Iowa candidates for governor will meet for sole debate tonight

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and her Democratic challenger Diedre DeJear will face off in a debate Monday night in the only such meeting scheduled to be held before Election Day.

DeJear sought three debates but Reynolds agreed to one. It will be televised live on Iowa PBS.

The candidates will meet for the debate a day after a Des Moines  Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed Reynolds holds a double-digit lead as the Republican seeks a second full term in office.

Reynolds was favored by 52% of voters while 35% of voters supported DeJear. Libertarian Rick Stewart had 4% support. The poll surveyed 804 Iowa adults earlier this month. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The 63-year-old Reynolds became governor in 2017 when former Gov. Terry Branstad became Donald Trump’s ambassador to China. She narrowly beat Democrat Fred Hubbell by just under 3 percentage points in 2018.

The 36-year-old DeJear is a small business owner and political organizer who ran for secretary of state in 2018, becoming the first Black Iowan to be nominated for a statewide race. She lost to incumbent Paul Pate, a Republican.

Reynolds is running on her record of cutting taxes and managing state finances, building up a billion dollar surplus in state funds.

DeJear has been critical of the Republican controlled-government, saying Reynolds and GOP lawmakers are underfunding programs, including public schools and mental health services.

Reynolds supports elimination of most abortion rights while DeJear favors legislative action to make the right to an abortion law in Iowa.

Iowans can begin early voting Wednesday for the Nov. 8 election.