State Rep. Dan Muhlbauer, D-Manilla, right) speaks with Carroll Rotary Club president Clay Haley Monday following the organization&rsquo;s weekly luncheon at the Carrollton Centre. <span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Daily Times Herald photo by Douglas Burns</em></span>
State Rep. Dan Muhlbauer, D-Manilla, right) speaks with Carroll Rotary Club president Clay Haley Monday following the organization’s weekly luncheon at the Carrollton Centre. Daily Times Herald photo by Douglas Burns
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

State Rep. Dan Muhlbauer, D-Manilla, used the collegial setting of Carroll Rotary Club Monday to pledge a campaign without negative mailers and attack ads.

Holding an example of such a flyer supporting other candidates as he started a speech, Muhlbauer said, “You will not see me going there.”

“I just don’t think doing negative ads helps anything,” Muhlbauer said during the Rotary’s noon luncheon at the Carrollton Centre.

Later, in an interview, Muhlbauer said he could control his own campaign’s ads and those from the House Democratic Caucus. There are many outside organizations over which Muhlbauer, and other candidates for that matter, have no influence.

One reason Muhlbauer may be holding off on the pointed ads consuming the airwaves and crowding local mailboxes is his voting record. He often votes with Republicans.

In fact, over the past two years, Muhlbauer crossed party lines more than 40 times, making him one of the more bipartisan elected official in the Iowa House, Muhlbauer said, citing figures provided by Statehouse staff.

Muhlbauer faces Carroll Republican Barney Bornhoft, who ran unopposed in the GOP primary this June, in  House District 12. After redistricting, House District 12 is comprised of all of Carroll and Audubon counties and the eastern half of Crawford County. While Muhlbauer is an incumbent, the seat is very much an open one.

For his part, Muhlbauer, who is involved in the livestock industry, said he sees many issues in the Legislature cutting along rural-urban lines, largely because city dwellers don’t understand life on the farm.

“They think we’re out here to destroy the lands,” Muhlbauer said.

But much of urban Iowa doesn’t see how the rest of the nation views the state as a whole, Muhlbauer said.

“When you go to Washington, D.C., all of Iowa is rural,” he said.

What’s more, rural Iowans have carried the state through the recent recession, Muhlbauer said.

Muhlbauer serves as ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee.

“I know I’m in the minority party, but yet we have to have respect, we have to have trust in one another, and I am building that,” he said.

During session Muhlbauer said he receives 50 to 300 emails daily and tries to answer all of them.

“I make a lot of phone calls back, and I listen constantly to what they tell me so I know how to vote and what positions I need to take,” he said.

Muhlbauer said he is widely supported by the more muscular agricultural associations in Iowa, including the corn growers, cattlemen, pork producers and turkey producers.

“I will do what is best for the state of Iowa and for this district no matter what party comes up with the idea,” Muhlbauer said.

While Muhlbauer said he is taking a bipartisan approach, the Manilla Democrat said he will “probably” support the re-election bid of President Barack Obama in the Democratic White House holder’s race with former GOP Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“I know where he (President Obama) is at,” Muhlbauer said. “I know what he stands for. He is out there. He has some social issues that are troublesome, but yet when it comes down to helping the middle-class I  think he is more intact working with the middle class rather than Romney that is more for the big commercial and the big class.”