U.S. Senate candidates square off in Des Moines - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

U.S. Senate candidates square off in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) -

We're less than six weeks from the Iowa primary election, and the race that will draw the most attention is one to replace U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.

The Democrats don't need a primary. Congressman Bruce Braley is the only Democrat on the ballot.

The GOP has five candidates to choose from on June 3rd including Morningside College professor Sam Clovis, State Senator Joni Ernst, retired business executive Mark Jacobs, businessman Scott Schaben, and former U.S. attorney Matt Whitaker.

Thursday night they met during a debate broadcast by Iowa Public Television. Early on, the focus was on jobs.

All five agreed that the climate has to change in this country to make it easier for businesses to create jobs. "Government creates an environment that either makes it easier, or more difficult," said Mark Jacobs, (R) U.S. Senate Candidate. "And, I think every step along the way, whether it's energy policy, the regulatory climate, the tax regime, and then oh yea there's this thing called "Obamacare", all of those things have come together to create an environment that is very, very difficult for the private sector to grow."

"The difference of the experience of the small business owner is when you're covering a payroll every two weeks, and you don't know on Thursday before the Friday payroll where you're going to come up with that money," said Matt Whitaker, (R) U.S. Senate Candidate. "That's a different feeling than when you're getting paid with all of the other employees."

"The responsibility that you have to take care of those people is the same whether you're in private business, of if you're an elected representative of the United States Senate," said Sam Clovis, (R) U.S. Senate Candidate. "You have a responsibility to grow the economy. And, you have to do all of the things that are there to do that."

"I, too, walked into a store that was losing money," said Scott Schaben, (R) U.S. Senate Candidate. "In our first full month, we turned it from the red to the black. And, I say "we" because we did it as a team. If you think you can turn around a business by yourself, you either don't understand the concept of teamwork, or you need a lesson in how to be humble."

"I am one of a number of military folks that reside here in Iowa," said Joni Ernst, (R) U.S. Senate Candidate. "As a member of the military I've work the uniform for over 20-years. And, I've worn that uniform to protect the very freedoms and liberties that make it possible for the private sector to grow here in the United States."

If no candidate gets 35% of the vote in the June 3rd primary, a party convention will decide the nomination.

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