Jim_GibbonsI had the opportunity to sit down yesterday at Smokey Row with Jim Gibbons who is one of the gazillion (okay, seven) Republicans running to knock off Congressman Leonard Boswell in Iowa’s Third Congressional District.  Jim when he wrestled for Iowa State University (I’ll forgive the fact that he didn’t wrestle for my beloved Hawkeyes) where he was a 3-time All-American and  NCCA Champion (in 1981).  He went on to become the head wrestling coach at Iowa State when he led the Cyclones to the 1987 National Championship.  Since leaving the coaching position at Iowa State, Jim has worked in the financial services industry for the last 20 years.  He was recently until jumping into this race a Vice President at Wells Fargo.

Jim Gibbons lead all congressional candidates in Iowa (including incumbents) in fundraising last quarter so he has a good war chest.  He also has captured the attention of the National Republican Congressional Committee.  He has former Speaker Dennis Hastert coming to Des Moines for a fundraiser in March.

I could have spent all morning, as a former wrestler, talking about wrestling, but alas, this isn’t a sports blog.  We discussed why he decided to run, what sets him apart from the other six Republicans running, the Stimulus package and current jobs bills, marriage amendment – both federal and here in Iowa (listen to what he thinks of our current options), his pro-life position, death penalty, immigration reform, the upcoming powwow that President Obama wants to have with Congressional Republican leadership on health care reform, his thoughts on health care reform, death panels, the Tea Party movement, the War on Terror, Iran, Iraq, No Child Left Behind, and the Patriot Act.

I forgot to ask him about earmarks so I’ll send his campaign manager an email and update later when I get an answer.  He had a 30 minutes to chat and I came away seeing a candidate who is focused, competitive, has a good grasp on federal and state issues, and who is energetic.  He is definitely, in my book, in the top tier of Republican candidates and I believe he has an excellent shot at defeating Boswell.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

  1. Shane, you let this guy off with “my burners are on” when asked what the differences are between he and the other candidates???? In addition…where does Gibbons come up with his wacko figures…80% of Iranians are under 30? I guess 25% percent off is close enough for a financial consultant that worked for 4 different firms since coaching (oops..no questions about that).

    The least we would of expected in an interview is a question about why he Gibbons apparantly doesn’t live in the district, or one why his first proposal was for spending $625 billion dollars, or why he is aligning himself with the earmark kind Denny Hastert.

    1. @anthony, Anthony, this wasn’t a gotcha. The tone of my interview was the same that I did with Dave Funk.

      No prior to I started recording we talked about his record, working for four firms in 17 years… the problem with that is what?

      Iraq figure seemed high, but it isn’t like I had the stat in front of me.
      I don’t know where he lives exactly – give me an address and I’ll look into it.

      Anyway, I haven’t endorsed anybody. I wanted to know where he stood on certain topics, and I only had 30 minutes.

    2. @anthony, I looked into the youth population, I’ve seen figures of their population under 30 being anywhere from 60-75% which tells me nobody has that nailed down.

      I think we can agree it is unusually high.

      He did live in Perry until a few months ago. I think that had more to do with his position with Wells Fargo than anything else… you are getting into the area of motives and I don’t go there. I’m concerned more about issues.

      Exactly what proposal are you talking about? And with Denny Hastert, he’s the former Speaker of the House. I guess I’m not going to judge him by who comes and fundraises with him. It isn’t like Hastert is some fringe figure. Know it’s being held at Ganske’s house, I know Dave Funk was close to him, he’s moderate.

      What does that mean? Nothing.

      You must think I have all sorts of time to do opposition research on everybody I interview. I don’t. I actually got this scheduled the afternoon before I interviewed him. I have a full-time job. It doesn’t give me much time to prepare, so I’ll stick with issues and let listeners decide.

  2. Shane…understandable you do this on a part time basis, so maybe you can get those additional questions answered next time from Gibbons…as well as:

    1. why does he list his hometown as DSM, when in the Belle Plaine paper this week he says it is Ames?

    2. Why does he list his employment as Wells Fargo for 20 years on his sites, yet other records show one.

    3. Why does he list working in DSM in the financial services industry when other records show he worked for ED Jones in Perry for almost half of that?

    4. Why does over 1/4 of his available primary contributions come from one identified contributor and his associates with a big government needing interest group?

    5. Why do 2/3 of his contributions come from OUTSIDE the 3rd district…who’s intrest does he want to represent?

    Shane, issues ARE important, and so is misrepresentation…and we all want to get to the bottom of it.

    Frankly, I am glad you are getting these interviews, and I look forward to all of the candidates responses.

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