Democrats in Iowa are working to make sure that voters don’t forget about David Young’s recent votes on LGBT protections in defense and energy spending bills. The first-term Congressman in the 3rd District is seen as potentially vulnerable this November, and any high-profile misstep could tarnish the little-known Young.
At a 3rd District Democratic debate last night, Desmund Adams repeatedly referred to Young as “Congressman Flip-Flop.” Mike Sherzan blasted Young last week as “voting for discrimination.”
Another one of Young’s potential Democratic opponents, Jim Mowrer, held a press conference today to drive home the point, calling it a “vote-switching scandal.”
“We have uncovered new evidence that shows that he was the deciding vote that defeated this equality bill,” Mowrer said in reference to C-SPAN video showing House GOP leaders approaching Young during the vote. “We also have additional evidence that he was bullied by Republican leaders to switch his vote.”
Young, however, disputes that characterization. His office claims that Young was not aware that there were no religious protection measures in the original LGBT amendment presented last Friday. That’s why he switched his vote to “no” upon learning so after originally casting his vote in favor of it.
After the outrage last week, the House scheduled a new vote this Wednesday on a similar measure to put LGBT protections back into government contracts in a separate energy bill. That time Young voted for the measure, which passed 223-195. Young put out a statement saying that he felt it protected both LGBT individuals and religious beliefs. That amendment with the religious protections was also offered by Democratic Congressman Sean Maloney.
“Every human being deserves to be treated with fairness, respect, and equality under the law,” Congressman Young said in a statement.
However, the passage of that amendment only angered the more conservative members of the Republican caucus, and the entire spending bill then failed when many of them voted against it.
Mowrer didn’t believe Young’s claim about religious protections was enough.
“Religion is never an excuse to discriminate,” Mowrer said at his press conference. “We have no idea where David Young stands on this issue, only that ultimately when it comes to voting his conscience, he votes the way Republican leaders want him to.”
The Iowa Democratic Party was also not impressed with Young’s explanations.
“The bottom line is that David Young switched his position from last week because he realized how unpopular his vote was,” said IDP Chair Andy McGuire in a statement to Starting Line. “And while we’re happy he changed his mind, everybody knows that a person’s first response is almost always their true feeling. And last week, David Young’s gut reaction was to turn his back on the LGBTQ community in the 3rd Congressional District.”
The entire saga may yet continue if further amendments are added in later bills.
by Pat Rynard