In his bid to retake a swing seat in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, David Young has decided to bind himself close to President Donald Trump, boasting recently that he voted in line with Trump’s policies more often than any other Iowa politician.
“When I was serving, out of the Iowa delegation, I voted the most with President Trump — over Steve King, over Joni Ernst, over [Chuck] Grassley, over [Rod] Blum, and so my record is pretty clear on my conservative credentials,” said Young, Jan. 21 in an interview on the Simon Conway Show.
An analysis by FiveThirtyEight of lawmakers’ voting history during the Trump Administration backs up Young’s claim.
Young, Blum, King, Ernst and Grassley all were in office during the 115th Congress (2017-18). During that time, Young “voted in line with Trump’s position” 99% of the time compared to Blum’s 92.5%; King’s 91.4%; Grassley’s 90.5%; and Ernst’s 91.7%.
In November, Young will face Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne for a rematch of the 2018 contest in which Axne unseated the two-term Republican.
When talking with Conway, Young framed the race as a “philosophical fight” rather than a debate over policy.
“This is about freedom, it really is, because when the other side is wearing the socialist t-shirt, the jersey — proudly, without abandon; I’m a capitalist,” Young said. “I’m for free enterprise, it doesn’t mean just the pursuit of money or worldly means. It’s about freedom for us.”
The tenor of Young’s interview with Conway harkened back to a conversation the pair had in November where Conway was surprised by the “entirely different David Young” who appeared on the show.
Last week, Conway, a conservative radio host, returned to that theme: “You’re a very different David Young,” he said. “You’ve got to admit that, right? You understand why people say that, because you’re just such a nice guy, but you can’t be a nice guy in this horrible person industry that you’re in.”
Young noted the shift, crediting Trump for his new attitude.
“President Trump has taught us how to fight, give us more confidence,” he said. “You gotta take it to ’em, and I am.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, who was on the radio show with Young, said the former congressman “now realizes the country hangs in the balance.”
“David Young, more than anything, if there’s a change, is now stepping out front and being a little bit more outspoken,” said Emmer. “In the past, I think guys like David — and women do the same thing on the Republican side — they’ve allowed the other side to make up these false narratives about them because they just figure people will see through this thing. And it doesn’t work that way, Simon, you’ve got to fight.”
Interestingly, though, Young is not listed among the 80-plus Republicans speaking in support of Trump at Iowa precincts next Monday on caucus night. Some Iowans include Gov. Kim Reynolds, former congressman Blum, 1st Congressional District Republican candidate Ashley Hinson and more than a dozen state legislators.
Young also does not face a Republican primary, which has prompted some Republicans with more moderate personas to tack hard to the right.
The 3rd District includes the Des Moines metro suburbs, which have quickly trended Democratic during Trump’s presidency.
By Elizabeth Meyer