- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad touted his record on economic development Tuesday night during his final debate against Democratic challenger Jack Hatch, who accused the incumbent governor of breaking promises to create jobs and boost incomes.

Branstad and Hatch appeared in Sioux City at the Orpheum Theatre in the last of three debates. Branstad, who is running for a sixth non-consecutive term, noted a recent commercial property tax cut and new jobs in Iowa. But Hatch said Branstad was inflating job creation numbers and had not provided enough tax relief to working families.

“We can’t afford four more years of Terry Branstad and his promises kept or broken,” Hatch said.

Branstad said he was proud of his record, saying he was “recruited to come back and lead Iowa’s comeback.”

Branstad, 67, has held a sizable lead throughout the race, with far more money and support than the 64-year-old Hatch. A new Iowa Poll from the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics released this week shows Branstad with the support of 54 percent of likely voters and Hatch with 39 percent. That survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

During the debate, Hatch expressed support for raising the minimum wage in Iowa, saying it would benefit working families. Branstad said he would prefer to focus on attracting good jobs to the state.

The two disagreed on raising the state gas tax for infrastructure spending, with Hatch supporting such a move and Branstad saying he would seek a combination of road user fees. He didn’t specify those fees.

“I don’t think the old fashioned gas tax is the way,” Branstad said.

In response, Hatch said: “He can’t collect enough fees from different sources.”

Asked what they admired about their opponent, Hatch said Branstad had hired good staff during his early years in office, while Branstad said he respected Hatch for being “willing to put his name on the ballot and serve the people of Iowa.”

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