First Congressional District Candidates to Face Off in Thursday Debate
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Thursday night both candidates from Iowa's First Congressional District are facing off in one of the most highly contested races in the Hawkeye State.
The competition is between incumbent Bruce Braley and his Republican opponent Ben Lange. It's rare for two candidates to face one another in back-to-back elections, but that's exactly what's happening. Bruce Braley is trying to hold off Ben Lange for the second time, but the circumstances are different this year. The first district looks considerably different after an extensive redistricting process.
After the 2010 census showed Iowa had a slow growing population, the state changed district boundaries. That created four congressional districts instead of the five that existed before. They are much bigger too. The first district, for example, now has 20 counties instead of 12. Some counties also shifted districts. Linn County moved from the second district to the first district.
Braley has held the first district congressional for three terms. If this election is anything like 2010, the 2012 competition will be a close one. Lange came within less than 2 percentage points of defeating Braley. The democrat is hoping he'll keep his supporters like he has in the past, while Lange hopes the congressional redistricting will work in his favor.
Voters have one more chance to hear what the two have to say. The duo will debate at 7 p.m. Thursday night from the Grand Opera House in Dubuque. It’s part of a series of debates organized by Iowa Public Television. Voters are welcome to attend. Organizers are asking people to get there early and get seated by 6:45.
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