DES MOINES, Iowa — The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor squared-off at the Iowa State Fair Thursday in their first televised debate on Iowa Public Television.
Gov. Terry Branstad and challenger Jack Hatch sparred over renewable fuel standards, their strategies for early education, bringing broadband service to rural Iowa, and Gov. Branstad’s recent decision to move the job of Chief Administrative Law Judge from merit to at-will status.
“He took a judge that was supposed to be hired for merit positions and moved it over as a political appointee meaning he could be fired for any reason and now you have a judiciary responsibility in the executive branch that now can be controlled from the governor’s office. That’s unacceptable,” said Hatch.
Branstad responded, “Just yesterday the attorney general said that the reassignment of this position to the new at will position was correct, that was a correct interpretation. That’s the attorney general of your party.”
Two other candidates for governor weren’t allowed to participate. The Libertarian Party’s candidate, Dr. Lee Hieb and the Iowa Party’s Johnathan Narcisse were excluded.
IPTV representatives say Hieb and Narcisse didn’t meet their requirements.