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Spat on TouchPlay, gambling heats up in gov's race

Associated Press

KWWL-TV7, Waterloo

October 24, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by KWWL-TV7, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of KWWL-TV7.]

DES MOINES, Iowa The clash in the governor's race over TouchPlay and gambling is heating up even more.
It all started on Saturday during the last debate between Republican Jim Nussle and Democrat Chet Culver.

Nussle accused Culver of having a "secret plan" to restore the banned TouchPlay lottery machines. Culver shot back, accusing Nussle of having ties to the casino industry that pressured lawmakers to ban TouchPlay last session.

Sally Pederson, the head of the Iowa Democratic Party, now says Nussle's campaign has taken more than 250-thousand dollars from gambling interests. She also says Nussle's finance chairman, Gerald Kirke (kirk), owns casinos in Emmetsburg and Clinton. She asks, could that mean Nussle has a secret deal with gambling forces?

Meanwhile, Republican House Speaker Chris Rants says legislative Democrats are taking money from a political action committee funded by former TouchPlay business owners. He says that means gambling forces are hoping Democrats win a majority in the Legislature next month and they'll expect something back for their support.

Pederson says that Rants also has a political action committee that has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from gambling businesses.

Rants says his record shows he's opposed expansion of gambling.

Democratic Senate Leader Mike Gronstal says the whole accusation of secret deals is a desperate last-minute campaign attack by Republicans.