CEDAR RAPIDS — Sen. Chuck Grassley isn’t joining the Republican Party of Iowa’s campaign effort to portray Democrat Fred Hubbell as an out-of-touch rich guy who doesn’t understand or care about regular Iowans.
“I always stick to policy when I’m campaigning, and I would advise other people to stick to policy,” Grassley said Wednesday when asked about the state party referring to Hubbell as “Sir Frederick.”
Ads from the Reynolds campaign are running that say Hubbell closed stores in rural Iowa when he led his family-owned Younkers department store chain. Hubbell has pushed back, saying those decisions were not his, but came before and after he was involved in the day-to-day management of the company.
Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, has charged that Hubbell’s leadership of the company exhibited a dismissive attitude about the impact on employees and communities of store closings, layoffs and wage and benefit cuts.
After rejecting those charges, the Hubbell campaign has responded in a 30-second television ad, “Delivered,” https://youtu.be/ovbgC9FoDPA saying that when Hubbell ran Younkers, he “added hundreds of jobs and invested in thousands of employees.”
Grassley said he’d rather the campaigns compare Reynolds’ policies to Hubbell’s proposals.
Specifically, he said the governor’s success on tax reform, STEM, education, expanding mental health services and workforce development, should be the focus of the campaign.
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“In fact, one of the things the president is coming to Dubuque about is to highlight her work on workforce development,” he said, referring to President Donald Trump’s visit to Iowa on Thursday.
“So if you’ve got to compare Reynolds’ policy with whatever Hubbell is trying to promote, I think that you would find it’s a pretty good comparison,” said Grassley, one of Reynolds’ honorary campaign chairmen.
Iowa GOP spokesman Jesse Dougherty agreed that “Iowans vote for the candidate and their policies,” but charged that Hubbell won’t take a stand on issues, “so we’re defining the candidate in the interim.”
“Sir Frederick Hubbell is all about defining candidate Fred Hubbell – a candidate who is aloof and has no vision for Iowa,” Dougherty said.
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