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First Iowa Gubernatorial Debate Reaction
DES MOINES, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – While people enjoyed everything the Iowa State Fair had to offer outside in Thursday’s humidity, an air-conditioned cattle barn hosted the first of three Gubernatorial Debates between Governor Terry Branstad and his Democratic Challenger Jack Hatch.
The debate was open to all topics, covering everything from the gas tax to internet access.
Thursday was the first time Iowa saw Branstad and Hatch tackle issues side by side. What people walked away with was two very different styles.
While people outside were seeing something new folks attending the Gubernatorial Debate were surprised with a new initiative announced by the governor.
“As you know this year, we tried to pass a broadband bill that connects every Iowan. I want to expand that to be Connect Every Acre, because it is so important to agriculture, and right now we have a gulf between what happens in our cities. They have high speed internet, many of the rural areas don’t,” said Governor Terry Brandstad.
“Mapping every acre in an agricultural state like Iowa makes perfect sense to keep up with the technology of the new manufacturers,” said John Strathman, who says he supports the Governor.
Others aren’t so sure.
“I mean right now he's at the promise stage, and he's promising anything to get a vote,” said Carla Beckingham, who says she supports Senator Hatch.
Carla was concerned with the fact that Governor Branstad is running for yet another term, something he was asked about in the debate. He responded by telling the audience, “I have only just begun,” when asked if he would be able to serve for an entire term if re-elected.
“He was ready for that, he was jumping up,” said Mike Daleney. “He was almost doing jumping jacks.”
But that same response made Carla think twice.
“He's very excitable, he's very emotional, he's very much a leader but is that the right leader for us anymore?” asked Carla.
The most animated Senator Hatch got was over funding that helped eastern Iowa after the 2008 floods. Governor Branstad said that program hurt Iowa by putting it in a financial hole.
“So for the Governor to just dismiss the $1.4 Billion that was destroyed by that flood in 2008, what kind of aid are you going to give the people of Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Oakville, Mason City, Waterloo, that were decimated by this?” asked Hatch.
Aside from that defense of the corridor, people in the audience, on both sides of the aisle, say Hatch was solid, but not memorable in what he said or how he said it.
“I hate to sound biased but I think I heard a lot of the standard Democrat strategy for how you campaign,” said Strathman. “Trying to be open minded but I didn't hear anything from senator hatch that excited me.”
The next debate is in Burlington on September 20th.