WATERLOO — U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield hit the campaign trail Saturday in front of a computer screen.
The Des Moines businesswoman and one of five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the June 2 primary hosted a “virtual meet and greet” using a Zoom meeting joined by more than two dozen Iowans, many from Black Hawk County.
Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of rock ‘n’ roll doo-wop group Sha Na Na joined the electronic chat to play a couple of songs and voice his support for Greenfield to win the nomination and defeat incumbent Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in November.
Welcome to political campaigning during the COVID-19 pandemic, where door-knocking, living room speeches and crowded campaign rallies have been scuttled by the need for social distancing.
Greenfield, a 56-year-old president of a small commercial real estate business, focused the hourlong Zoom gathering on her support of Social Security while criticizing Ernst’s record on the program and votes against the Affordable Care Act.
“Social Security and Medicare have just been fundamental to taking care of one another, whether you’re a young widow like me or whether you’re a granny somewhere across this country,” she said.
Greenfield’s first husband was a union electric lineman who died in a workplace accident.
“I suddenly became a widow, a single mom with a 13-month-old and another one on the way,” she said. “I’m here to tell you I wouldn’t be here today, I wouldn’t have achieved all that I’ve achieved, without Social Security and those union benefits.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Along with his fame from Sha Na Na, which appeared at Woodstock and in the movie “Grease,” Bauman represents Social Security Works, a national organization that advocates for strengthening the federal program.
Bauman showed off his classical music chops with a keyboard version of Frederic Chopin’s Etude in E Major — dedicated to his mother, a former Social Security recipient — and sang a version of the classic rock song “Good Night Sweetheart.”
In between songs, Bauman called Ernst’s record on Social Security “abysmal” and said Social Security Works was taking the rare step of endorsing Greenfield during a primary race.
Other candidates seeking Iowa’s Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate are Michael Franken of Sioux City, Kimberly Graham of Indianola, Eddie Mauro of Des Moines and Cal Woods of West Des Moines.