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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Ramsey2863122
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Nobles15125
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Dakota126354
Washington61731
Olmsted60810
Kandiyohi4901
Rice4522
Clay42426
Scott4082
Todd3130
Wright3051
Mower3031
Sherburne2372
Carver2062
Benton1753
Steele1590
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Martin1295
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Freeborn1150
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Mahnomen61
Lincoln50
Renville50
Big Stone40
Grant40
Red Lake40
Redwood40
Clearwater30
Hubbard30
Traverse30
Lac qui Parle30
Roseau30
Houston20
Lake10
Kittson10
Stevens10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19217

Reported Deaths: 531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4160125
Woodbury274034
Black Hawk173944
Linn94976
Dallas89220
Marshall89216
Buena Vista7350
Johnson6149
Wapello5589
Muscatine55641
Crawford5142
Tama40227
Scott35810
Dubuque34518
Louisa34311
Jasper26116
Pottawattamie2578
Sioux2190
Washington1888
Wright1670
Plymouth1292
Warren1260
Allamakee1204
Story1091
Mahaska9310
Poweshiek908
Henry711
Bremer696
Des Moines621
Clinton611
Boone610
Taylor540
Clarke530
Guthrie503
Cedar461
Benton411
Webster391
Monroe385
Shelby370
Jones360
Hamilton350
Clayton343
Iowa330
Buchanan330
Osceola330
Marion320
Cerro Gordo281
Cherokee280
Madison282
Fayette270
Lee250
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Monona240
Jefferson230
Harrison220
Davis210
Lyon210
Dickinson200
Grundy200
Mills190
Floyd191
Sac180
Humboldt170
Lucas170
Hardin160
Hancock160
Delaware150
Keokuk150
Clay150
Appanoose153
Butler151
Emmet140
Ida140
Page130
Greene130
Franklin130
Cass120
Howard120
Audubon121
Jackson120
Winnebago110
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Carroll90
Van Buren90
Adair90
Kossuth90
Union70
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Unassigned60
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Mitchell40
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