Politics Abby Finkenauer announces Senate bid in Iowa
New information jolts case in Iowa college student's slaying
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Prosecutors in May dismissed a defendant’s testimony that he was framed by two masked men for the kidnapping and killing of an Iowa college student, calling it a figment of his imagination. Jurors agreed, convicting Cristhian Bahena Rivera of first-degree murder in the July 2018 stabbing death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts in one of the state’s most high-profile cases in years. But to two listeners outside the courtroom, Bahena Rivera’s shocking story rang at least partially true. They separately came forward recounting conversations in which another man bragged about his role in killing Tibbetts and blaming the crime on a Hispanic man.
Former Iowa Rep.on Thursday she is running for Senate, becoming the highest-profile Democrat vying to possibly take on seven-term incumbent Republican Sen. .
"I'm running for Senate because Democracy is worth fighting for and Iowa is worth fighting for," Finkenanuer said in a statement. "I believe that Iowans deserve jobs that aren't just paychecks but pay enough to build a future, health care that's affordable, and the opportunity to succeed right here at home in Iowa. And I intend to get it done."
Joe Biden takes on multiple crises without key confirmed officials at the helm
President Joe Biden is facing a border crisis without a confirmed border commissioner, spending fights without an official budget director and a pandemic without a confirmed Food and Drug Administration commissioner. © Evan Vucci/AP President Joe Biden delivers a speech on voting rights at the National Constitution Center, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Philadelphia. Nearly halfway through his first year in office, Biden has sent more nominations to the Senate and has had more people confirmed than the Trump administration did at the same point, though Biden still lags behind other White House predecessors.
The Iowa native began her political career as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 2015 to 2019. Her rise within the Democratic Party began when she successfully won her first term in the US House by defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Rod Blum in 2018. Her race, in a district former President Donald Trump won in 2016, helped deliver Democrats control of the House of Representatives in 2018, part of a wave election delivering a stinging rebuke to the first two years of the Trump presidency.
Her tenure in the House was short-lived, however. Finkenauer lost her bid for reelection in 2020 to Republican Ashley Hinson by fewer than three percentage points. And Trump again carried her district, winning nearly 51% of the vote.
Potential 2024 Republican presidential candidates to speak at Family Leader forum Friday in Des Moines
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Vice President Mike Pence and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will attend.Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and former Vice President Mike Pence will attend, as will Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Finkenauer would face a tough general election in a state that backed Trump twice. If she is able to overcome those long odds, Biden will gain another dedicated supporter in the upper chamber. Finkenauer worked for Biden's 2008 presidential campaign in Iowa, and he traveled to the state in 2018 to support her congressional campaign. Finkenauer then became the first member of Iowa's congressional delegation, a move that came at a tenuous time for the would-be president.
The former congresswoman is not the only Democrat vying for the Senate seat, but she is the highest-profile name in the race. Dave Muhlbauer, a former county supervisor for Crawford County, announced a Senate campaign in May.
Who the Democratic nominee will face in the general election is an open question.
Grassley, who began his career in politics in 1959 and was first elected to the Senate in 1980, has yet to say whether he will seek reelection and has told CNNat the end of the year.
Dems flood primary to face Ron Johnson in Wisconsin
The latest entrant, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on Tuesday, brings the highest profile but isn't a field-clearer.Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes became the latest — and highest-profile — Democrat to join the Senate race when he officially launched his campaign Tuesday. Barnes, 34, is the state's first Black lieutenant governor and would be the first Black senator to represent Wisconsin if elected.
"September, October or November," he said. "That's what I've been telling everybody."
And when asked about possible Republican replacements for him, the 87-year-old fired back: "You're already assuming I'm not running. I love my work. I'm working hard for the people of Iowa, and I get a lot of support from back home."
If Grassley runs, almost all political operatives in Iowa believe the seat will remain safely in Republican control -- the longtime politician enjoys near total name recognition and deep support. If he doesn't run, the future of the seat is in doubt and the race becomes easier for Democrats.
Some Republicans are already planning for the possibility the Grassley retires. State Sen. Jim Carlin, who represents the Sioux City, Iowa area, announced a Senate campaign in February, pledging to run against Grassley in the primary if he doesn't retire.
"I appreciate (Grassley's) service, as anybody does. But I didn't get in the race to drop out,"when he announced.
But if Grassley does retire, a host of other Republicans are expected to eye the seat, including the senator's grandson Pat Grassley and Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Iowa has trended toward Republicans in recent years. Trump won he state by nearly 10 points in 2016 and carried it again by roughly 8 points in 2020. Reynolds, the state's Republican governor, won her first term in 2018 and Republicans control three of the state's four seats in the US House. Rep. Cindy Axne, who represents Des Moines and much of Southwest Iowa, is the lone Democrat in the state's congressional delegation.
But it wasn't long ago that Democrats had more of a political foothold in the state. Former President Barack Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012, and after the 2018 midterms, Democrats controlled three of the state's four House seats.
'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection .
Democrats who helped their party recapture the House majority in 2018 only to lose reelection two years later are jumping back into the political fray ahead of next year’s midterm elections.In South Carolina, former Rep. Joe Cunningham (D), who narrowly lost to Rep. Nancy Mace (R) last year, is running to oust incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster (R). Another former member of the House, Abby Finkenauer, mounted a Senate bid in Iowa last week.