Republican US Representative David Young and Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer debated for the second and final time Wednesday night in Council Bluffs. Both aim to represent southwest Iowa in Congress come January.
One highlight of the evening was when Iowa Public Television moderators gave each candidate a chance to respond to a negative campaign ad produced by their opposition.
The commercial from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP Super PAC, features a female voice that claims, "Jim Mowrer supports the dangerous deal, putting Iran on the path to get nuclear weapons. A deal that gives Iran billions, money they can use to fund terrorism. Jim Mowrer--risky, dangerous."
"I have a long record of keeping our country safe," responded Mowrer, citing his tour in Iraq with the Iowa Army National Guard, and working in Iraq as a civilian intelligence analyst. "This deal has stopped Iranian nuclear development in its tracks."
An ad from Mowrer's campaign links Young's stance on women's health issues to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who the freshman congressman supports.
It features Trump saying, "There has to be some form of punishment," for women who have abortions. And then another female voice states, "David Young has already voted to make abortion a crime. And even though Donald Trump brags about sexually assaulting women, David Young continues to support him for president."
Young did not specifically address his voting record on the abortion issue, but says that he’s voted to increase funding to women’s healthcare by $7.8 billion.
"That goes to our community health centers. We have over 200 in Iowa," said Young. "I take women’s healthcare seriously. And also being a member of the appropriation committee, [I've voted] for cancer research for women as well."
Young then cited secretly-filmed videos from last year that made it appear Planned Parenthood was selling fetal remains for profit. These videos have been debunked.
Young also addressed border security, and whether he favors Trump's proposed wall between the US and Mexico.
"You're going to have different needs in different sectors," said Young. "You're going to need more Department of Homeland Security boats on the Rio Grande. You're going to have to more horseback border patrol, unmanned areal vehicles in the sky, you're going to need more Coast Guard over in San Diego."
Moderators also asked Mowrer for solutions to the rising premiums for polices that are sold through insurance exchanges created by Obamacare. In explaining his support of the Affordable Care Act, the candidate emphasized the fact insurance companies can no longer reject people with pre-existing conditions, and that more than 90 percent of Americans are now insured.
However, Mowrer didn’t offer many specific policy proposals on how to keep premiums and other healthcare costs low.
"Relicensing requirements that are placed on physicians...the Cadillac tax, the taxes that are placed on folks that have health insurance that are deemed to be too generous, I disagree with those things," said Mowrer.
Young has voted to repeal Obamacare. He says instead people should have health savings accounts, be able to buy policies across state lines, and supports legislation that promote transparency.
Analysts say Iowa's 3rd District is one of the most competitive in the country, and will often follow national trends.