ELECTION 2020

In Cedar Rapids campaign events, Democrats and Republicans agree on election's importance

But parties quickly diverge as Republican Nikki Haley, Democrat Rob Sand work to get out the vote

From left: Marcia Rogers, Dale Todd and Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand applaud as they listen to Ashley Burns speak as to w
From left: Marcia Rogers, Dale Todd and Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand applaud as they listen to Ashley Burns speak as to why she is voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President during a “Why We Vote” news conference at Noelridge Park in northeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — It may be unusual, but in separate events Wednesday in Cedar Rapids, Democrats and Republicans found not one but two areas of agreement.

First: This 2020 election is the most important one of our lifetimes.

“The 2020 election might be the most consequential election of my lifetime,” health care worker Ashley Burns said. “I said that in 2016, but I mean it even more so today. Everything that we care about is on the ballot,”

And second: With voting ending Nov. 3, it’s get-out-the-vote time.

“We have do our part, to go to our email our lists and tell them that we’re supporting Ashley and we want your friends and family to support her, too,” former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said at a campaign stop with Republican U.S. House candidate Ashley Hinson, a state representative. “We got to make sure people get out to vote. You can be as passionate as you want, but if you’re not getting out to vote, it doesn’t matter.”

The agreement between the parties, though, didn’t go much beyond that.

Haley, who was governor of South Carolina before her UN posting, made multiple stops across Iowa on behalf of GOP candidates including 2nd Congressional District GOP nominee Mariannette Miller-Meeks and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst. Wednesday evening, she was the featured speaker at the Johnson County Reagan Society Dinner.

At Hinson’s campaign headquarters in northeast Cedar Rapids, Haley said incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer doesn’t represent the 1st District, which includes Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Waterloo and Marshalltown.

“We had a hiccup in 2018 and we got someone in there that didn’t need to be in there,” Haley said about Finkenauer’s defeat of Republican U.S. Rep. Rod Blum. “But now that she’s in there, she is a Pelosi protégé” who voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 93 percent of the time.

“She’s against Second Amendment, she wants to go and socialize health care, which would hurt our rural hospitals here in the area the most,” Haley added.

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However, Finkenauer spokeswoman McKenzie Wilson rejected Haley’s criticism as “simply inaccurate.”

“She supports the Second Amendment, and she has been a champion for rural hospitals and accessible, affordable health care,” Wilson said. “Eighty-one percent of her votes in Congress have been bipartisan and she’s stood up to her party when it matters.”

Down the street at Noelridge Park, the Biden presidential campaign hosted a “Why We Vote” news conference where State Auditor Rob Sand there are many reasons to vote this year — including some he never thought he would have to talk about.

“That is whether or not we even have a peaceful transition of power if Donald Trump loses the election,” Sand said. “It is unconscionable and un-American for a president of the U.S. to stand up and say that he would not be willing to commit to that after it’s been determined that he has lost an election.”

The Democrats’ bus tour also was scheduled to make stops in Mason City and Waterloo.

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

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