Battle for 1st: Rod Blum interview - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Battle for 1st: Rod Blum interview

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

One decision shows you how closely an eastern Iowa race is being watched across the country.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee bought $600,000 in ads in support of Pat Murphy. That's $600,000 over the next couple of weeks.

The 1st Congressional District race is big because it's up for grabs. The incumbent, Bruce Braley, is running for U.S. Senate and much of eastern Iowa falls in the 1st District.

KWWL spent time with Murphy, the Democrat in the race and Rod Blum, the Republican. (Our story with Murphy aired earlier this week.)

Rod Blum's vision for smaller government can be traced all the way back to his childhood in Dubuque in a story about his father and fowl. "The city says, 'You can't raise chickens in your yard,' and he said, 'I'll outsmart the government' and we raised them in the attic," said Blum.

From his humble beginnings... "We didn't have much," said Blum. He has achieved great success in the business world through a software company. "(We) grew from five employees when I got there to over 300 employees in five years," said Blum.

He says he's defined by his family and business, but has other interests. "Oh, I love basketball," said Blum. However, he claims he's not passionate about politics. "I'm not running to have cocktails with John Boehner. I'm not running to get this face on FOX News," said Blum.

So why do it?

"I love this country. I think we're heading in the wrong direction," said Blum.

Blum says there's so much wrong with Washington. "This mountain of money we've had to raise, that's what we've spent most of our time doing and it doesn't seem right to me," said Blum.

He's also concerned about regulations. "I believe this country has the finest entrepreneurs and small business people in the world. I'm one of them. What the government needs to do is get out of our way," said Blum.

Blum says politics needs to be about public service and not a career, which is why he would support a bill for term limits. "Absolutely. I'd lead that charge," said Blum. KWWL asked him if he'd be willing to make a campaign promise to step aside if he served two or three terms in Washington. "What I can say is that I will lead the charge to get term limits passed. I don't want to put the 1st District at a disadvantage. It takes a lot of time and effort to win a congressional race and I don't want to put the district at a disadvantage by voluntarily stepping aside if the rest of Congress doesn't have to do that," said Blum.

As his campaign comes down the home stretch, Blum knows events around the world are ever changing. ISIS in Syria is an example. KWWL asked him if he would support boots on the ground. Blum said, "That's a difficult question. How would we handle the Mafia? Start bombing the restaurants they have lunch in? I don't think so. We'd infiltrate them. We need more eyeballs on the ground."

This race has been littered with attack ads on both sides. Blum claims Pat Murphy's campaign fired first, so they defended themselves with ads like the one that calls Murphy, "an angry, corrupt, career politician." KWWL asked Blum if he believes Murphy is an angry, corrupt, career politician. "I believe, for sure, he's a career politician," said Blum.

Since Rod Blum is not a longtime politician, he doesn't have an official voting record to track, but his own words lay the groundwork for what voters can scrutinize if they elect him. "One of the first places we can cut is payments to the advantaged, not the disadvantaged," said Blum.

He also says he's willing to stand up to lobbyists. "I have political courage and I'm not afraid to lose an election. If they say, 'If you vote this way Congressman Blum, we're not going to write you a check.' I'm perfectly fine with that," said Blum.

Saturday night, KWWL will host a debate between Blum and Murphy. You can watch it on air or right here on our website at 7 p.m.

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