Intro: Welcome to my live blog of the first 2018 Iowa Gubernatorial debate between Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and her Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell. This debate hosted by KCCI and The Des Moines Register and is being held at the Des Moines Area Community College main campus in Ankeny, Iowa. This is the first of three debates.

As with all of my live blogs, the most recent updates will be at the top (below this paragraph). Be sure to refresh for updates. The debate starts at 7:00p, but I will be writing before that.

Watch:

Here’s my synopsis of how I thought the debate went:

  1. Governor Kim Reynolds had a good debate. I was not sure how she was going to respond to Fred Hubbell’s attacks on Medicaid privatization which, according to polling, is a vulnerability. Not only did she handle it well, but was able to lay out specific actions she has taken to address the problem.
  2. If your mind was made up this debate probably won’t change your mind, but I think Reynolds probably helped herself among those who were concerned about voting for her because of Medicaid.
  3. Reynolds did not waiver on the life issue which should help solidify her base, painted Hubbell as extreme, and Hubbell pretty much ran away from the subject.
  4. One of the things that struck me about the debate was how many questions Hubbell avoided answering. Even simple questions like, “is the budget in good shape or not?” (A discussion about the budget surplus). Reynolds appeared confident and prepared, Hubbell not so much.
  5. I liked the format. Steve and Kathie did a good job moderating the debate. My only complaint (and it had nothing to do with Steve or Kathie) was that Jake Porter should have been included. Iowans should have been able to hear from him.

8:00p – The debate is over. I doubt either candidate will have changed the mind of those who already support them. That said, I think Reynolds energized her base with her pro-life statements. She did a great job addressing Medicaid privitization and was able to respond to Hubbell’s attacks on that issue. She provided more substantive answers than Hubbell did. It was a good debate for her. I’m signing off. Thanks for reading.

7:58p – Hubbell discusses being hijacked, they were held hostage for 13 days.

7:57p – Reynolds says we can’t afford to go backwards. “Iowa is working and we are just getting started.”

7:56p – Sorry, lighting round was hard to live blog. They are on closing statement.

7:55p – Reynolds does not support legalizing recreational marijuana or restricting fireworks. 

7:54p – Reynolds says she will not budge on life. Hubbell says strong fiscal management.

7:53p – Hubbell avoids answering the question about who in his party he most disagrees with. 

7:52p – Reynolds says she is not afraid to criticize President Trump, legisiative Republicans. 

7:51p – Hubbell says loaded guns should be locked up. How is that going to be enforced?

7:50p – Reynolds says she is a big 2nd Amendment supporter. Says we should look at mental health. Yes, we do, but that shouldn’t be up to county sheriffs.  

7:48p – Hubbell says he wants to focus on gun safety, not gun control… then he wants to go back to county sheriffs going back to subjectively deny carry permits. Guess what? 

7:47p – Hubbell says “I’m a big supporter of public safety.” He says Reynolds has cut public safety the past two years.  What????? 

7:45p – Reynolds – Iowa is heading in the right direction and Hubbell wants to take us back. 

7:43p – Reynolds says Hubbell’s answer to every problem is “money, money, money, we’ll put more money to it, but you don’t say how you’ll pay for it.” We have to live within our means she says. Republicans break the no applause rule. 

7:42p – We are getting some good back and forth. 

7:41p – Hubbell talks about the 2013 budget surplus and then budget revenue projections being off… REC need reform, I don’t believe Hubbell will do that. 

7:40p – Reynolds brings up $900 million deficit they faced when coming into office. Discussed Culver’s I-Jobs problem. It was a nightmare.

7:39p – Hubbell avoids another question… He won’t clearly say if the budget is not in good shape or not.

7:38p – Hubbell basically says don’t believe your lying eyes about the budget surplus numbers. Good grief. 

7:36p – Reynolds says that in order to address sexual harassment in government that the culture needs to be changed. She discusses how she also has brought women into leadership positions. I don’t see how Hubbell can beat Reynolds on this issue. Hubbell says he would start a whistle blower program. 

7:36p – Fred Hubbell says the only special interest group he will work for is Iowans…. Riiiiiiiight…. 

7:35p – Rude Democrats violate debate rules and applaud. 

7:33p – Reynolds dings Hubbell for not releasing tax statements. She also states additional money for managed care providers to address some of the problems he discussed. 

7:33p – Candidates can ask each other questions. 

7:30p – Taking a commercial break. 

7:28p – Reynolds upholds pro-life pledge. “I am pro-life, I am proud to be pro-life.” She says she will continue to work to uphold life, and points out Hubbell’s extreme record on abortion. Yes! Finally! Glad she did not backtrack. 

7:27p – Hubbell was asked if he would work to eliminate abortion restrictions (late-term abortions) he avoids the question. Goes back to talking about “quality health care.” Guess what? Abortion is not health care.

7:25p – Reynolds points out that there are groups that support Hubbell who do not support ethanol. 

7:25p – Just an FYI, Reynolds can’t control what President Trump does and she has been a critic of his handling of RFS and ethanol. 

7:24p – Hubbell has no secret plan to end ethanol. President Trump’s comment last night was stupid. Ethanol is a bipartisan issue in Iowa.

7:22p – Reynolds calls Hubbell on complaining out problems, but not coming up solutions… She’s not wrong. He was asked how he would pay for it, no answer.

7:21p – Reynolds says this is a complex program and she has made changes. Hubbell seems to think the changes will automatically improve.

7:20p – Reynolds points out that the old system is not sustainable and that is why 39 states have switched to managed care. She lists several things she has done to address this. She is handling this question pretty well. 

7:19p – Hubbell says he will return Medicaid back to state management. He was asked how he would do that. He talks about the problem, but does not answer the question. 

7:18p – Reynolds said 39 states have managed care, but when she took over she made some changes like new leadership, actuaries, etc. 

7:17p – Now they are debating over a Hubbell ad related to Medicaid privatization. 

7:16p – They are debating over an attack ad by Reynolds’ saying Hubbell cares about his paycheck, not Iowans.

7:14p – Hubbell says he would cut from other areas (having a hard time hearing) to fund Regents. 

7:13p – Hubbell says the budget reflects priorities. Complains about education funding (it’s 55 percent of the general fund).

7:12p – Reynolds asked about Regents funding, she points out how Culver administration had cut K=12 education and Regents. Says she will continue to fund priorities. 

7:11p – Hubbell says he is afraid that there will be a need for massive budget cuts because of tariffs. 

7:10p – Reynolds says tax brakes were done in a fiscally responsible manner.

7:08p – Reynolds says in FY19 she wants to look at tax credits and corporate income tax. 

7:07p – Hubbell says he is in favor of tax breaks for middle class and lower class Iowans. He is on the record saying he would peel back tax cuts however. 

7:07p – Reynolds responds to Hubbell by pointing out economy is growing, etc. 

7:06p – Hubbell beats the Medicaid privatization drum again.

7:05p – Reynolds asked the biggest problem in Iowa, she says she wants to focus on workforce training so people are trained for the jobs available. 

7:04p – Reynolds give bio and elevator speech, stays positive.

7:03p – Fred Hubbell takes a shot at Reynolds re. Medicaid privatization in his opening statement.  

7:02p – Candidates will get :60 for opening and closing statements. 

7:01p – Steve Carver from KCCI and Kathie Obradovich from The Des Moines Register are moderating the debate.

7:00p – Intro is playing on KCCI, the debate is about to begin.

6:56p – The candidates are on stage for a final mic check.

6:53p – Introducing debate, giving audience rules. Be Iowa nice, applause only at the beginning and the end.

6:44p – My seat for tonight’s debate. They didn’t exactly have guys of my, ahem, width in mind when they designed this auditorium.

6:40p – I had the opportunity to speak with Lt. Governor Adam Gregg about what he expect from tonight’s debate.

6:39p – Libertarian nominee Jake Porter was protesting his exclusion from tonight’s debate.

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