116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Attempting to diminish the significance of poll numbers and fundraising both lagging behind Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear told Linn County supporters Thursday that such figures do not capture the sentiment of Iowans.
Campaign filings this week showed Reynolds has more than 10 times as much cash in her campaign coffers as DeJear in her bid for a second full term, as a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows the Osceola Republican with a 17-point lead in the race.
“That poll gives us a barometer, but it does not tell us what people actually feel all over this state,” DeJear told about 75 attendees of a fundraiser at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, which included candidates, elected officials, local activists and faith leaders. “What does that is our continued efforts and our approach to meet people where they are.”
The November race for governor is “tough,” she said, but Reynolds’ approval ratings have fallen as people of all political stripes “don’t like the direction of this state.”
The most recent Iowa Poll found Reynolds’ approval rating has risen in recent months. Overall, 52 percent of Iowans approve of the way she is handling her job — up from 49 percent in March.
“They see that there is a stronger Iowa in our future and our current governor is just holding us back,” DeJear said of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike.
On a recent swing through Western Iowa, DeJear said Iowans were making do grappling with their challenges. She said that showed her Iowans already have the vision and solutions to move the state forward.
“We’re not short of vision, folks,” DeJear said. “We just need a governor that’s willing to turn the lights on.”
Eric Van Lancker, DeJear’s running mate, said Iowans’ concerns that DeJear hears on the campaign trail are issues the Reynolds administration is not addressing: “How am I going to pay for these groceries? Can I afford the rent that I’m paying now? Can I take my child to this doctor’s appointment and afford it?”
DeJear’s solutions are “from the heart — Iowa solutions,” he said.
“She’s spending time listening to Iowans from every corner of this state to understand the common grounds that Iowans share,” Van Lancker said.
If elected, Van Lancker told The Gazette their Day 1 priority would be to “fund public schools.” DeJear said that starts with early childhood education and continues through the community colleges and public universities governed by the Iowa Board of Regents.
“It impacts every aspect of what we're doing right now when we look at the challenges we have” with a shortage of skilled workers to fill empty jobs in Iowa, DeJear said.
Despite likely facing a Republican-led Legislature if elected as a Democratic governor, DeJear said she would reach across the aisle and work with people regardless of political affiliation. She said she and Van Lancker, the Clinton County auditor, would focus on empowering local communities to ensure all of Iowa’s 99 counties are strong.
DeJear said there is a strong path to victory if, unlike 2018, independent voters, people of color and the age 18 to 24 voting bloc all cast ballots.
To rally the reliably blue Linn County base around other Democratic candidates on the November ballot, Ann Brown, who co-hosted the fundraiser with Amara Andrews, highlighted elected officials in the room, including some who are seeking re-election.
Brown also mentioned several candidates, including Elizabeth Wilson in Iowa House District 73, a district “we need to keep Democratic” — and Kris Nall in Iowa House District 83 in rural Linn County — “a potential pickup for the Democrats.”
DeJear urged people to raise money so the campaign can air ads on TV and volunteers can make phones and knock doors to spread her message.
She asked if the attendees were willing to bring home her victory for Iowa in honor of the people who’ve fought in the past for the rights to vote, access quality education and reproductive health care.
“We've seen their playbook,” DeJear said. “We've seen their culture wars … . We will no longer settle for their tenacious complacency, good people, because we know we're better.”
Comments: (319) 398-8494; firstname.lastname@example.org