One of our last candidate-specific Spotlights of this election season focuses again on three races in Iowa. We chose to do so both because we think it so important and because we have a long-time organizer and a cadre of trained, tried and true volunteers who give us real hope.
The Senate race in Iowa is a tough one but we have hope that this may be a “sleeper.” Long-time Senator Charles Grassley (R), whose lifetime ADA voting record is a mere 12 percent, is polling under 50%. Since winning the Democratic primary, former Navy Vice Admiral Michael Franken has been gaining momentum, with the latest polling showing him closing the gap to a minuscule 3 percentage point margin. That means that the momentum is clearly on our side and we must, must, must seize the opportunity. Click here for further information on this close Iowa Senate race!
Franken brings to the race unparalleled foreign policy expertise. If elected, Admiral Franken would be the highest-ranking military officer ever to serve in the Senate. Furthermore, a Franken win would represent the return of a progressive Iowan, something sorely missed since the retirement of ADA’s friend Senator Tom Harkin (D). Franken is proving that Iowans can be inspired and moved by honest, straightforward liberal policies.
We are fully aware that it is an uphill battle to unseat this Republican institution; however, it is a hill, not a mountain; the opportunity is genuine, and the opportunity is now. ADA is on the ground in Iowa poised to not only win this Senate race, but to also flip two additional Congressional Districts and maintain another. With your equally determined support, we will prevail.
Iowa’s first CD will be one of the top races to watch in the race for control of the U.S House. Republican incumbent Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who won her seat by just six votes in 2020, now faces Democratic State Representative Christina Bohannan. Like its neighboring 2nd District, this district is home to a large student population. The University of Iowa alone, in Iowa City, is home to over 33,000 students. Add to that smaller colleges such as Simpson and St. Ambrose and you can see that youth and student voter turnout will be one of the decisive factors. Republicans in Iowa for years have been stripping away at the state’s once progressive voting access laws. They have added voter I.D. requirements, reduced access to absentee voting, and tied the hands of local county auditors who try to increase participation. That should not discourage us. Remember former ADA president, former Congressman Jim Jontz (D-IN) once won election by only one vote.
Congresswoman Miller-Meeks has voted against a number of measures popular in this district including the American Rescue Plan and the infrastructure bill, even though it included badly needed investments for roads, bridges, and trails in her own district. Bohannan made a name for herself in 2018 when she defeated a longtime incumbent by 32 points in the Democratic primary. It was her belief that Iowa Democrats in safe seats need to be bolder and more aggressive and should be doing much more to help rebuild the party across the state. She went on the win unopposed in the general election. She touts her humble beginnings growing up in a trailer park as helping her remain connected to the struggles working families are facing in Iowa. With your help, we can defeat Miller-Meeks.
Iowa’s new 2nd Congressional District also is set to be one of the most competitive districts in the nation with Democratic State Senator Liz Mathis facing Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R). For more than two decades, news anchor Mathis broadcast every evening into the homes of nearly every county in the 2nd district. Hinson, also a journalist, has a website long on platitudes and short on details but she does oppose Medicare for All; she voted against the American Rescue Plan, the For the People Act, Build Back Better and the Women’s Health Protection Act. She is pro-gun and anti-choice. Hinson has been called out for her hypocrisy of taking credit for federally funded infrastructure projects in the district even though she voted NO on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Unlike Hinson’s, Mathis’ website gives lots of detail: she favors protecting and expanding the Affordable Care Act, supports strong unions, expanding access to paid family leave, pledges to work to reverse the effects of climate change, favors common sense gun control legislation and is pro-choice.
ADA, twice, has been instrumental in flipping the old 1st district from red to blue: First in 2006 with the election of Bruce Braley and then again in 2018 with the election of Abby Finkenauer. And, with your help, we can do it again.