The first statewide debate for the six Democratic gubernatorial candidates was broadcast on Wednesday, May 16, on Iowa Public Television from Johnston, Iowa. The candidates began to separate themselves on the issues.
Until now, we've watched the candidates tout a lifetime of accomplishments in politics, business, and elsewhere to try and show they are the most qualified Democrat to face Kim Reynolds in November. During the debate, some candidates turned on others to highlight those differences.
The topic was tax credits, and offering alternatives to the tax reform plan passed this session. It yielded criticism of the current administration. But candidate Nate Boulton inferred some of his fellow Democrats, quote "had their hand in the cookie jar."
"We've got people here that have been willing to give away some of those things... as much as $250,000 per job in some projects," said Senator Nate Boulton, (D) Candidate for Iowa Governor.
When pressed, Boulton pointed the finger at Fred Hubbell. "Mr. Hubbell was here. He was Director off Economic Development tried to entice a company from out of state to invest in a project I think we need someone who has not shown to engage in this coupon economics system, which is failing out state right now," said Senator Boulton.
In his opening remarks, Hubbell touted his work in the Culver administration to help clean up the film tax credit scandal. "Governor Culver asked me to go in there and fix the film tax credit scandal, and we did. We saved Iowans millions of dollars," said Fred Hubbell, (D) Candidate for Iowa Governor.
Still, John Norris joined Boulton in criticizing Hubbell. "For four months, Fred was the head of the Economic Development Department. He gave $29-million in tax credits over those four months. I think that's what Nate referring to. When Fred took it over, the film tax credit had already been shut down, so he stepped in and helped clean it up. No doubt he helped clean it up, and, I have to give you credit for that, absolutely," said John Norris, (D) Candidate for Iowa Governor.
Hubbell hit back. "What about the Mr. Hubbell?" asked David Yepsen. "Well, neither of these guys were there at the time, he (Norris) wasn't even in the state. He was living out state. And he was, I don't know what he was doing, but he wasn't anywhere close to the legislature," said Fred Hubbell, (D) Candidate for Iowa Governor.
It was Cathy Glasson, who stepped in to scold Boulton, Hubbell, and Norris for taking the debate off topic. "Nobody here is answering the question. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and bring in tax revenue and create good jobs. You can bicker all you want, but Iowans need a raise," said Cathy Glasson, (D) Candidate for Iowa Governor.
They are six candidates with one goal: win on June 5th.
The candidates agree on more than issues than they disagree, from repealing the privatization of Medicaid, to repealing the fetal heartbeat bill.
The third, and final, debate for these candidates will be in Des Moines, broadcast by KCCI-TV, and co-sponsored by the Des Moines Register. It is set for Wednesday, May 30th. That's just six days before the primary election.