5 GOP Candidates for Open U.S. Senate Seat Debate in Cedar Rapids

By Chris Earl, KCRG-TV9

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Exactly one month from Saturday will be June 3rd -- Primary Day in the state of Iowa.

With that on the radar, all five Republican candidates for the *open U.S. Senate seat* gathered in downtown Cedar Rapids today to spell out their stances.

KCRG-TV9 carried the debate live on KCRG-TV9.2 from the DoubleTree by Hilton, with PBS’s Judy Woodruff as the moderator. TV9’s Bruce Aune was also a panelist.

The five candidates are jousting for the nomination to face presumed Democrat Bruce Braley in the November election.

Even in these final weeks, a clear frontrunner has not emerged but many common themes of smaller government and working to repeal the Affordable Care Act did come forth.

“We have to work to replace it. We absolutely have to replace it but we have to do it by using common sense approaches and something that is free market,” said Joni Ernst.

“Our federal government doesn’t have the skills and capabilities to manage a plan like this. The Congressional Budget Office concluded - 2 1/2 million less people working because of Obamacare,” said Mark Jacobs.

“Why doesn’t the president allow the Republicans to come in with these ideas that we’ve been battling for over the last four years? He says he’ll listen to any Republican plan. I don’t think so. We’ll take him up on it,” said Sam Clovis.

One of the candidates must capture 35% of the vote to be declared the winner on June 3rd. Otherwise, the decision goes to convention.

Three weeks ago, a Suffolk University poll had Ernst edging out Jacobs 25 to 23 percent with Sam Clovis a distant third.

Both the Ernst and Jacobs campaigns have been airing ads in heavy rotation in recent weeks.

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