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Campaign Almanac: Franken passes Grassley in fundraising for U.S. Senate race
Also, Deidre DeJear announces event with Cori Bush and U.S. Chamber endorses Chuck Grassley
Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau
Oct. 18, 2022 11:44 am, Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 4:12 pm
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mike Franken raised more than double the amount of Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley in the last three months, pulling in $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2022 while Grassley raised close to $1.7 million.
Franken also pulled ahead in total fundraising, closing the quarter with $8.2 million raised to date compared with Grassley’s $7.9 million for the election cycle, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The incumbent commands a lead when it comes to cash on hand, closing the reporting period with $3.9 million in the bank, while Franken ended the period with $1.3 million just weeks before Election Day. The reporting period ran from July 1 to Sept. 30.
Franken’s campaign said the numbers show the Democratic challenger is gaining momentum in what has been seen as a long-shot race to defeat a seven-term incumbent.
“Admiral Franken will represent all Iowans in the Senate by lowering costs, protecting our democracy, and will never take a dime of corporate PAC money,” Franken’s campaign spokesperson C.J. Petersen said in a statement. “The senator we’ve got isn’t working for us — the senator we need is Admiral Mike Franken.”
Grassley’s campaign said the cash-on-hand difference shows Grassley is in a strong position going into the election. The campaign pointed to a lack of support for Franken from large national Democratic organizations.
“Franken was written off by Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and now we are seeing his campaign spend itself into the ground without gaining traction,” Grassley’s campaign spokesperson Michaela Sundermann said in a statement.
The reports come as the latest Iowa Poll from the Des Moines Register, conducted by pollster J. Ann Selzer, found Grassley with a 3-point lead over Franken, closing from an 8-point gap in July. The poll suggests the closest re-election bid for Grassley since his first election to the Senate in 1980.
DeJear to campaign in Davenport with Cori Bush
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deidre DeJear’s campaign announced over the weekend plans to hold a rally for women’s reproductive rights in Davenport on Saturday alongside Missouri Democratic U.S. Rep. Cori Bush and state Rep. Phyllis Thede, D-Bettendorf.
The Republican Party of Iowa was quick to seize on the announcement, noting Bush has embraced the “defund the police” slogan blamed for staving off greater Democratic gains in 2020.
Republican Party of Iowa Co-Chair Linda Upmeyer, in a statement, said DeJear’s invitation to campaign with Bush in the state shows “Iowa Democrats have confirmed that they will stand with the most radical elements of their party."
Political observers on social media have called it an unorthodox strategy for a candidate down double-digits in a state trending more Republican to campaign alongside a candidate tied to the controversial “defund the police” message. Especially, they say, at a time when Republicans have ramped up a misleading campaign to cast Democrats as anti-police and lax on public safety.
A Reynolds TV ad in fact opens with a news clip of Bush calling to defund the police. The ad has been criticized by Democrats and Black officials in the state as a bigoted trope that uses harmful stereotypes to score political points — putting a Black female face on TV calling for defunding police, even though DeJear hasn’t said she supports defunding police.
DeJear has on multiple occasions said she does not support any policy that would be considered defunding law enforcement agencies. DeJear said she has discussed many issues with law enforcement officials during her campaign, including addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system and recidivism in the state corrections department.
DeJear on Saturday, after delivering remarks at the annual Hawkeye Area Labor Council Steak Fry in Cedar Rapids, said the planned rally with Bush had not been finalized and defended her decision to campaign alongside the Missouri congresswoman.
“I am not in alignment with all of Cori Bush’s stances on things, but there are some things where there is alignment,” DeJear said of their support for women’s reproductive rights. “The way that I choose to lead is by bringing folks together, whether I agree with everything they have to say or not, but focusing on the things in which we do agree about and push those things. … There is nothing unorthodox about bringing people together with differences in order to overcome those differences.”
U.S. Chamber endorses Grassley
The top national business lobbying organization is endorsing U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in his re-election campaign.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced its endorsement Friday at Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Walcott. Grassley is running against Mike Franken, a Democrat and retired Navy admiral.
“Sen. Grassley embodies what it means to be a pro-business, free-enterprise leader who, as we all know, has worked tirelessly for Iowans in the Senate,” said Ashlee Rich Stephenson, a political strategist with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest lobbying organization by budget, according to Open Secrets, a nonpartisan group tracking money in U.S. politics. In 2022, the U.S. Chamber has spent more than $35 million to try to influence government policy.
Rich Stephenson noted Grassley’s support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which infused cash for roads, bridges, locks and dams, and ports. That agreement, now signed into law, garnered support from 19 Senate Republicans including Grassley.
“Sen. Grassley's leadership on the important issues like infrastructure, such as the recent bipartisan infrastructure deal that just became law, to the critically necessary work on trade, tariffs, energy independence, permitting reform and improving the legal climate are just a snapshot of Sen. Grassley’s pro-business accomplishments,” Rich Stephenson said.
Fifth Republican endorses Democrat in competitive Iowa Senate campaign
The list of Republican allies choosing to endorse an incumbent Democrat’s re-election over that of a fellow Iowa GOP legislator continues to grow.
State Rep. Dave Maxwell, R-Gibson, is the fifth Republican to endorse Democratic Iowa Sen. Kevin Kinney for re-election, Kinney’s campaign announced Monday.
Kinney, 59, of Oxford, is running against state Sen. Dawn Driscoll, a 43-year-old Republican from Williamsburg, to represent Senate District 46, which includes parts of Coralville, North Liberty and Tiffin, as well as Swisher, Shueyville, the Amanas and all the way west to Victor. The incumbents were thrown into the same district due to redistricting.
Kinney has served in the Iowa Legislature since 2015 and currently represents Senate District 39. He is a farmer, former school board member and a former lieutenant with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
“Sen. Kinney always shows up for rural Iowans,” Maxwell said in a statement. “Whenever I sought Kevin’s help on a bill or needed him to attend an event, he came through. Sen. Kinney is a stand-up guy and he doesn’t care about your party affiliation. He just wants to do what’s right for Iowa, and we need more of that in our politics. Kevin is exactly the kind of leader we need in the Iowa Senate and I urge my fellow Republicans to join me in supporting Sen. Kevin Kinney in the upcoming election.”
Maxwell currently represents House District 76, which includes Poweshiek and most of Iowa counties, and has served in the Iowa Legislature since 2013.
Kinney also has been endorsed by retiring Republican state lawmaker Jarad Klein, R-Keota; Steve Stange, the Republican mayor of Solon; and former Republican opponent Michael Moore — whom Kinney defeated in a race for an Iowa Senate District 39 seat in 2014 — and Moore’s wife, Washington council member Elaine Moore.
Libertarian candidate for governor produces new ads
Rick Stewart, the Libertarian Party candidate in Iowa’s 2022 campaign for governor, has produced two new ads that he says will air on TV.
They are the second and third campaign ads for Stewart this cycle.
Stewart is running against Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear in the Nov. 8 election.
Stewart’s first new ad features his call for the state to legalize some psychedelic drugs for use as treatments for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“These medicines are completely natural and they’ve been with us for thousands of years,” Stewart says in the ad.
The federal Veterans Affairs department earlier this year launched clinic trails to explore the effectiveness and safety of treating PTSD and addiction with psychedelic drugs.
Stewart’s second new ad highlights his opposition to the use of eminent domain for the three proposed carbon capture pipelines in Iowa.
Eminent domain is the practice of government seizure of private land in order to complete an infrastructure project.
“If you want to use my property, you’re either going to have to pay me enough money or you’re going to have to go around me,” Stewart says in the ad.
Conservative group endorses Republican Bird for AG
The Family Leader, an Iowa-based Christian conservative organization, endorsed Brenna Bird in her bid for Iowa attorney general.
In a news release, the group said Bird would “defend Iowa laws and constitutional order” if elected.
The Family Leader is a major advocate of abortion restrictions in Iowa, and the news release pointed to Bird’s anti-abortion stance and other conservative positions as reasons for the endorsement.
“With the radical pro-abortion, anti-family stance of the Biden administration, it is more important than ever to have an attorney general who will stand for the protection of life and against radical gender ideology,” Family Leader Vice President Chuck Hurley said in the news release.
Bird has criticized Attorney General Tom Miller for not defending Iowa’s so-called fetal heartbeat law in court, which would have restricted abortions at six weeks. She describes herself as pro-life and has said she would defend Iowa’s laws, including abortion restrictions, if elected.
Miller, in an appearance on “Iowa Press” in September, said he did not defend the state’s fetal heartbeat bill for ethical reasons.
Prison employees’ union endorses Grassley
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, announced an endorsement from a federal prison employees’ union as he seeks re-election to his Senate seat.
The Council of Prison Locals 33 represents nearly 30,000 federal prison employees across the country. In a letter announcing the endorsement, the union’s president Shane Fausey said Grassley has been an ally of federal prison officers and employees and has supported the union’s legislative priorities.
“Sen. Grassley has showed up when it counted, speaking to Locals and employees to see the vital and dangerous work we do and hear firsthand from us about the issues we face, including staffing cuts, augmentation, and proposed cuts to our pay and retirement benefits,” Fausey said in the letter, according to a news release from the campaign.