ELECTION 2020

Former Ambassador Terry Branstad, Gov. Reynolds reunite to campaign for Joni Ernst

The governor and former governor campaign for the GOP senator while she's in Washington, D.C., for Supreme Court nominee hearings

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during an On Duty for Joni event at the Cedar Rapids GOP Victory Office in northeast Cedar
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during an On Duty for Joni event at the Cedar Rapids GOP Victory Office in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Terry Branstad, former governor and U.S. Ambassador to China, was in Iowa Tuesday to stump alongside Gov. Kim Reynolds voicing support for the re-election of fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.

Ernst was in Washington, D.C., as a member of the Senate judiciary, to take part in the hearings for the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.

Branstad, who returned to Iowa earlier this year after spending three years in China as President Donald Trump’s appointed ambassador, said he was happy to be back in Linn County.

“When you look at the challenges you faced here with the (Aug. 10) storm damage, with the virus, with all the other issues, and you look at the fact that Iowa is one of best financially managed, fiscally strong states you look at Illinois, they are a basket case begging for a bailout,” Branstad said outside the Cedar Rapids GOP Victory Office on Boyson Road NE.

In voicing his support for Ernst, Branstad said, New York Democratic “Sen. (Chuck) Schumer and his liberal colleagues have sent millions in here to try and buy this Senate seat. It is not for sale.

“We Iowans appreciate a farm girl who has worked all her life.”

The former ambassador to China also talked about his experience overseas and defended Trump’s use of the phrase “China virus” when referring to the coronavirus.

“Trump is telling the truth about where it started. There’s no question it started in Wuhan,” Branstad said.

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“I worked hard to build relationships. Despite that relationship and my respect for the Chinese people, this whole pandemic started as a virus in Wuhan and they could’ve controlled it . They had a big party there for Chinese New Year and then people went all over the world.”

Reynolds, who served for more six years as Branstad’s lieutenant governor before being elected in her own right in 2018, said she still is against a mask mandate and puts her trust in Iowans.

The state’s hospitalization numbers, which are the highest they have been thus far, are due to “delayed care” because of people fearing to seek care due to the virus, she said.

“If you fall into categories and are more likely to be impacted by COVID-19, maybe you need to stay home,” Reynolds said. “Wash your hands often, stay home when you’re sick.

“Hopefully we will see a lighter flu season as Iowans have been doing these things already. But we have to continue to open up and bring some type of normalcy to our lives.”

While touting Ernst’s candidacy, Reynolds said that, “I’m so proud to be on duty for Joni while she’s in Washington, D.C., fighting hard for Iowa values. She’s working on the Judiciary Committee for what I hope is the next Supreme Court justice.”

State Rep. Ashley Hinson, the Republican candidate for U.S. House District 1, introduced Reynolds and Branstad to a crowd of around 25 people, the majority wearing masks.

“My first term started under Branstad and I’ve had the pleasure to serve under Gov. Reynolds,” Hinson, who has been a state representative since 2017. “I think it’s very important to send common-sense leadership to D.C.”

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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