CORRECTED: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect date for Iowa Rep. Shannon Lundgren's Brews and Barbecue Fall Fundraiser.
Republican candidates for Iowa Legislature seats representing Dubuque joined Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann on Tuesday at a Dubuque stop on his tour questioning Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield‘s business acumen and ethics.
Kaufmann was in town for a big fundraiser that night, featuring Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley and more. That event was closed to the press.
But, arriving early, Kaufmann scheduled a press conference at Washington Square. Just two resident supporters attended, plus four campaign staffers for President Donald Trump or incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, one Republican Party of Iowa employee and two local candidates — Pauline Chilton, running for Iowa House District 99, and Jennifer Smith, running for Iowa Senate seat 50.
Backed by the park’s white gazebo, Kaufmann had most attendees — in masks, six feet apart — hold signs in support of Ernst, but for two. Those held posters printed with the “About Theresa” section of Greenfield’s campaign website — one from December 2019, one from March 2020.
Kaufmann pointed, literally, to changes on this page between the two time periods, claiming Greenfield’s campaign had “scrubbed” the information, calling it a “cover-up.”
“Let’s talk about that record — originally, it was part of her bragging rights, why she was running,” he said. “Now, it’s mysteriously gone. We’ll have to talk to Chuck Schumer, find out where that went, and the other spots where she’s getting her talking points.”
Greenfield staff said Friday that campaigns change their websites all the time and that they had simply overhauled it in March, creating more room for volunteering, and other changes, in addition to those on the background page.
Kaufmann, though, contended it was an attempt to cover up a redevelopment project by a real estate company she headed in 2015, which displaced some small businesses. It has been the cornerstone of Republicans’ campaign against Greenfield in recent months. It encouraged 11 business owners, including Matt Giese, of Giese Manufacturing in Dubuque — a regular host to Republican campaign events — to sign a letter insisting Greenfield explain the move.
Greenfield for Iowa Spokesperson Izzi Levy emailed a response on Friday.
“Instead of having her allies push these desperate and debunked smears, Senator Ernst needs to explain why she deleted any mention of her opposition to the Affordable Care Act from her campaign website and still refuses to oppose the federal lawsuit that could end the health care law, threatening our rural hospitals and costing hundreds of thousands of Iowans their health care coverage,” it read. “The fact that Senator Ernst is wasting time with desperate attacks in the middle of a major health and economic crisis is proof of just how out of touch she is from Iowans.”
Chilton — a Realtor by trade — was invited to speak after Kaufmann, but spent her time singing Ernst’s praises, rather than criticizing Greenfield.
“I came out to show my support for Joni Ernst,” Chilton said after the event. “As a Realtor, we have a code of ethics and try to make sure we’re doing good business practices. I definitely don’t get into making disparaging remarks about someone else in the real estate industry. At the same time, I have to be clear that I don’t support someone doing unscrupulous things in business.”
Republicans take registration lead in Iowa, statewide anyway
As of Aug. 1, more Iowans have registered as Republican than as Democrat, by 2,500, according to the office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate.
Republicans had 683,888. Democrats had 681,389. Another 633,420 were registered, but for no party. And, 13,856 were registered as an “other” party.
Since Democrats took the registration lead in March, Republicans have been investing a great deal of time, energy and technology in regaining their lead.
By congressional district, though, Republicans were still up only in the Fourth. There continued to be more Democrats in Districts 1, 2 and 3. In Iowa’s First Congressional District, a total of 499,842 voters were registered — 179,901 Democrats, 165,599 registered as no party, 150,949 Republicans and 3,393 in other parties.
Finkenauer, Hinson launch new ads
Last week, U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, and her opponent, Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, both dropped TV ads to be aired across Iowa’s First Congressional District.
Finkenauer’s was titled “Abolish,” a reference to U.S. Senate Republicans’ attempts to repeal parts or all of the Affordable Care Act. It also highlights 15 bipartisan bills Finkenauer has introduced alongside Republicans since taking office in Jan. 2019.
Hinson’s was titled “Watch it.” It opens with a nod to Hinson’s past career as a television news reporter. Then decries the discord, encroaching socialism and attacks on police, she claims to now see there. Hinson tells the audience she “won’t even let [her] kids watch” the TV news.
Last week, former President Barrack Obama endorsed U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, for re-election.
Today, 3 to 7 p.m., Dubuque Shooting Society, 10380 U.S. 52 North — Dubuque County Republicans will host their annual Summer Picnic and Social. Drinks, food and conversation with Republican elected officials and candidates for office. The shooting range is also open for nominal costs. Guns and licensed NRA instructor on site. Reservations appreciated, but walk-ins welcome. Admission: $20 Adults and $5 for 10 and Under.
Wednesday, Aug. 19, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Trackside Bar and Grill, 709 Peosta St. — Iowa Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, will host her annual Brews and Barbecue Fall Fundraiser. Special guests include Republican candidate for Iowa’s First Congressional District, current Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, Iowa House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow and Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley.