Iowa Cong. debate canceled after Loebsack withdraws

Published: Oct. 15, 2018 at 8:13 PM CDT
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Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA) has withdrawn from a debate between candidates for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District that was scheduled for Saturday, October 20.

St. Ambrose University, which was to host the debate, and KWQC-TV6, which was to broadcast it, were informed Sunday night that Loebsack would not participate, and this prompted plans for the debate to be canceled.

For several weeks, St. Ambrose leaders were in communication with both Loebsack’s campaign and that of his Republican opponent, Dr. Christopher Peters.

Both expressed interest in participating in a debate.

Last Thursday, Congressman Loebsack’s campaign requested that Libertarian candidate, Mark Strauss, be included in the event.

St. Ambrose University cited logistical and time reasons for not including Strauss.

Additionally, the criteria set forth by KWQC-TV6 for an invitation to debate requires candidates to have raised a minimum of $250,000 and/or show at least 10% voter support statewide in the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Poll, conducted by Selzer and Company.

While information could be found for both Loebsack’s and Peters’ campaigns in regards to funding, no filed reports could be found for Strauss’ campaign.

Late Sunday night, Loebsack’s campaign sent an e-mail to both KWQC-TV6 and St. Ambrose University organizers saying, in part, ”we are saddened to hear that the group has decided to exclude Mr. Strauss.

Unfortunately, if the decision to exclude a candidate that has qualified for the ballot and participated in other forums is final, our campaign will not be participating.”

Dr. Christopher Peters’ campaign told KWQC-TV6 Monday evening, “It's a shame Dave Loebsack is once again turning his back on his constituents by refusing to publicly answer questions from voters.

Iowans deserve a representative who works for them, and this is another example of Loebsack putting politics over people.”

Mark Strauss released a statement to KWQC-TV6 Tuesday that reads in part, “I applaud the Loebsack campaign for their courage and hope the parties involved will see this is an opportunity to lead the country being inclusive in our democracy.

Iowa has an opportunity to lead. We have always been the first stop on the road to the White House, but changing political climates, and the migration to larger population centers could change that very quickly.

Iowa should be ready to lead here across the state. They along with many other states have granted the Libertarian party major party status, and ballot access. But, are still blocking a spot on stage in major debates. This has been mainly at the hands of the media.”

A fourth candidate in the race, Daniel Clark, who is not affiliated with a political party, also appears on the November 6th ballot.

Clark’s participation was not requested by the Loebsack campaign.

The public debate, previously scheduled for Saturday afternoon at the Galva Fine Arts Center, would have been streamed live on

and later televised on one of KWQC’s digital channels.

"St. Ambrose University regrets this debate will not take place," said St. Ambrose University Dir. of Communications Craig DeVrieze.

KWQC is still scheduled to broadcast the third and final Iowa gubernatorial debate at 8 a.m. on Sunday, October 21.