Prominent central Iowa conservatives are voicing concerns about David Young, the GOP nominee in the third Congressional district. Young can't afford to run too far to the right in his race against former State Senator Staci Appel. He needs to keep the margin close in Polk County, because the Republican voter registration advantage in IA-03 isn't large enough to save him if he gets blown out among suburban moderates. Consequently, Young has taken several middle-of-the-road positions during the general election campaign. During his first debate against Appel, he offered qualified support for a minimum wage increase. Last week, he told the Des Moines Register's editorial board that he favors some form of legal status for some undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
Speaking at a health care forum in Des Moines yesterday, Young said the Affordable Care Act is "here to stay," so Congress will "have to work to make it better." Whereas many Republicans have pledged to repeal "Obamacare," Young said he'll "be at the table trying to fix it." That pragmatic stance contradicts his promise in a pre-primary television commercial to make Obamacare disappear.
Although Young has Iowa Right To Life's support for the general election, some "pro-life" activists haven't forgotten that he once told a journalist abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest.
Social conservative talk radio host Steve Deace laid out his case against voting for Young in a Facebook post yesterday. I've enclosed excerpts after the jump. Many Iowa Democrats dismiss Deace as irrelevant, but his show is broadcast on two stations in the Council Bluffs area (the second-largest metro in IA-03) and one station in Des Moines. During the next three weeks, you can be sure Deace will urge listeners not to vote for Young.
Casting a protest vote will be easy for right-wing Republicans, because two conservative candidates qualified for the ballot in IA-03. Bleeding Heartland posted background on Libertarian Ed Wright and independent Bryan Jack Holder here.
UPDATE: On October 14, Deace bashed Young on his website and featured on his radio broadcast a segment on "John Boehner's next plan to screw conservatives." Pointing to a blog post claiming the U.S. House speaker wants to expand his majority "so the crazies you hate will be irrelevant" in Congress, Deace commented, "Another reason not to vote for David Young, as if he hasn't provided enough of them already."
SECOND UPDATE: The Iowa Republican publisher Craig Robinson had a go at Young's "schizophrenic" campaign. I've added excerpts at the end of this post.
In Facebook post on October 13, Deace first explained why he is cutting Joni Ernst slack because she "might represent the 51st vote in the U.S. Senate."
However, Young's weaknesses can only hurt me. We don't need his seat, and aren't in any danger of losing the majority with or without him. Therefore, there's absolutely no incentive for me to take part in making him the next entrenched GOP incumbent to "evolve" against me while he's in office at least the next 10 years.
I'm better off taking my chances two years from now with a (hopefully) strong GOP presidential nominee at the top of the ticket, and an actual conservative congressional nominee. We learned this year beating entrenched incumbents in primaries is a quite a chore, and much harder than beating bad Democrats in the general. So since all Staci Appel can really do the next two years is annoy me, why not work in an open primary two years from now to get a real Republican to go up against her?
Besides, I've already been a part of a campaign that cleaned her clock in a general election, so I know it can be done. If Young can't/won't stand up to Appel in this friendly environment, he'll never stand up to the system once in office when it's far harder and less popular to do so.
Deace was a leading supporter of Kent Sorenson's successful state Senate campaign against Appel in 2010.
SECOND UPDATE: After blasting Young for saying Obamacare is "here to stay" and supporting a minimum wage increase, a pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants, means testing for Social Security, and a higher gas tax, The Iowa Republican blogger Craig Robinson concluded,
Here is what I find the most frustrating about David Young.
Had Young taken the stage at the District nominating convention back in June and said, "Hi, I'm David Young, and I support raising the minimum wage, means testing social security, a pathway to citizenship, new gas taxes, and oh yeah, we all just need to deal with Obamacare," he would have been booed off the stage. Seriously, it would have been a nasty sight.
Yet, the David Young who asked for the Republican nomination never said those things until he secured the Third District Congressional nomination. To say that voters, and especially convention delegates, feel a little misled is an understatement.
Election Day is three weeks away, and lets be honest. David Young is running a campaign like you would expect from a candidate who came in last place in the primary. After watching Young in the debate and seeing his recent comments, I must admit that there is little that he says that I can agree with. Worse yet, as the election draws nears, I'm more confused about David Young's positions on the critical issues facing this county than I was back in June.