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Iowa Senate candidates square off one final time

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTTC) -- The Senate candidates for Iowa, Democrat Theresa Greenfield and incumbent Republican Joni Ernst took squared off one final time before election day. However, this debate was unique as it had to be held virtually.

The event was supposed to be in-person but since Ernst is currently in the middle of Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings, she was unable to attend in person. To ensure no candidate had an advantage, Greenfield also appeared from a remote location. The format featured five moderators situated at Franklin Junior High School in Des Moines.

Topics for the night ranged from health care to dark money in political campaigns.

When it comes to health care, Greenfield supports a public option which would allow for systems to compete while expanding and strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Ernst, on the other hand said she opposes the ACA since it didn't help with consumer premiums. She instead wants to take a different route to healthcare.

"That public option, as done by a third party independent study, could bankrupt up to 52 of our rural health care systems," Ernst said.

Another big topic addressed was racism, protests and riots and defunding the police. Both candidates agreed that police do not need defunding.

After that, the debate shifted to agriculture, focusing on farmers getting help and the problems with crop insurance after the derecho devastated parts of the state earlier this summer.

Ernst says the federal government could do more through their various agencies to help farmers be fully covered if their crop insurance won't cover their full yield.

Greenfield said farmers are facing more problems beyond crop loss.

"Net farm income is down 75% since 2013. Bankruptcies are at an eight year high and we have to make better decisions in Washington, D.C.," Greenfield said.

The debate then shifted to the economy and eventually to campaigning. Both candidates have been aided by outside money in this election. Both were asked how they would put a stop to money influencing politics.

"End political corruption. End Citizens United. End corporate PACs. End dark money campaigns," Greenfield said. "They're the ones running those nasty attack ads ruining your YouTube videos and your football games."

"Transparency, if you force those donors to disclose who they're donating to and to what organization, I guarantee that the whole system would clean up quickly," Ernst said. "That's the easy answer."

More eyes continue to focus on this race as the Democrats look to flip this seat and regain control of the Senate in Washington, D.C. A recent poll shows Greenfield with a four point lead over Ernst.

Zach Fuller

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