Archer, Sherman visit Hamburg and continue final push


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John Archer grasps his glass of root beer and takes a sip while gazing at the portrait of Ronald Reagan that adorns the booth in which the former president once sat in during a visit to the Hamburg Inn No. 2. His eyes then meet the signed picture of his opponent, Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, that hangs slightly to the left of Reagan’s, and reality sets in: The election is just one week away.

“Johnson County is critically important, and we’re receiving great support especially from residents, and younger students …” Archer told The Daily Iowan. “It’s always nice to come home, and this not the last stop in Johnson County before the election.”

Archer’s and Iowa House candidate Steve Sherman’s visit to the local diner, 214 N. Linn St., comes in an area that on paper is not statistically favorable to Republicans. According to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, 39,827 voters in the county are registered Democrats, and 18,732 are registered Republicans, as of Oct. 26.

Hamburg owner David Panther stressed how he makes sure appearances are fair to all candidates regardless of their party a tradition, which dates back to Reagan’s visit in 1992.

“We want to have a venue that’s friendly to all candidates and gives them the opportunity to meet voters,” he said.

Sherman said the appearance was a “quintessential stop” and that Iowa City’s as well as Johnson County’s political diversity is something that “makes the town great.”

“It’s great experience for the Statehouse level, because essentially it’s your friends and neighbors who elect you,” he said. “My family has Democrats in it, so Thanksgiving was pretty raucous. That’s the way it used to be; you used to be able to go to a restaurant like this, sit down, and talk about your differences.”

While the GOP candidates didn’t formally address customers in the diner, Archer continued to tout his business experience as an example of how he would reach across the aisle to Democrats and stressed his belief that Loebsack has failed to effectively represent Iowa.

“[Congressman Loebsack’s] voice has fallen on deaf ears specifically in failing on something as critically important as the farm bill and the wind-energy tax credit,” Archer said. “He talks about the dysfunction in Congress, but he’s been in Washington for the past six years.”

Loebsack’s campaign responded by pointing to the congressman’s work with 37 other colleagues to push Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Speaker John Boehner as a part of his work on the farm bill and blamed Republicans for the failure. His campaign further characterized Archer’s statements as inaccurate.

“Unfortunately, the same Washington Republicans that have sought to buy this election for Mr. Archer to the tune of $800,000 have bottled up any progress on passing a farm bill,” Loebsack campaign spokesman Joe Hand wrote in an email.

Sherman is running for the newly created District 77 for the Iowa House against current Johnson County Supervisor Sally Stutsman. Sherman said he would consider any of the current economic issues if he is elected but is especially concerned about human trafficking.

“I want to send the message this is not the state to be trafficking in,” he said.

Stutsman was unable to be reached for comment Tuesday evening but, according to her website, she will work to manage the state’s budgets and create partnerships to effectively carry out state government work.

Archer and Sherman spoke with individual customers during their appearance at the restaurant packed with a visibly large Republican turnout.

“This the most critical election in my lifetime,” said Dale Petersen, an Iowa City resident who attended the event. “I’m concerned about my children’s and grandchildren’s future if we don’t cut the deficit.”

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