Democratic Rivals Debate, 3rd District Primary Around the Corner

May 27, 2016

The three candidates hoping to clinch the Democratic Party’s nomination in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District debated in Des Moines Thursday night.

Hardly any differences surfaced on the policy positions held by Mike Sherzan, Jim Mowrer and Desmund Adams. But Adams says this primary isn’t about issues, but rather about beating the Republican incumbent, Congressman David Young.

"So we all agree on these progressive issues," says Adams. "The bottom line is, who can beat David Young? Who can unseat David Young? And in order to unseat David Young we're going to have to have broad-built collations."

Adams says he's built his entire campaign on coalition building. He says his background as a high school-dropout-turned-Drake Law School grad and business owner makes him the most capable of uniting people across southwest Iowa. 

It is the backgrounds and experience that distinguish each candidate, says Mowrer, citing his own military service in Iraq* and work in the Obama Administration. Sherzan discussed being a business owner. All three men also talked about their families. 

One exception to the similarities among the trio is that Mowrer alone has supported the Keystone XL Pipeline. This choice, he says, was based on an environmental impact study by the State Department which said the pipeline would not create a long-term negative impact.

"I'm absolutely committed to our clean energy future, climate is real," he says. "At the Pentagon I implemented the president's executive order which produced a 10-percent across the board cut in energy use and emissions, so I have a record of results."

All three candidates say climate change is a top concern, not only for the future of Iowa, but also the entire world.

In addition to questions from moderators, the candidates were also posed questions gathered from around the 3rd District. One asked what the candidates would do about the national debt.

Sherzan says the federal deficit should be a bigger concern.

"If you understand budgets, you’ll understand that our economic situation has been improving for the last 10 years. Matter of fact, 10 years ago the deficit equaled about 10 percent of our GDP. Here recently, it represented about three percent," he says.

Debt is the amount of money the U.S. government owns, while the deficit references the difference between what the federal government takes in and what it spends in a year. 

Sherzan also says good wages will help stimulate the economy.  Adams and Mowrer both advocate more investment in infrastructure.

Last night's debate was sponsored by KCCI-TV and The Des Moines Register.

The primary is June 7th.

*An earlier version of this post erroneously stated Mowrer served in Afghanistan.