Republican candidates for 1st District face-off at Wartburg - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Republican candidates for 1st District face-off at Wartburg

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -- Two local candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives go head-to-head in debate at Wartburg College. Ben Lange and Will Johnson are seeking the Republican nomination for Iowa's First Congressional District, a seat currently held by Democrat Bruce Braley.

Voters will make their choice in the primary election on June 8th. But first, they are learning where each candidate stands on some hot issues.

News Channel 7's Colleen O'Shaughnessy represented KWWL as one of the three panelists in Tuesday night's debate. The candidates answered questions developed by O'Shaughnessy, a journalist from Waverly Newspapers, and a student representing Wartburg Television.

The topics included the economy, immigration, education, energy, and a free-for-all round. Both candidates stuck firmly to the stance that the government needs change, and voting for the Republican Party is the way to make that change happen.

In that final round, candidates responded to a question on how the TEA Party movement is impacting the Republican Party. Johnson, who is endorsed by two local TEA Parties, says he personally would not run on a separate TEA Party ticket.

"I understand where a lot of people would feel -- due to my strength in the constitution and my background -- that I should. But the way I see it, we have a two party system and I'm trying to work within it. That does not mean that I negotiate when it comes to principles," said Johnson.

Lange believes the Republican Party can mobilize all conservative voters, including TEA Party members, if they go about it the right way.

"I think the Republican Party can be that party if it's the party that answers with solutions and not just opposition, and if it answers in the point of allowing private industry to be the economic engine behind America's success," said Lange.

Lange added, the TEA Party should not be taken for granted, that both Democrats and Republicans need to listen to their message. He believes he is the right candidate to beat current Representative Bruce Braley.

Johnson said he represents what the TEA Party movement stands for. He wants to fight to uphold the constitution, and reduce the power the federal government has in our daily lives.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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