116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CENTRAL CITY — The road to the majority runs through Iowa, and the combination of Democrats’ “radical left agenda” and presidential incompetence is paving the way for a Republican takeover of Congress, according to the slate of Republican speakers at a kickoff rally for Rep. Ashley Hinson’s reelection.
“There is a tidal wave building,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told a crowd of nearly 700 people Saturday at the Linn County Fairgrounds.
He said people are not happy with Democrats who shut down small businesses, closed schools and are “trying to silence and take away the freedoms of millions of Americans.
“We’re getting pissed off,” the winner of Iowa’s 2016 first-in-the-nation caucuses said. “These tin pot socialists tick off the American people at their peril.”
Darran Whiting of Marion agreed it’s likely conservatives will win control of the House next year because “as I listen to people, they’re fed up with what’s going on, and Democrats are making it very easy for a very big win in 2022.”
After a moment of silence for the Marines killed in Afghanistan, Hinson welcomed a “star-studded” lineup that included Cruz and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, as well as Sen. Chuck Grassley, Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Randy Feenstra. America’s longest-serving governor, former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, was on hand, too.
Fortunately for Iowa’s 1st District, Cruz said, Hinson “wakes up every day in Washington, straps on her gladiator armor and goes and battles the lunatics.”
She was not without her detractors at the Central City fairgrounds. Standing in front of a mobile billboard, speakers with Progress Iowa called out Hinson for opposing the American Rescue Plan and expanded health care.
“Rep. Hinson had a historic opportunity to deliver for the people of Iowa back in March by voting in favor of the American Rescue Plan, but she instead wholeheartedly opposed this landmark piece of legislation,” said Stacey Walker, a Linn County supervisor.
“When you’re elected to Congress, you’re expected to fight for the people you represent,” added Laura Packard, executive director of Health Care Voter. “These issues are too important to ignore — Rep. Hinson needs to stop saying no to Iowans’ health care.”
Hinson’s BBQ Bash was, according to many longtime Republicans in the crowd, the largest off-year campaign event they can recall for an Iowa U.S. House member. It wasn’t lost on the freshman representative, who will face a challenge from Democratic State Sen. Liz Mathis.
“Sen. Cruz hit the nail on the head: People are ticked off,” Hinson said. “Clearly what’s on people’s minds is they think this country is going in the wrong direction, and they are ready to engage. They’re here today to support me because they know it’s time to speak up, and they know they have a representative who will continue to speak up.”
The death of American servicemen and women in Kabul is only the latest debacle by President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats, Hinson said. She criticized the president for poor planning of the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Miller-Meeks, who served 24 years in the Army, took it up a notch, calling Afghanistan “Biden’s Saigon.” She has called on Biden to resign.
The Marines “did not deserve to be betrayed by their president,” said Miller-Meeks, prompting calls of “traitor” and “try him for treason.”
Hinson set a tone for the afternoon, framing the 2022 election as being about the future of the country.
“We all know what’s at stake in this next election,” she said. “It is truly the future of this country. It’s why you sent me to Washington to work for you, to be your voice.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, she said, America’s economy was strong. The Republican formula of lower taxes, less regulation and letting people do what they do best was working.
“We’re seeing President Biden and Nancy Pelosi take this country in the wrong direction,” Hinson said. “We’ve put our safety and security at risk both here at home and overseas.”
There’s also a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, she said, as more than a million illegal immigrants have crossed into the United States this year.
“We need to build the wall,” she said, which drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd — many wearing Trump shirts and caps.
“We love President Trump don’t we,” Hinson said, adding that she’s been advocating for Trump’s policies that worked.
Democrats “came to town to transform America,” said Grassley, who is expected to announce his reelection campaign in November, “and Ashley and I and other Republicans are there to preserve America. I think you have to realize this is a real transformation if they get their program, it won’t be the America we’ve had for 240 years.”
Democrats “don’t love the America we love,” McDaniel added.
When Republicans talk to their friends and neighbors about that love of country, they can change votes, she said.
“When we have those conversations, we make a difference,” McDaniel said. “You are the backbone of our party. In a midterm election when fewer people turn out, you will be the difference between whether or not we retire Nancy Pelosi.”
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