Government

Iowa 1st District campaign ad war escalating

Abby Finkenauer speaks at a canvassing event for  Finkenauer at her campaign office on First Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids on Friday, June 29, 2018. Finkenauer was joined by state and federal representatives, as well as the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Abby Finkenauer speaks at a canvassing event for Finkenauer at her campaign office on First Avenue Southeast in Cedar Rapids on Friday, June 29, 2018. Finkenauer was joined by state and federal representatives, as well as the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — The congressional campaign in northeast Iowa is heating up, with both major party candidates releasing television ads.

First District Democratic challenger Rep. Abby Finkenauer is running her second television ad of the general election campaign.

The ad is aimed at working people all across the 1st District, “introducing them to Abby and her fierce work ethic standing up for the folks Washington and Rod Blum have forgotten,” according to the campaign.

“Working people in Iowa are ready to send someone to D.C. who will fight for them, not the special interests,” Finkenauer said. “In the Iowa Legislature I wasn’t just a vote for the issues important to working families, I was a voice — and I’ll do the same in Congress.”

Finkenauer’s ad features a testimonial by Tom Townsend, business manager for IBEW Local 704 in Dubuque. As of 2016, the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO had given her a lifetime score of 96 percent.

“Abby Finkenauer is always very hardworking in everything she does because she truly cares,” Townsend says in the 30-second spot. “And when she says it, she means it. It’s not politics to her, it’s real.

“She had our back in Des Moines. I know she’ll have our back in Congress.”

Republican Rep. Rod Blum has released his first television ad, a 30-second biography that includes his parents’ advice to “study hard, work harder and never give up.”

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The spot also highlights his 30-year business career, including being named Iowa Entrepreneur of the Year and growing his company from five employees to more than 300.

“In Congress, Rod passed tax cuts for the middle class and fights to drain the swamp with term limits and a lifetime lobby ban,” the narrator says.

And Americans for Prosperity is kicking off digital ads to complement its districtwide mail and door-knocking efforts “to let Iowan’s know that Rep. Blum has championed good policies for the benefit of his constituents,” according to Drew Klein Iowa director for the conservative-libertarian group that advocates for limited government and fiscal restraint.

“AFP has been active for years in encouraging our elected leaders, including Rep. Blum, to enact good policies,” Klein said. This campaign effort will highlight “policy changes that are having such a positive impact on the country and advancing opportunity through economic growth, job production, rising wages and greater prosperity.”

AFP specifically praised Blum’s votes for tax relief and eliminate “burdensome regulations that hurt small business.”

Blum currently has an 88 percent rating from AFP and a lifetime score of 92 percent based on his support for its agenda.

The Finkenauer campaign was skeptical Blum and AFP will convince northeast Iowans that the federal tax changes passed last year benefited them.

“No amount of mail or door-knocking from his national Republican allies can change the fact that this tax bill largely favored the wealthy and corporations over working people and hasn’t produced the wage increases we were promised,” Finkenauer campaign manager Kane Miller said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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