Iowa candidates for governor face off in first debate

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic candidate Fred Hubbell prepare for their gubernatorial debate, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa. (Rodney White/Des Moines Register via AP, Pool)

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell traded barbs Wednesday over the state budget and privatization of the Medicaid program as they met on a debate stage for the first time.

Posted: Oct 11, 2018 6:20 AM
Updated: Oct 11, 2018 6:23 AM

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell traded barbs Wednesday over the state budget and privatization of the Medicaid program as they met on a debate stage for the first time.

Reynolds aggressively challenged Hubbell, interrupting him and moderators several times to get her points across during the debate held at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny. She also defended her legislative record, saying the economy is growing with more Iowans working at higher wages. That helped close out the budget with a $127 million surplus, Reynolds added.

Hubbell, however, cited recent reports indicating 40 percent of working Iowa residents can't pay for basic food and shelter needs, an indication that the economy isn't improving for everyone.

Another disagreement came with Hubbell's criticism of Reynolds' continuation of a privatized Medicaid program that has resulted in providers not getting paid and complaints that residents are getting inadequate care that's hurting Iowa's most vulnerable citizens.

"All I hear is it's working fine, and we don't need to make any changes," he said.

Reynolds said Hubbell's plan to put the state back in charge won't work.

"We can't go back to the old system, it's not sustainable," she said, indicating that she's made changes to improve the system with new management and actuaries reviewing spending.

In the end, Hubbell argued that Reynolds "promises more of the same, I promise change," while Reynolds countered that Hubbell's ideas would take the state backward.

Reynolds, the Republican incumbent, is working to earn her first full term after ascending from lieutenant governor last year when then-Gov. Terry Branstad left to become U.S. ambassador to China.

Hubbell, a business executive with a law degree who comes from a wealthy Des Moines family, hopes to convince voters that Iowa needs to change direction after its sharp shift two years ago to a conservative-led government.

Reynolds claimed credit for the 2.5 percent unemployment rate, one of the lowest in the country, job training programs and signing a tax cut bill that reduced state revenues by $2.1 billion over six fiscal years.

But Hubbell blamed Reynolds for stripping state workers of collective bargaining rights, defunding Planned Parenthood, underfunding education while approving wasteful tax giveaways, and continuing the privatized Medicaid program.

Reynolds campaigns on her small-town Iowa roots and values. She tells voters that although she was alongside Branstad since 2010, she can manage the office on her own.

"The experienced pilot bailed out and left the plane in the control of the co-pilot and so the question is do people have confidence that the co-pilot has the experience and knowledge necessary to fly the plane? That's the question for her," said Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford.

Hubbell, on the other hand, must present a vision for Iowa that voters see as a better option, Goldford said.

The most recent Iowa Poll conducted last month for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom indicated Hubbell with a slight lead.

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Ramsey14471364
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Anoka9160153
Washington623372
Stearns608248
Scott354934
Olmsted335930
St. Louis314271
Wright265315
Clay246443
Nobles231918
Blue Earth20857
Carver18677
Kandiyohi17835
Sherburne176322
Rice168310
Mower153918
Winona129619
Chisago11142
Crow Wing108322
Benton10099
Lyon10076
Waseca9419
Beltrami9278
Otter Tail9217
Todd8726
Morrison8029
Steele7873
Polk7864
Itasca77117
Nicollet75618
Douglas7344
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Martin61918
McLeod6154
Becker6044
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Mille Lacs43216
Hubbard4233
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Murray2913
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Renville26313
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Kanabec23010
Houston2201
Jackson2191
Swift2122
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Unassigned19553
Lincoln1910
Aitkin1882
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Koochiching1765
Pope1650
Big Stone1531
Lac qui Parle1453
Wilkin1424
Marshall1371
Lake1290
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Mahnomen1282
Norman1280
Grant1024
Red Lake822
Traverse580
Kittson500
Lake of the Woods451
Cook180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 119931

Reported Deaths: 1677
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19440289
Woodbury735998
Johnson596531
Black Hawk5862102
Linn5823132
Dubuque538358
Scott474442
Story408218
Dallas352547
Pottawattamie333245
Sioux249817
Buena Vista227912
Marshall209036
Webster192315
Plymouth170331
Wapello157362
Clinton151627
Muscatine151258
Des Moines147310
Cerro Gordo146127
Crawford137014
Warren12947
Carroll118913
Jasper115034
Henry10955
Marion104811
Tama98637
Lee98311
Delaware81713
Dickinson7769
Wright7481
Boone7369
Mahaska72824
Bremer7029
Harrison68415
Washington67711
Jackson6623
Benton6222
Lyon5598
Clay5474
Louisa53415
Winnebago50619
Winneshiek4969
Cedar4947
Hardin4887
Kossuth4850
Hamilton4794
Buchanan4755
Poweshiek47211
Jones4704
Clayton4613
Floyd45211
Emmet44620
Iowa4299
Page4190
Guthrie41315
Mills4133
Cass4123
Cherokee4112
Sac4074
Butler3963
Franklin39318
Shelby3932
Fayette3924
Allamakee3879
Madison3713
Chickasaw3691
Clarke3573
Humboldt3503
Hancock3394
Grundy3326
Palo Alto3262
Calhoun3234
Osceola2930
Mitchell2881
Howard2819
Monroe26411
Union2635
Taylor2522
Jefferson2471
Monona2472
Pocahontas2382
Appanoose2343
Fremont2121
Lucas2106
Ida2082
Adair1911
Greene1890
Montgomery1877
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