CEDAR RAPIDS — State Rep. Abby Finkenauer was the first to announce plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Rod Blum and now she’s scored the first major endorsement of the race.
The Dubuque Democrat is being endorsed by Emily’s List today, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics.
Finkenauer, 28, a Dubuque native and second-term state lawmaker, is the youngest woman with an abortion rights platform to be endorsed by Emily’s List in the 2018 campaign cycle.
“The people of Iowa deserve a leader like Abby Finkenauer,” said Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock. In the Iowa Legislature, “she’s been not just a vote, but a voice for working families.”
That stands in stark contrast to Blum, who Schriock described as a “Trump ‘yes man’ who supported the catastrophic bill to take health care away from an estimated 23 million people and has called the investigation into Russian interference with the American election ‘political theatrics.’”
“The working families of Iowa’s 1st Congressional District need someone who will put their best interests first in Washington,” she said.
Finkenauer’s roots in the community run deep. She grew up in a union household — her father was a pipe fitter welder and her mom worked for the Dubuque public school.
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“The values instilled by her family of hard work and service meant Abby was going to do all she could to finish college even with student loan debt,” Schriock said.
The Emily’s List endorsement recognizes her history of “never backing down when Iowans need their voice heard and the hard work I’m putting in to take on an out of touch Freedom Caucus member like Rod Blum,” Finkenauer said.
“I’ve been a fighter for working families in the Statehouse,” she said. “This endorsement, coupled with my support of over 20 local elected officials, labor leaders, and community leaders puts our campaign in a strong position to win this district back for hardworking Iowans who deserve to have a seat at the table in Washington, DC.”
An Emily’s List endorsement comes with several forms of assistance — financial, including access to a donor network, communications support and candidate training. The organization has raised over $500 million to support pro-abortion rights Democratic women candidates and has a grass roots community of over 5 million members.
According to the most recent Federal Elections Commission report, Blum, a Dubuque businessman seeking a third term in Congress, has raised nearly $579,000. Finkenauer has not reported fundraising activity.
Finkenauer already has a wealth of experience in the political arena. She began her career as a legislative aide and she was just 24 when she was to run for an open seat in the Iowa House. She emerged from a crowded field to win by a wide margin to become the third-youngest woman serving in a state legislature in the country.
Emily’s List, which supported Democrat Monica Vernon in 2016, has seen a surge in female candidates in this cycle. Nearly 15,000 women have reached out to the organization about running for office. It believes that flipping the House to Democratic control is within reach.
The Democratic primary contest has attracted two other announced candidates, Courtney Rowe and George Ramsey, both of Cedar Rapids. Thomas Heckroth of Cedar Falls has been touring the district to meet with activists. Linn County Supervisors Brent Oleson and Stacey Walker both are considering the race as is Sen. Jeff Danielson of Cedar Falls.
For more information, visit www.abbyfinkenauer.com.
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