DES MOINES — Billboards criticizing the business leadership of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell are up this week in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Davenport.
The billboards are the work of the Republican Party of Iowa, whose leadership says Hubbell’s campaign claims regarding his tenure as chairman of Younkers do not match his record.
Hubbell is running for governor against Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Libertarian Jake Porter. The election is Nov. 6.
The billboards went up Monday and will run through Sunday, a Republican Party of Iowa spokesman said. There are three in Davenport, two in Des Moines and one in Cedar Rapids.
Republicans are criticizing Hubbell, who was Younkers chairman from 1985 to 1992, for the closure of stores in rural towns while stores in bigger cities remained open and Hubbell accepted a salary increase.
Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said at a Wednesday news conference that Hubbell touts his Younkers leadership on the campaign trail abut his record does not match the rhetoric.
“Fred Hubbell wants to be the governor of Iowa, and he continues to highlight his business record as a main qualifier,” he said. “So Fred Hubbell is the one who is bringing this up. That’s why we’re launching these billboards across the state. We think it’s important that people understand what Fred Hubbell did.”
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While appearing on a recent episode of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press,” Hubbell attributed the closures to financial strain caused by the 1980s farm crisis.
The Hubbell campaign on Wednesday accused Republicans of cherry-picking stories and quotes to mislead voters on Hubbell’s record.
The campaign also noted more than 2,100 layoffs at state agencies and public universities, and the closures of state-run mental health care facilities and workforce development offices over the past seven years while Reynolds has served as governor and lieutenant governor.
“Gov. Reynolds doesn’t want to talk about her own disastrous record over the past seven years,” Hubbell campaign spokeswoman Remi Yamamoto said in an email.
Libertarian Porter said Republicans are “running to the left of Hubbell on economic policy and sounding hypocritical in their attacks on (Hubbell’s) wealth and business experience.”
“When you manage a business, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your shareholders and often have to make difficult decisions. Being governor is not any different,” Porter said in an email.
“This race needs to focus on the many issues Iowans are facing. We should not waste time on such juvenile attacks while the people of Iowa are suffering from decades of fiscal irresponsibility and a decline in civil liberties.”
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