Iowa governor hopeful Glasson launching TV campaign with call for universal health care

Cathy Glasson speaks as she announces her bid for the Iowa governor race at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Cedar Rapi
Cathy Glasson speaks as she announces her bid for the Iowa governor race at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — With her campaign arsenal stocked with nearly $2 million in support from fellow Service Employees International Union members around the country, Cathy Glasson is set to become the third Iowa Democratic gubernatorial hopeful to launch a television campaign.

Glasson, a Coralville intensive care nurse and SEIU leader, will launch a six-figure television ad in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets Thursday, according to her campaign. She will join presumptive Democratic front-runner Fred Hubbell and Sen. Nate Boulton, both of Des Moines, who also are running television ads. Bolton’s first ads showed up on TV screens this week. Hubbell has been on TV since October.

With $1.8 million from SEIU and several of its affiliates around the country, Glasson also joins Hubbell in raising more than $1 million in campaign funds. He announced his fundraising haul in July, a week after announcing for the 2018 race for governor.

Hubbell, Glasson and five other Democrats seeking the nomination to face GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds in November will report their fundraising numbers this week. Jan. 19 is the first reporting date for the candidates ahead of the June 5 primary election.

In her ad, “Heart,” Glasson says “I’ve listened to Iowans and I believe Iowans and the country are ready to rise up for universal health care.”

“As an intensive care nurse, I’ve seen it up close and I believe in my heart that health care is a fundamental human right,” she says, adding that “health care is not a privilege … not a luxury.”

Glasson, who has been endorsed by the National Nurses Union and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, has focused her campaign on universal health care, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and making it easier to join a union.


Speaking on background, a campaign official said the TV ad, along with digital and radio advertising, will help boost Glasson’s name recognition. Early polling has shown her to be competitive with others, but like the other Democrats, largely unknown to most Iowa voters. In a November poll, 64 percent of respondents said they hadn’t heard of Glasson.

The campaign has been focusing its energy on building a grass roots organization of volunteers who have pledged to, among other things, each recruit 15 more Glasson supporters. The campaign is encouraged by the follow through, including volunteers door-knocking in frigid temperatures this week.

In addition to Glasson, Boulton and Hubbell, the Democratic field also includes former party Chairwoman Andy McGuire, former U.S. Department of Agriculture chief of staff John Norris, former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn and Jon Neiderbach, former member of the Des Moines School Board.

For more on Glasson, visit

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