Government

Gubernatorial campaigns confident heading into final stretch

Ben Roberts/Freelance

Gov. Kim Reynolds greets supporters upon arriving Sunday at the Republican Party campaign office in Hiawatha. Earlier in the day Reynolds and her Democratic challenger, Fred Hubbell, debated in Davenport.
Ben Roberts/Freelance Gov. Kim Reynolds greets supporters upon arriving Sunday at the Republican Party campaign office in Hiawatha. Earlier in the day Reynolds and her Democratic challenger, Fred Hubbell, debated in Davenport.
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Confidence was high on the gubernatorial campaign trail Sunday in the wake of the third and final debate between Gov. Kim Reynolds and Fred Hubbell.

“I think it’s still going to be a tight race,” Hubbell’s running mate, Sen. Rita Hart, D-Wheatland, said a few hours after the 8 a.m. debate in Davenport.

“I feel like we have a lot of enthusiastic people. We’re not taking anything for granted. There’s a positive energy here, and we hope to keep that going right until the end,” she said at a Mount Vernon house party where a couple of dozen Democrats were preparing to go door-knocking.

Reynolds also is feeling good as the campaign heads into the final 16 days.

“I’m going to run like I’m 10 down, but I love the energy and momentum I see across the state,” she told about 50 supporters, who chanted “Keep Iowa Moving” as she entered the GOP campaign office in Hiawatha. “Republicans are fired up.”

Hart and Reynolds agreed that the contrast in the debate could not have been clearer.

“We talked about the positive things we see taking place and the belief that we can build on that momentum,” Reynolds said.

In contrast, the first thing Hubbell wants to do is raise taxes, the governor said, quoting the Democratic nominee saying he wants to repeal tax cuts the GOP-controlled Legislature passed earlier this year.

“His answer to everything you hear is government, government, government, money, money, money,” Reynolds said. “That is your money.”

But Hart said Hubbell is talking about those things that are important to Iowans.

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“He talked about the importance of turning around the privatization of Medicaid, investing in mental health, investing in our communities and raising people’s incomes,” she said. “Those are the messages that have been consistent throughout the campaign.”

The state’s handling Medicaid, she said, will be a “huge part of the election because it is an issue everywhere we go. People not only are talking about it, but they are recognizing that it could have been avoided. Republicans did not listen to the people on the ground who forecast these very problems.”

For Reynolds, health care — including making sure Medicaid is sustainable and expanding access to mental health for adults and children — and workforce issues are “front and center” in her campaign.

“Probably workforce and health care are the two main issues we’ll be focused on moving forward because they are so interrelated,” Reynolds said.

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

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