Government

Theresa Greenfield joins Iowa's U.S. Senate race

She is third Democrat hoping to unseat Joni Ernst

The U.S. Capitol building is lit at dusk in Washington, D.C. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo)
The U.S. Capitol building is lit at dusk in Washington, D.C. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo)
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DES MOINES — A Minnesota farm girl-turned-Iowan wants to challenge an Iowa farm girl for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Theresa Greenfield announced her campaign for the U.S. Senate on Monday.

Greenfield, a 55-year-old president of a small commercial real estate business in Des Moines, is the third Democrat to announce a run for the U.S. Senate. She joins Des Moines businessman Eddie Mauro and Indianola lawyer Kimberly Graham.

They seek to earn the Democratic nomination and the right to face Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, who is facing re-election in 2020 for the first time since her first victory in 2014.

In an interview Monday and a video published online with her campaign launch, Greenfield emphasized her years growing up on a farm near a small town in southern Minnesota, just north of the border with Iowa.

“I’m a proud farm kid with farm kid values,” Greenfield says in the video, while also talking about the stress her family’s farm went through during the farm crisis of the 1980s.

“My heart and soul lies in the rural areas,” she added in the interview. “I feel really compelled to stand up and run for hardworking families and everyday Iowans.”

In the interview, Greenfield described herself as “a scrappy farm woman,” and a mother of four from a rural area who became a small-business owner.

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“I think Iowans, both Democratic primary voters and general election voters, are going to respond well to that,” Greenfield said.

Greenfield also claimed Ernst has not fulfilled her 2014 campaign pledge to rein in federal government spending, a promise made famous by Ernst’s “make ’em squeal” campaign commercial in which she compared controlling government spending to castrating hogs.

“Listen, folks. She didn’t castrate anyone,” Greenfield said in her campaign video.

Greenfield said the way to control government spending is to ban donations from corporate business campaign committees, and close loopholes and end tax breaks that benefit wealthy businesses and individuals.

Ernst’s campaign issued a statement Monday highlighting her experience in the U.S. Senate and U.S. Army National Guard, and claimed Ernst has indeed “made ’em squeal” in the nation’s capital.

“Joni looks forward to continuing to take her record as an independent voice that delivers for Iowa to all 99 counties, as she has done” since taking office, Ernst campaign senior adviser Brook Ramlet said in the statement.

In 2017, Greenfield ran for Congress in central Iowa’s 3rd District. But she was removed from the ballot when it was discovered a member of her campaign staff faked some signatures on her nomination forms, leaving her short of the required number.

Mauro also ran in that primary, which was won by Cindy Axne, who went on to defeat Republican U.S. Rep. David Young.

• Comments: (563) 383-2492; erin.murphy@lee.net

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