116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
They’re really simple questions.
“Do you disavow the proliferation of baseless election claims about the 2020 election? Why or why not?”
That was among six questions the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press, the Bellevue Herald-Leader and the DeWitt Observer, all owned by Maquoketa-based Sycamore Media, asked state legislative candidates as part of an election questionnaire.
Democrats didn’t have a problem answering.
“I am very troubled by the continued baseless claim that the 2020 election was rigged, fraudulent and corrupt. And I am further troubled by many of Iowa’s Republicans who do not openly condemn such claims,” wrote Tony Amsler, the Democratic candidate in House District 66 who is challenging Republican state Rep. Steven Bradley.
The 2020 election was done correctly. Election officials completed the counting in a fair and appropriate manner,” wrote Matt Robinson, the Democratic candidate in Senate District 33 challenging Republican Sen. Carrie Koelker.
But Republicans had issues with the question, which is clearly about claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Some danced around it without giving a straight answer.
“In Iowa, we trust our secretary of state for fair elections,” Bradley wrote.
“All Iowans can rest assured that the results of the 2020 election in Iowa were accurate and verifiable,” wrote Republican Rep. Norlin Mommsen, who is running in House District 70.
Koelker refused to answer the question. Republican Sen. Chris Cournoyer bashed the newspapers for even asking it.
“I didn’t initially answer this question because I didn’t think it was a serious question,” Cournoyer wrote. “As a journalist, you shouldn’t be taking your questions from the Democratic Party’s playbook and their feeble attempt to distract voters …”
Speaking of feeble, the list of Iowa Republicans who won’t acknowledge the reality of a free and fair 2020 presidential election remains stubbornly long. It’s not surprising, but still jarring, to watch GOP candidates twist themselves in knots clinging to the evidence-free contention that the election was rigged. Some truly believe it. Others fear angering the GOP’s MAGA base.
Maquoketa offers some other examples of what the Republican Party has become.
Last month, at a Maquoketa School Board meeting, people demanded that a teacher be forced to take down a pride flag and a Black Lives Matter banner in her classroom, according to the Sentinel-Press’ Kelly Gerlach. Leading the charge was Mommsen, who introduced a bill this year calling for cameras in classrooms to monitor teachers. At the meeting, he unfurled a “Let’s Go Brandon” flag and asked if it’s his right to fly it in the cafeteria.
“Someday my students are going to go out into the world. They’re going to see things and people that they’ve never seen before,” the teacher, Mykah Kennedy, told the board. “By being aware of others that are different from them, they will be more prepared to enter college or the workforce. … It is crucial that my students understand how to face those that are different from them in this country.”
At the same meeting, the book “Gender Queer” was yet again challenged. Turns out it’s not in the district’s libraries.
Election denial, attacks on teachers and banning books. Early voting starts Oct. 19.
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