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Campaign almanac: Reynolds agrees to PBS debate | Govt-and-politics

There will be at least one debate in the campaign to become Iowa’s next governor.

Republican incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday announced her campaign has accepted an invitation to debate on Iowa PBS and its statewide affiliates.

The “Iowa Press” debate between Reynolds and Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear will be conducted and televised live at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, according to Iowa PBS.

“I look forward to this opportunity to discuss the issues that are important to Iowans and appreciate the invitation from Iowa PBS,” Reynolds said in a news release. “Iowans across the state deserve access to a vigorous debate about the future of Iowa and I know Iowa PBS will put on a fair, impartial debate.”

Rick Stewart, from the Iowa Libertarian Party, also is on the ballot for governor.

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MILLER-MEEKS AD: U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican from Ottumwa, recently launched a $2 million ad campaign in her re-election bid in Eastern Iowa’s new 1st Congressional District. Miller-Meeks’ ads are slated to run through Election Day Nov. 8.

Last month, Democratic challenger Christina Bohannan began airing ads in a $1.7 million campaign.

Miller-Meeks’ first ad leans into her background. The ophthalmologist and former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health came to the state for a residency through the University of Iowa.

“My Iowa story begins right here, over three decades ago. A residency at the university brought me to the state I’ll forever call home,” Miller-Meeks says in the ad.

In 2020, Miller-Meeks won by six votes, and she’s expected to face a competitive re-election bid. A FiveThirtyEight analysis rated the district’s race as “Likely Republican.”

“Iowans are caring, helping people. As a doctor, what more could I want?” Miller-Meeks says in the ad. “We’re hard working families that come together for good. That’s what makes Iowa and America great. I’m Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. You deserve someone in Congress who knows your life and fights your fight. That’s what I do.”

BIG INVESTMENT IN BIRD: The Republican Attorneys General Association contributed $1 million to Brenna Bird, the Republican candidate for Iowa attorney general’s campaign announced.

Bird is challenging Democratic incumbent Tom Miller, the longest-serving state attorney general in U.S. history.

“Iowa is trending in the right direction, and all indicators show that Brenna Bird can win this race on Election Day,” Peter Bisbee, the Republican group’s executive director, said in a news release from Bird’s campaign. “With Joe Biden trampling on the Constitution and the freedoms of everyday Iowans, the office of attorney general is more important today than it has ever been. Brenna is the right candidate to take Biden head on.”

JEWISH LOBBY ENDORSES MATHIS: J Street, a political action committee working to elect “pro-Israel, pro peace candidates,” endorsed Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis in her race for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, according to Mathis’ campaign.

Mathis, of Hiawatha, is running against Marion Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, who is seeking re-election.

J Street supports a “two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinian people” and seeks to “promote U.S. policies that embody our deeply held Jewish and democratic values and that help secure the State of Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people,” according to its website.

Mathis, in a statement, said if elected she would “champion a diplomacy-first approach to foster U.S. interests in the region and enhance security for Israel.”

LIBERTARIAN ADDRESSES VETERAN SUICIDES: Rick Stewart, the Libertarian Party candidate for Iowa governor, urged the Legislature to call a special session to make a banned drug legal for veterans to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Stewart wants the state to provide access to MDMA therapy. Scientists are performing trials to determine whether MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, can be used to treat PTSD.

In 2019, the most recent year that federal data is available, 71 Iowa veterans died by suicide.

“It is unconscionable that we refuse to allow Iowa veterans access to the best available treatment for PTSD,” Stewart said in a campaign news release. “It is immoral to stand by while Iowa veterans die. I ask all Iowa politicians to do the right thing: give Iowa veterans access to the mental health care they deserve.”

GROUP ENDORSES 1 DEMOCRAT, 2 REPUBLICANS: The political advocacy arm of Save the Children, a leading humanitarian organization for children, announced endorsements of one Democratic and two Republican Iowa lawmakers running for re-election.

Save the Children Action Network endorsed Democratic state Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott of West Des Moines and Republican state Reps. Jon Dunwell of Newton and Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids.

Trone Garriott is running for re-election in Senate District 14, which covers Dallas County, against Republican Iowa Senate President Jake Chapman of Adel.

Dunwell is running for re-election in House District 38 against Democratic challenger Erick Zehr and Libertarian candidate Michael Wood. Jones faces Buena Vista County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Eliason in her re-election bid in House District 6.

SCAN said it “is activating a robust effort in support of Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott, including a forthcoming digital ad spend of $25,000 later this fall and strategic voter contact program.”

The political advocacy group said it was endorsing Trone Garriott for sponsoring legislation to expand the child tax credit and make child care more affordable and accessible, as well as legislation that would expand Double Up Food Bucks, “helping more kids have the nutritious food they need to grow and thrive.”

SCAN noted Jones and Dunwell were among a handful of Republicans who voted against a bill the group said would have reduced quality child care by increasing teacher-student ratios and allowing minors working at child care facilities to be unsupervised.

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