Government

Earlier start boosts Chris Peters' confidence in 2nd District race

Second Congressional District candidate Dr. Chris Peters gives an on-camera interview during an election watch party at The Airliner in Iowa City, Iowa, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (File/The Gazette)
Second Congressional District candidate Dr. Chris Peters gives an on-camera interview during an election watch party at The Airliner in Iowa City, Iowa, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (File/The Gazette)
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DES MOINES — Chris Peters says a much earlier start and what he feels are strong solutions to Iowans’ top issues have him feeling more emboldened in his second campaign for Congress.

Peters, a Coralville physician and the Republican candidate in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, spoke Friday on the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

Peters is running for a second time against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack.

Also in the race is Libertarian Mark David Strauss. Loebsack and Strauss spoke previously at the State Fair.

Peters’ 2016 campaign started late — in March of 2016 — after another Republican candidate dropped out of the race. He said Friday he felt good about earning 46 percent of the vote despite that late start.

Peters said the earlier start this second time around has meant better staff organization and more voter contact.

“Ground game is critical, especially in a state like Iowa. We expect to vet presidential candidates every four years; they want to see a Congressional candidate in their town, spending as much time as possible,” Peters told reporters after speaking on the Soapbox. “Bigger team, a lot more effort, starting earlier, building on name ID from the previous cycle. ... But I think that direct voter contact is really important.”

Peters said the top issues he hears from prospective voters are health care costs, workforce and immigration.

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Peters said Republicans in Congress have not gone far enough in repealing the Affordable Care Act and Democrats have gone too far by proposing a Medicare-for-all solution.

Peters said he wants to move the U.S. health care system to a more pure form of health care insurance instead of health care plans.

“If we moved more back to an insurance model where people had health insurance for when they get a heart attack, cancer diagnosis, etc., that’s what it’s for,” Peters said. “And encourage savings for health care.”

Peters said on immigration he supports protections for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children and more funding for border security as long as it is cost-effective. He said he also would be open to expansions of legal immigration and legal migrant workers.

Peters said he has spoken with farmers and business owners, who are concerned with the impact an escalating trade war is having on them and Iowa’s agricultural economy. When asked if he would support legislation that would rein in the president’s authority to level tariffs, Peters said Congress already has abdicated too much responsibility to the executive branch.

“The broader issue is that the legislative branch has really kind of let a whole lot of its authority go to not just the executive branch but also the fourth branch of government, our various agencies,” Peters said. “Congress is not legislating. It’s mostly posturing, get on the national TV shows and that seems about it.”

l Comments: (515) 422-9061; erin.murphy@lee.net

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