The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa politicians react to first GOP presidential debate

The debate covered Republican hot topics, such as the national abortion ban, climate change crisis, “Bidenomics,” the Russia-Ukraine war, and more.
Cody Blissett
Florida Governor and 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during the annual Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, July 28, 2023.

Republican presidential candidates fought for the spotlight during the first GOP presidential debate of the primary season on Wednesday. In Iowa, all eyes were on the debate as many Republicans remain undecided ahead of the caucus.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds remained quiet throughout the night amid a growing feud between her and front-runner former President Donald Trump. Trump criticized Reynolds last month for staying neutral during the primaries and did not attend Reynolds’ fair-side chats at the Iowa State Fair. 

Trump did not attend the debate either, instead participating in an online interview with Tucker Carlson while the debate aired on Fox News. 

Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks attended the Milwaukee debate, providing a few live updates through X, formerly known as Twitter, during the event. 

Miller-Meeks did not voice support for any particular candidate but did applaud North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum for debating with a hurt ankle. 

“Kudos to Gov. @DougBurgum for standing on the debate stage with a sprained ankle for two hours!” she wrote. 

Miller-Meeks’s predecessor Dave Loebsack criticized the representative for attending the debate, voicing support for University of Iowa law professor and Democrat candidate for U.S. House Christina Bohannan

“Check out @millermeeks.  In one of the worst cases of political malpractice I can imagine, she is playing hooky at the Republican debate in Milwaukee instead of meeting with constituents in her own district. 

@BohannanIowa will always put her district’s interests ahead of her own,” Loebsack wrote. 

Miller-Meeks attended the debate with Sen. Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire, who voiced her support for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. 

Republican U.S. Rep. Zach Nunn wrote that the debate was “homework for January,” referring to the upcoming GOP caucus.

“As Iowans, we have the privilege of leading the country with the first-in-the-nation caucus,” he wrote. 

Admiral Mike Franken, former Democratic Senate candidate who ran against Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2022, criticized the candidates on stage by comparing them to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

Adam Zabner, D-Iowa City, wrote that he was “Ridin with Biden” during the debate, criticizing the candidates for not acting on climate change. 

After the debate concluded, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann released a statement on behalf of the Iowa GOP. 

“Tonight, Americans heard compelling visions about the future of our country,” the release stated. “It’s clear as day that any of our Republican presidential candidates would bring welcome and desperately needed change from the record of incompetence that we’ve seen from the Biden administration on the economy, our border, and our standing on the world stage.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson also watched the debate but did not provide updates or thoughts throughout the night. 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley mentioned watching the debate in a post on X about his 69th anniversary with his wife Barbara Grassley, but also didn’t provide any updates throughout the night. 

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About the Contributors
Grace Katzer, Politics Reporter
Grace Katzer is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications, Political Science, and a writing certificate. Previous to her position as a politics reporter, she has been a higher education news reporter at The Daily Iowan and interned with the Spencer Daily Reporter as a news reporter and Iowa Starting Line as a news media reporter.
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.