Iowa 1st Congressional District Race: Pat Murphy (L) vs. Rod Blum
Iowa 1st Congressional District Race: Pat Murphy (L) vs. Rod Blum
Iowa 1st Congressional District Race: Pat Murphy (L) vs. Rod Blum

(Cedar Rapids, IA) You have a wide contrast between the candidates running for the open seat vacated by Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. ┬áMore than a contrast really, it’s more like a wide ideological chasm. ┬áIn the first debate between State Representative Pat Murphy (D-Dubuque) and Dubque businessman Rod Blum (R) we saw a classic statism vs. constituionalism comparison.

Some observations from tonight’s debate:

  • Murphy’s answer to “what was your greatest accomplishment in the Iowa House?” is telling. ┬áHis answer 1. raising the state minimum wage, 2. adding LGBT as a protected class in Iowa’s Civil Rights code, and 3. Voting against giving Iowans a right to vote on the definition of marriage. ┬áThis stood in stark contrast with Blum’s greatest accomplishment being a job creator.
  • Murphy – raise minimum wage at the Federal level… Blum – let state’s decide this for themselves. ┬áBlum used an example of North Dakota. ┬áHe said that McDonald’s offers a starting wage of $15.00/hour and Wal-Mart starts at $18.00/hour because North Dakota’s economy is booming. ┬áHis message you want to help lift people out of poverty, improve the economy.
  • Murphy said that you would help take people off of entitlements by raising minimum wage. ┬áBlum said more people would go on entitlements as a result of jobs lost.
  • Obamacare – Murphy: tweak the website and the way states are reimbursed, etc. ┬áBlum acknowledged that Obamacare won’t be repealed while President Obama is in office so he work to make it “better” by removing some of the more harmful aspects of it.
  • Social security: Quote to remember from Murphy: “I will not reform Social Security.” ┬áHis answer was to try to have more people pay into it. ┬áBlum offered several items he’d be willing to discuss including raising the age if need be.
  • Ebola: Blum wanted to restrict travel and keep treatment confined to West Africa. ┬áMurphy said he was concerned by the 10% cut that the CDC faced in their budget. ┬áHe made a statement that literally made my jaw drop – “Less government may actually be a detriment when it comes to public health.”
  • Immigration: Murphy – let the children come forth and be refugees… Blum – secure the border and then fix the broken system.
  • Climate change: Murphy believes that it is a man-made problem that needs government intervention. ┬áBlum believes the verdict is out on the cause of Climate Change, and what will happen in the long-term. ┬áHe said we need to try to be environmentally friendly, but not at the expense of jobs.
  • Social issues (unless it was during a spot where the live stream was buffering on me) was not discussed. ┬áThe only exception would be Murphy’s stated accomplishment in the Iowa Legislature.
  • Foreign policy – both men would likely be reluctant to support boots on the ground in Iraq. ┬áBlum stated that President Obama’s foreign policy has caused our allies not to respect us and our enemies to no longer fear us.

There was a lot of red meat for liberals and conservatives alike. ┬áNeither men made a gaffe, certainly liberals will go ballistic over Blum’s answer on climate change, but his skepticism is relatively mainstream and it is not a primary issue in the race. ┬áThis race is extremely competitive and I doubt this debate will be a game changer for either men. ┬áBut we certainly had a lot of red meat for conservatives thrown and tofu for liberals.

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