Government

Hubbell says self-funding leaves him free of special interests

Democrat has donated $2.1 million to his gubernatorial campaign

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Fred Hubbell talks to Kirkwood Community College staff during a March tour of The Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids. Hubbell said on Tuesday he’s heavily self-funding his campaign so he will not be beholden to special interests when elected governor. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Fred Hubbell talks to Kirkwood Community College staff during a March tour of The Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids. Hubbell said on Tuesday he’s heavily self-funding his campaign so he will not be beholden to special interests when elected governor. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

WAUKEE — Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Fred Hubbell said Tuesday he’s heavily self-funding his campaign so he will not be beholden to special interests when he takes office in January 2019 and can instead focus on the needs of Iowans.

“I don’t have any special interests other than you folks,” Hubbell told a gathering of supporters at a stop on his statewide bus tour on the day after campaign finance filings indicated Hubbell had donated $2.1 million of the roughly $3 million in contributions to his campaign in the past five months.

“I’m going to be the biggest contributor to our campaign,” said the retired Des Moines businessman, who is making his first bid for statewide public office. “I’m not going to take money from those kinds of (special-interest) organizations. I just care about doing what’s right for Iowa.”

After the event, Hubbell said he would abide by a political tradition in Iowa to release his income-tax information and other pertinent financial disclosures if other Democrats and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, the presumptive Republican nominee, do as well.

“I don’t have anything to hide,” he said.

Recent public opinion polls show Hubbell at the front of a six-person field in a Democratic primary to be decided June 5. But the candidate was taking nothing for granted Tuesday, telling backers that it was critical for them to turn out in numbers adequate to top the 35 percent threshold required to win his party’s gubernatorial nomination and pit him against Reynolds in the November general election.

“The key is we’ve got to win June 5. We don’t want to go to convention,” which is the process should none of the six Democrats garner at least 35 percent of the ballots cast next month, Hubbell said.

He said Democrats’ best chance for defeating Reynolds is to have a clear primary winner. The nominee could take the fight to Reynolds from day one rather than giving her three more weeks to “hammer” against the party while Democrats divide themselves at a nominating convention, he said.

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“I know we have a great chance to win this general election if we come out strong as a party,” he told about two dozen people who attended a lunch-hour event.

Hubbell focused much of his attention on answering questions posed by the group and criticizing what he called Reynolds’ “fiscal mismanagement” of the state budget and the “misguided priorities” of the Republican-run Iowa Legislature, which he said “has systematically undermined progressive values and quality of life that makes Iowa a special place.”

He was critical of GOP actions the past two years to “gut” collective bargaining rights of public employees and teachers, underfund schools and mental health programs, defund Planned Parenthood clinics, take away reproductive rights for women, and convert Iowa’s Medicaid program to private management, which has failed.

Hubbell said he would stop wasteful corporate tax credits and “giveaways” and use the proceeds to invest in education, health care and infrastructure and will grow good-paying jobs and Iowans’ income levels as promised by the Branstad-Reynolds ticket in 2010 but never delivered.

“My approach is going to be to try to work with everybody,” he said. “I don’t want to be the governor just for Democrats. I want to be the governor for Iowans, and I think that’s we need and that’s what we don’t have today.

“I’m not looking for credit. I’m looking for results.”

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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