that we have here in Iowa,” Young said.
Both candidates expressed support for raising the federal minimum wage, although Young said he’d prefer it be done at the state level and only on a bipartisan basis if it’s done nationally. The two also outlined their differences on trade policy.
“There’s a unique opportunity with the Trans Pacific Partnership, just that Asian ring out there of 12 countries, right? We need to get our goods there. We need to get our services there. We need to get our values there and also strategically China is right there in the background, o.k.?” Young said. “We need to get there before China does.”
Mowrer called the TPP a “bad deal.”
“We need to have trade deals that have environmental standards, that have labor standards and will pay off for the American economy in a big way,” Mowrer said. “…Even people like Donald Trump know that the TPP is bad for our country.”
Tonight’s debate was held in the KMA studios in Shenandoah and broadcast live. The two candidates will debate again this Wednesday in Council Bluffs.