Some Republicans from Iowa’s Third Congressional District have reached out to The Iowa Standard expressing frustration with the lack of debate in the GOP primary between former Congressman David Young and Bill Schafer.
Both men are running to take on Congresswoman Cindy Axne in November.
Schafer has filled the “underdog” role admirably. A frequent guest at conservative grassroots events, he has played the game well considering the hand he has been dealt.
Young, as the district’s former Congressman, has a seemingly unbeatable apparatus.
For what it is worth, The Iowa Standard’s position is (and always will be) debates make everyone better. Debates make voters more informed, candidates more confident in their beliefs and increase transparency in the electoral process.
However, if you are the “favorite” in a race, debates also make little sense. Sharing the stage with someone automatically gives them credibility and creates the idea that both candidates are on equal footing.
Debates are not always in the best interest of a candidate.
But elections should not be about the candidates, they should be about the voters.
And debates can go a long way in helping voters make informed, educated decisions on Election Day.
Regardless of Schafer’s positions on the issues, it is difficult not to admire his service to our country and the hard work he has put in on his campaign.
“I am very proud of our true grassroots campaign,” Schafer told The Iowa Standard. “We have built a coalition of volunteers in all 16 counties and ‘We The People’ of Iowa District 3 have momentum on our side. My primary challenger for the Republican nomination is depending on the political machine to avoid allowing the people of Iowa District 3 to select their candidate.”
Schafer has called for a debate with Young.
“I am prepared to debate my Republican opponent,” he said. “I believe that the people of our district deserve the opportunity to assess each candidate.”
Andy Swanson, Young’s campaign manager, said the GOP is unified behind the former Third District Representative.
“David Young has successfully unified the Republican Party behind his candidacy thanks to his leadership and record of delivering for Iowa,” Swanson said. “It is not only the backing of Senators Grassley and Ernst, Gov. Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, former Iowa U.S. Senate candidates and Trump Administration officials Matt Whitaker and Sam Clovis, and 35 current and former members of the Iowa legislature.
“They join thousands of local activists, community leaders, elected officials and small dollar donors all across the Third District who support David’s candidacy.”
A debate with Schafer isn’t in the cards.
“(Young) is focused on taking the fight to Cindy Axne and her failed record, and looks forward to bringing true Iowa representation back to Congress,” Swanson said.
On Tuesday, The Iowa Standard published a poll asking if its readers believe every congressional district primary should have a debate.
As of this writing (Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.), 132 readers voted in favor of debates. Twenty-two voted against debates.
Schafer has built a conservative base of support on social media, but how that translates to a congressional election remains to be seen. He has also had a hard time getting equal treatment and exposure from mainstream media.