As members of Congress are celebrating the first 100 days of the 2021 session, some eyes already are focused on local races in 2022.

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, this week tapped the staffer to helm her 2022 re-election campaign. Hinson Chief of Staff Jimmy Peacock, who ran her successful 2020 campaign, tweeted Thursday that Sophie Crowell would lead the next effort. An attachment identified Crowell as a regional data director for the Republican National Committee.

Meanwhile, recently filed financial disclosures show that Hinson led the tri-state-area’s U.S. House of Representatives delegation in fundraising for the quarter that ended March 31, with $570,828 in contributions.

“One thing is clear, the chaos and dysfunction from a Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi-controlled House is unacceptable to Iowans,” Hinson said in a release. “I will continue to fight against this every single day and work with anyone who is willing to do the real work to solve problems Iowa families face each day.”

Hinson also reported spending $277,003 in the quarter, ending with $410,496 on hand.

No Democrats have declared a run against Hinson in 2022. The Iowa Democratic Party did not respond to questions on the subject for this story.

Loras College political science professor Chris Budzisz, though, expects that to change soon.

“They are going to need someone really strong in that race,” he said. “The enthusiasm is going to be there among their voters. That won’t be a problem. The trends toward Republican candidates in recent elections, though, is going to be a concern for whoever is named there.”

Across the river, races already resemble what they were six months ago.

In Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, 2020 Republican candidate Esther Joy King is already back in the ring, reporting $163,578 in contributions for the quarter. She spent $64,035 and ended with $101,834 on hand.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., beat King in November 2020, but it was a race too close to be called on election night.

Bustos raised $326,281 in this year’s first quarter, spent $122,434 and had $1,122,471 on hand.

Another Republican, Allen Corey, has filed paperwork to run but no financial reports. Meanwhile, Republican Charlie Helmick announced earlier this month that he was getting into the race.

In Wisconsin, Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind reported bringing in $222,341 during the first quarter, spending $44,188 and ending with $1,055,325.

Last week, Derrick Van Orden officially threw his hat in the ring again. The Republican lost narrowly to Kind in 2020.

“It’s not a surprise that in the case of King and Van Orden that they would want to get in there early to make headlines and send notice to donors and potential primary rivals,” Budzisz said.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., reported bringing in $76,804 in the first quarter, but he has no opponents yet and won his district handily in 2020.

“When you step back and look at it from the national perspective, the tri-state area has in it elections that can make the difference in control of Congress,” Budzisz said. “The congressional seats and, in Wisconsin, the Senate seat are seen as winnable by both parties. It may seem early, but these are some of the closest races nationally.”

Speaking of that Senate seat, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson reported bringing in a whopping $2,104,616 in the last quarter, even though he has not said if he will run again. He spent $1,140,182 as well, ending with $1,008,697 on hand.

So far, four Democrats and an Independent candidate have filed to run for Johnson’s seat.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley collected $1,854,542, spent $819,179 and ended with $2,042,518 but similarly has not said for sure if he will run again.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., topped the lot of them, bringing in a staggering $5,993,531 in the quarter, spending $3,426,479 and ending with $3,704,895.

Novak named to economic development board

Wisconsin Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, has been appointed to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Association board. He will serve as one of two state representatives on the board, which serves as a lender for housing financing and business and agricultural expansions across the state.

“I am excited to begin working with the other board members to help craft innovative solutions that address multifaceted housing issues and support struggling Wisconsinites as we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Novak said in a release.

Ernst backs meat

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, used most of her communication energy this past week waving a flag against what she called “The Left’s War on Meat.”

She celebrated “Meat on the Table” month by introducing a bill called the Telling Agencies to Stop Tweaking What Employees Eat (TASTEE) Act. It would ban federal agencies from recognizing customs such as “Meatless Mondays.”

“Liberal activists have a First Amendment right to say or preach what they’d like, but our federal agencies shouldn’t be encouraging people to ban agricultural products at the expense of America’s hardworking farmers and producers,” she wrote in a column about the bill.

Awards

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has received the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

Calendar

1 p.m. Saturday, April 24 — The League of Women Voters of Jo Da viess County will host U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., for a virtual event titled “Coffee and Conversation: Raising Up Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Bustos will speak about her experience and provide guidance for those interested in taking public office. To RSVP, email lwvjdc@gmail.com by Thursday, April 22.

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