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Sen. Joni Ernst's supporters say they're voting to protect a way of life

80 motorcyclists, many others join her on Iowa ride, including a stop in Cedar Rapids

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst arrives Sunday at Metro Harley-Davidson in Cedar Rapids. The event was a stop on her two-day motorc
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst arrives Sunday at Metro Harley-Davidson in Cedar Rapids. The event was a stop on her two-day motorcycle ride across Iowa, which replaced the annual Roast and Ride fundraiser due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Nick Rohlman/Freelance)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The 2020 election is about more than just who they’re voting for, according to motorcycle riders who turned out to show their support for U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst on Sunday.

“You’re voting for a way of life,” said Don Share, who rode his 60th birthday present — a 2020 Harley-Davidson Street Glide — from Waterloo to Cedar Rapids and then on to Davenport on Sunday afternoon as part of Ernst’s Ride Across Iowa.

“I’m not for big government. I’m not for socialism. That’s just shared misery.”

Eighty motorcyclists and more nonriders came out to Metro Can Am to join the Iowa Republican senator for her Ride Across Iowa. Ernst’s pandemic version of her annual Roast and Ride political rally and hog roast was a two-day “rolling rally” across the state to raise funds for the Puppy Jake Foundation, an Iowa-based nonprofit that provides veterans with professionally trained service dogs, and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s Derecho Disaster Recovery, which was established to provide direct relief to victims of the hurricane-force August storm.

Bill and Judy Law, who rode in from Fruitland on their Iowa-built 2014 Victory, agreed that Ernst and President Donald Trump are what stands between them and the loss of their way of life.

“It’s our freedoms versus socialism. There’s no in between,” said Judy Law, who was sporting a pink “Women for Trump” T-shirt. “President Trump and Joni are on freedom’s side and the Constitution.”

Bill Law, a retired trucker, sees Iowa’s economy, especially agriculture, under attack by Ernst’s challenger, Theresa Greenfield, and other Democrats.

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“They want to do away with fossil fuels. That’s a major operation here,” he said. “To people on the coasts, we’re flyover country, but without the Midwest, without the farmers, they’d dry up.”

In the spirit of the day and the ride ahead, Ernst said the election is like bikers setting out for a ride.

“So the path I’ve been on and the path that I am going to continue to choose is that path that goes to the right,” the Red Oak Republican said. “That path is economic prosperity, that path is freedom and that path is opportunity. That’s the path that we want to be on.”

She said Greenfield, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris, “want to take America on a path of government takeover of health care ... defunding our law enforcement ... higher taxes ... extreme abortionist ideas with no restrictions at all ... the Green New Deal

However, Greenfield’s campaign spokeswoman, Izzi Levy, said Ernst is lying about the positions of the Democratic challenger, who is leading the race, according to a new CBS News/YouGov poll.

“Sen. Ernst is pushing false and increasingly desperate smears because she can’t talk about her failed record of selling out Iowans — from her votes against the health care protections Iowans rely on to her illegal coordination with a dark money group set up by her top political aides.”

Ernst insisted all of Greenfield’s ideas “are on that pathway toward socialism.”

That’s not what Anastacia and Anthony Foht of Scott County want. They were spending their 23rd wedding anniversary on the ride.

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“It was our plan to be here to support Joni,” Anastacia said. “I feel very strongly about her belief and want her to have another term.”

She also sees Ernst as a strong role model for her daughters, Madison, who Ernst nominated for the Coast Guard Academy, and Samantha, who is seeking an appointment to a military academy.

“I’m proud to be here,” Foht said.

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

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