DES MOINES | Iowa Democrats called on Republican U.S. Senate candidates to denounce a man they call “intolerant” and “hateful.”

Democrats said they take offense with Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger and author who was selected to moderate the U.S. Senate Family Forum Friday hosted by the Family Leader, a social conservative organization. Erickson is editor-in-chief of and filled in Tuesday on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.

“I’m concerned and troubled that GOP Senate candidates are providing Erick Erickson a high-profile platform this Friday,” said former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge on Wednesday outside the Statehouse.

State Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, and Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Troy Price also spoke out against Erickson’s presence at the forum.

They quoted sentiments Erickson has made regarding women and his strong opposition to same-sex marriage. McCoy, an openly gay member of the Legislature, called Erickson a “symbol of backwards, extreme conservative policies” that don’t have a place in a state that has led the way for marriage equality.

“By denouncing Erick Erickson and refusing to endorse his extreme views they’ll (candidates) have an opportunity to demonstrate that no matter what your political affiliation, Iowa values are not based on hate, intolerance or obstructionism,” Judge said. “What comes out of Erick Erickson’s mouth is not welcome in our state.”

Republican Senate candidates Joni Ernst, Sam Clovis, Mark Jacobs and Matt Whittaker are slated to attend the event.

Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of The Family Leader, said none of the candidates have said they are backing out and anticipates Erickson will “do a great job moderating” Friday.

He said the forums focus will not be on Erickson but on what the candidates say during the debate.

Price said the Iowa Democratic Party plans to protest the forum, which will be held at the Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny.

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