Wall Street Bailout Issue in Race Between Two Iowa Congressmen

Photograph by Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, left, talks with Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, during a Statehouse rally in Des Moines, Iowa.

Updated: 5:15 p.m.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program is a campaign issue in a race between two Iowa U.S. House members who took opposite positions on the $700 billion Wall Street financial bailout.

Democrat Leonard Boswell “voted for the TARP Wall Street bailout,” a narrator says in an ad for Republican Tom Latham that first aired in Des Moines last night, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG.

Boswell voted for TARP in October 2008 along with 171 other Democrats and 91 Republicans, including Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee; John Boehner of Ohio, who’s now the House Speaker; and Eric Cantor of Virginia, who’s now the Majority Leader. Latham is a close political ally of Boehner.

At the time of the vote, Boswell said the House “voted for the good of the country” and that it was a recognition that “what happens on Wall Street affects Main Street.”

Latham’s ad also attacks Boswell for backing the 2010 health-care overhaul, which didn’t receive any Republican backing, and for opposing trade agreements with Panama and South Korea that Latham’s ad said would have helped Iowa’s farmers and economy.

Boswell said he couldn’t vote for trade agreements “that only benefit big corporations at the expense of our working class.”

Latham’s ad also refers to his Nov. 6 opponent as “longtime congressman Leonard Boswell,” even though Latham was first elected to Congress in 1994, two years before Boswell. It’s a sign that even veteran members of Congress may distance themselves from an institution that has approval ratings near historic lows.

Boswell and Latham are seeking Iowa’s 3rd District in and around Des Moines following changes made in redistricting last year. Iowa’s House delegation is shrinking by one seat, to four overall, after slow population growth in the past decade.

Boswell currently represents more of the reconfigured district, while Latham is better-funded, with $2.1 million in campaign funds to Boswell’s $474,000 as of June 30.

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