Republican congressional candidate Bret Richards said today that the decision by U.S. Rep. Steve King and state Sen. Randy Feenstra to refuse to debate on Iowa Public Broadcasting Service before the June 2 primary election “does a real disservice to the voters of Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District.”
All five candidates seeking the Republican nomination were invited to the May 14 televised debate but only three ultimately confirmed their attendance. The debate, which would have been the only televised match-up between the candidates, was then canceled. King and Feenstra had previously pledged to participate in a series of debates. But Richards, who is running as a political outsider, said it’s not the first time he’s seen DC or Des Moines politicians “say one thing and do another.”
In a recent online poll, 85 percent of those surveyed (157 total) agreed that candidates should debate in the Republican congressional primary elections in Iowa.
“Iowans I speak to want a better sense of who’s on the ballot this year. We certainly owe them that much. But I can understand why Senator Feenstra would rather hide his record of flip-flopping on sports gambling and countless other conservative causes behind Big Money TV ads, especially considering his poor performance in the last debate. Conservative Iowans aren’t persuaded by his Jeb Bush-style campaign. And although Senator Feenstra is willing to sell his convictions for the next PAC check, I’m confident Iowans won’t let his Never Trump, out-of-state donors buy this election.”
“I’m sure these holdouts believe that it’s smart politics to play it safe and try to run out the clock, but it’s not right to the voters. This is the sort of political calculation Iowans have come to expect from swampy DC politicians. The voters deserve better than that, especially when the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented them from seeing the candidates in person these past few months. With 25 days to go until Primary Day, I remain firm in my commitment that I’m willing to debate my opponents anytime and anywhere and stand strong for my values and beliefs. I have no reason not to debate. Only phony conservatives with a flimsy record have a reason to run and hide.”
Richards served in the U.S. Army before returning to his hometown of Irwin to run a family business, which included a chain of convenience stores. A Creighton University professor, he also serves as board chair of the Manning Regional Healthcare Center.