Government

Rod Blum, Abby Finkenauer to debate tonight

Congressional race has played out mostly in ads so far

U.S. Rep Rod Blum and state Rep. Abby Finkenauer
U.S. Rep Rod Blum and state Rep. Abby Finkenauer

A campaign that is playing out mostly through ads will be in the spotlight Friday when U.S. Rep. Rod Blum and state Rep. Abby Finkenauer meet in a televised debate.

Republican Blum and Democrat Finkenauer will face off at 7 p.m. in front of a live audience at Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. No tickets remains for the event, according to KWWL-TV, which is sponsoring the debate with UNI.

The debate will be televised live on KWWL, simulcast on C-SPAN and livestreamed on KWWL.com.

Blum and Finkenauer, who both have served two terms in their respective chambers and both hail from Dubuque, are likely to face questions about the economy, trade policies, health care and allegations that they’ve committed ethics violations. The hourlong debate will be moderated by KWWL news anchors Ron Steele and Abby Turpin.

For Finkenauer, the debate will be an opportunity to introduce herself to voters tuning in 29 days before the election — “people who haven’t been paying attention to the race up until this point,” her spokeswoman, Kate Waters, said.

Finkenauer likely will focus on the same issues she’s been highlighting in ads, Waters said.

“She’ll speak to health care, in particular, she’ll speak to these tariffs and how tariffs have been affecting folks, and, generally, how people want someone in Washington who is going to represent them on the things that are keeping them up at night,” Waters said.

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Finkenauer has said she had no intention of running for the U.S. House until she saw how Republican control of Congress, the White House, the Iowa Legislature and governor’s office was treating her friends and neighbors.

“It’s personal for me,” Finkenauer said. “What I’m hearing and why we’re having the crowds we’re having is because it’s personal for everybody else, too.”

“It’s personal” is just a campaign slogan, according to Blum, “because she can’t say it’s about what her experience in life has taught her.”

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Blum said. “It’s personal with most people. It’s personal with me, too, because I started with nothing. I raised a family. I started businesses. I met million-dollar-a-month payrolls. I stayed awake at night not knowing how we were going to pay the bills. Yeah, that’s personal as well.”

A second debate is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids. That debate will be carried live on KGAN and repeated at 10 p.m. on KFXA-TV/Fox 28. The moderators will be KGAN/KFXA political reporter Nick Weig and Jeff Stein, KXEL news and program director.

That debate also will stream online at cbs2iowa.com and facebook.com/kgancbs2. KXEL AM 1540 will carry it live on air and online at KXEL.com.

How to watch

Watch live at 7 p.m. Friday on:

• KWWL-TV (Channel 7 and 807 on ImOn and Mediacom in Cedar Rapids)

• C-SPAN (Channel 13 on ImOn and 97 on Mediacom)

KWWL.com

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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