The two leading candidates competing to represent Iowa’s 4th congressional district next year agreed there should be term limits for members of the House and clashed over their fundraising during their only televised debate of the campaign.
Republican Randy Feenstra read tweets Democrat J.D. Scholten posted in 2019 saying the Green New Deal would “benefit farm families.”
“He’s taken millions and millions of dollars from coastal elites from San Francisco and California,” Feenstra said. “He’s been buddy buddy with Bernie Sanders. He’s been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren.”
Scholten said once more details about the Green New Deal emerged, it became clear farmers “didn’t have a seat at the table.”
“You have been lying in your ads,” Scholten said. “…Listen to me. I don’t support the Green New Deal, so if you had any ounce of integrity, you should take down that ad.”
Feenstra has served 12 years in the state senate and he said, if elected, he would serve no more than 12 years in the U.S. House.
“It starts with the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers said that you go to government, you go to Washington, you serve your time and then you go back to work again,” Feenstra said. “You don’t make it a career.”
Scholten said he supports term limits, but the nation’s campaign finance laws must be “cleaned up” first.
“If we had term limits…that will just empower the lobbyists,” Scholten said. “One of the biggest things we talk about every single day is securing our democracy, because right now special interests are dictating it.”
Feenstra’s successful primary win over Republican Congressman Steve King came up at the beginning of the debate. Scholten read a quote from a northwest Iowan who became national co-chair of the Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“Sam Clovis recently said on radio they found an opportunistic candidate in Randy Feenstra and all this outside money came in and it wasn’t the 4th district that picked Randy, it was outside money,” Scholten said.
Scholten returned to the topic later in the debate and Feenstra offered this response: “I have 2900 contributors from Iowa…I have taken money from so many people in the 4th district who believe in me because I can help them with ag.”
The debate was broadcast from 4-5 p.m. on WHO in Des Moines and KCAU in Sioux City. It began with a reference from moderator Dave Price to how tall the two candidates are and both were asked by moderator Tim Seaman to reflect on the importance of athletics. Feenstra, who is 6′ 6″, played high school basketball at Hull Western Christian.
“Competition is a good thing. It brings out the best thing in a person,” Feenstra said. “It also brings out camaraderie and an understanding that when it’s all said and done, we shake the other person’s hand.”
Scholten, who is 6′ 7″, played basketball and baseball for Sioux City East High School and played professional baseball.
“I didn’t care where my shortstop came from and I didn’t care who my left fielder voted for in the last election,” Scholten said. “We needed to work together for a common goal.”
Scholten said he played with teammates who came from six different continents during his baseball career.