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Local

Branstad breaks silence 17 days after debate challenge from Hoefling

After 17 days, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad broke his silence Wednesday regarding an offer from his primary opponent, Tom Hoefling, to debate before the June 3 primary.

“My intention is to focus on my job as being governor,” Branstad said. “I guess my feeling is that I haven’t seen anything other than that he got enough signatures to file. I haven’t seen anything to consider him a very serious candidate.”

“I do intend to debate the general election opponent, but I think it’s pretty doubtful that we’re going to have time to debate the primary because we have the legislative session to accomplish, and we have many other things to get done.”

Hoefling’s debate proposal includes four smaller events hosted and organized by willing county GOP organizations within the four congressional districts, and would culminate in a large venue debate hosted by the state party. Any proceeds would be split proportionally between the various party organizations participating, for use in electing local Republicans in November. Moderation would be provided by the state and county party chairmen.

“I think ‘Building Iowa’s Future’, which is Terry Branstad’s campaign theme, is the right focus for debate,” Hoefling said during a interview on March 31. “But I also think that the people of Iowa deserve to hear both candidates in this primary explain fully what they think that future should look like.”

“If Gov. Branstad does not find this reasonable, constructive proposal to be acceptable, I am willing to debate any time, anywhere in the state and under any circumstance.”

Staff writer Zach Johnson may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at zjohnson@newtondailynews.com.

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