DES MOINES — Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary for President Donald Trump, pointed to GOP successes at the national and state level Saturday night as evidence that Iowans need to turn out in droves to elect Republicans on Nov. 6.
A big Republican showing is essential to maintain positive momentum, Sanders told about 800 Iowans who turned out for Gov. Kim Reynolds’ annual campaign fundraiser Harvest Festival at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
“We need you to step up,” she said.
“Remember, elections matter. They have severe consequences,” said Sanders, who paid tribute to the handling by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa of the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Those proceedings led to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
“Instead of a 6-3 liberal Supreme Court under Hillary Clinton, we now have a 5-4 conservative Supreme Court under President Trump,” Sanders told the crowd.
Sanders — the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — focused part of her speech on the time she spent working a presidential campaigns that included her father’s victory in the 2008 Republican Party caucuses and meeting her husband, Brian, in Iowa 10 years ago.
“There’s probably not a Casey’s General Store or a Pizza Ranch across Iowa that I haven’t been to,” Sanders said. “In fact, I think I may be one of the only non-Iowans that hasn’t run for president that’s been to all 99 counties and done the full Grassley.”
Sanders listed national Republican advances under Trump and in Iowa under Reynolds as governor to emphasize that GOP policies are moving the nation and this state in the right direction.
“America is back and we’re booming,” said Sanders, who was Trump’s deputy press secretary at the White House before assuming the top press post last year. She referred to that as her day job but said her most important title is “mom” and credited her three children for “prepping” her for the White House post. That requires answering the same questions “over and over again” as well as “saying ‘no’ a lot.”
Sanders and others took aim at Reynolds’ Democratic opponent, Fred Hubbell. She called him “a liberal Democrat who would be a total disaster for your state. Trust me, I’ve seen what a liberal Democrat running a state looks like. Remember, I’m from Arkansas and I lived under the Clintons for a long time. Trust me, that’s not what you want.”
Reynolds called Sanders “a rock star” in her role as Trump’s press secretary.
“She’s tough. She doesn’t back down and she gets it,” the governor said. “We love you. Keep doing what you’re doing.”
Turning to her current race, Reynolds said she is encountering a lot of excitement and interest as she travels the state.
“You can really feel the momentum and the energy,” she said. “I think people are starting to pay attention and they feel good about the direction that Iowa is going.”
Grassley and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said they expect to spend much of the next 23 days campaigning for GOP candidates in statewide and legislative races.
“I think we’re going to see a blue flush” on Nov. 6, Ernst said.
Reynolds said the stretch run will be “all about turnout” as she prepares for his final two debates with Hubbell during the next week — one Wednesday in Sioux City evening and one Sunday morning in Davenport.
“Make these last weeks count,” she told the crowd. “If we show up, we win.”
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