Branstad, Hatch square off in contentious first debate
DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) -
The first Iowa gubernatorial debate kicked off Thursday at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.
Incumbent Republican Terry Branstad and Democratic challenger Jack Hatch discussed a number of highly contested topics in their first face to face meeting on the campaign trail.
Depending on which poll you look at, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has an eight to 15-point lead.
Hoping to combat those numbers, Iowa State Sen. Jack Hatch, was quick to jab at Branstad's time in office.
Hatch labeled Branstad's administration as scandal-ridden.
But, Branstad was quick to hit back, saying Hatch's accusations were "wild," and that Hatch has never represented the whole state.
The candidates had differing opinions when asked about the single most important problem they would have to deal with if elected governor.
"So, the first thing I'd be looking at and I would be doing, would be raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 am hour," said Iowa State Sen. Jack Hatch.
Gov. Branstad had a different viewpoint.
"We need to change the leadership in Washington," said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. "Agriculture has helped lead the growth in Iowa's economy and now is being dramatically hurt because of what the EPA is doing to us."
The two candidates have different opinions on almost every major topic.
But, they have similar beliefs regarding a crude oil pipeline that could cut across Iowa, hitting 17 counties, some of which are in Northwest Iowa.
"There's environmental degradation that could take place, so we need information, we need transparency and we're not getting it from that oil company and we should be getting it from the department of natural resources and the utility board and the governor's office, and we haven't gotten it yet," said Hatch.
Branstad also believes more information is needed on the project.
"We have some of the most valuable farmland in the world," said Branstad. "There are a lot of tile lines. They tell me they'll go two feet below the tile lines and they will repair all the tile lines. There are a lot of questions that have to be answered."