Finkenauer scores another labor endorsement

She tries to fend off 3 rivals to face U.S. Rep. Rod Blum

State Rep. and Democratic candidate for U.S. House Abby Finkenauer talks Saturday during a 1st District Candidates Meet
State Rep. and Democratic candidate for U.S. House Abby Finkenauer talks Saturday during a 1st District Candidates Meet and Greet hosted by the Linn Phoenix Club at Raygun in Cedar Rapids, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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Iowa 1st District Democratic congressional hopeful state Rep. Abby Finkenauer has scored another labor union endorsement. This one is from the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO that represents 520 unions in Iowa with more than 50,000 members.

“Iowa’s working men and women have a true ally in Abby Finkenauer,” said Ken Sagar, president of Iowa Fed. “Abby stood up and fought hard against the GOP efforts to strip collective bargaining and workers’ compensation (in the 2017 Iowa Legislature) and we know she’ll bring that same grit and determination to Congress.”

The endorsement, the 15th by a labor union for Finkenauer, comes two weeks before the June 5 primary in which she faces three other Democrats seeking their party’s nomination to face GOP Rep. Rod Blum in the November general election. They are George Ramsey, Courtney Rowe and Thomas Heckroth.

The endorsement is a boost in the final weeks of the primary campaign, according to the campaign that is airing a TV ad entitled “Shirt,” which introduces Finkenauer as a fighter for working families.

She has raised nearly $500,000 in the first three months of the year. Reflecting Democratic enthusiasm and voter disenchantment with the Republican majority in Washington, political handicappers have moved the Iowa 1st District race from “lean Republican” to “tossup.” Polling has shown the race to be competitive.

The string of labor union endorsements, capped by the Iowa Fed backing, reflects her ability to talk to union members and persuade them to support a Democratic candidate in the 20-county northeast Iowa congressional district that includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Dubuque and Marshalltown, Finkenauer told a Democratic fundraising group over the weekend.

Forty-eight percent of union members voted for then-presidential candidates Donald Trump, Finkenauer said at a Linn County Phoenix Club candidate meet-and-greet Saturday.


“That is a problem,” she said. “If that is your stat, we’re always going to lose Iowa because, quite frankly, either you are in a labor union, you know someone who is, or you are related to someone who is, like I am.”

Many of those folks were disenchanted in 2016 because they felt Washington has forgotten them “because Washington has,” Finkenauer said. “The policies being pushed there are throwing them under the bus every single time.”

She believes she can win back those union voters and deny Blum a third term.

“I can walk into a union hall and talk to folks and it not be talking points, but it will be from my life. There’s your difference,” Finkenauer said.

She described union members as “my friends and family … that I have been fighting for every single day.”

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

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