Government

Pence says Iowa could decide control of Congress

Vice president campaigns for Republican House member in tight race

Vice President Mike Pence at the Pentagon on Aug. 9, 2018. CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Andrew Harrer.
Vice President Mike Pence at the Pentagon on Aug. 9, 2018. CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Andrew Harrer.

DES MOINES — The road to control of Congress very well may travel through Iowa, Vice President Mike Pence said here Friday.

Pence returned to Iowa to campaign on behalf of U.S. Rep. David Young, who faces a competitive race with Democrat Cindy Axne in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.

Pence also visited central Iowa in August to boost Young’s prospects.

Speaking Friday in a hotel conference room to roughly 200 people, Pence credited Young for supporting policies implemented by Republicans since they took control of the White House and Congress after the 2016 election.

“(Young) been there standing with the president every step of the way,” Pence said, citing Young’s support of such Donald Trump initiatives as the federal tax cuts, striking federal regulation of certain waters on agricultural land, year-round access to E15 ethanol and increased military spending, among others.

Pence made multiple references to the close race between Young and Axne, and the role it could play in determining whether Democrats win a majority in the U.S. in the Nov. 6 election.

“This is what we call a competitive district,” Pence said during 24 minutes of remarks. “The fate of the Republican majority in the Congress might go through Iowa.”

Pence also frequently mentioned Iowa’s Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, who is in a close race with Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell.

Young, in his remarks, also listed conservative policies he supports and warned about what may happen if Democrats take control of the U.S. House.

“We delivered with this administration,” Young told the crowd. “But (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi and her handpicked candidates, they want to take us back to higher taxes and a slower economy. And they aren’t hiding the fact that they want to repeal our new tax law, which will raise our taxes. And we can’t have that.

“We can vote to reject (Pelosi) and her liberal policies and her handpicked candidates’ agendas.”

Young mentioned Pelosi seven times during his remarks but did not mention Axne by name.

In response, Iowa Democrats criticized the GOP-led federal tax cuts, citing estimated the federal budget deficit will approach $1 trillion in 2019.

Democrats also criticized federal GOP leadership’s stated desire to change Social Security and Medicare to balance the federal budget.

“Time and again we have seen the Republicans’ inability to lead,” Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price said in a statement. “Whether it’s the lack of protection for those who need health care, whether it’s tax cuts to benefit the wealthy or budget mismanagement on all levels, these elected officials have shown that they cannot be trusted to lead.”

Pence spoke to the challenges a party historically faces in the first midterm election after assuming power.

But he pledged with voters’ support that Trump and Republicans will buck those historical trends.

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“I think we all know what President Donald Trump thinks of conventional wisdom,” Pence said. “We made history in 2016, and we’re going to make history again in 2018.”

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

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