Politics Former Rep. Finkenauer running for Senate 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 Rep. Abby Finkenauer launched a Senate bid in Iowa on Thursday, becoming the highest-profile Democrat to jump into the race in an bid to reverse the party’s struggles in statewide elections over the past decade.
Finkenauer, 32, flipped a House seat in 2018 before losing last November after just one term. She’s now aiming to take on GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, the longest currently-serving Republican senator, who is still deciding whether to seek an eighth term in the chamber.
Sentencing Delayed in Mollie Tibbetts Case After Bombshell New Info Emerges
A man scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without parole for killing college student Mollie Tibbetts got a last-minute reprieve on Wednesday in light of bombshell new information pointing to other potential suspects. In May, a jury convicted Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 27, an Iowa dairy farm worker, of first-degree murder in the death of Tibbetts, a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa. On Wednesday, Judge Joel Yates ordered Bahena Rivera’s sentencing to be delayed after two witnesses independently approached authorities with stories that called into question his involvement in the crime.
Iowa has been challenging for Democrats recently after a long history as a swing state. It was one of the most expensive Senate contests in the country last year, but after appearing close for the majority of the election, GOP Sen. Joni Ernst easily defeated Democrat Theresa Greenfield, and now-President Joe Biden lost the state handily.
Finkenauer will have to convince national Democrats that Iowa is worth investing in after the 2020 loss and persuade Democratic voters that she’s the best candidate coming off her defeat to now-GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson.
In an interview, Finkenauer touted her record during her term in the House, including being the youngest woman to ever sponsor a bill that passed the chamber shortly after she took office. She cited the circumstances of the pandemic and outside money spent in her race for the loss, though she also pointed out that she outpaced the top of the ticket in November.
Heirs to late civil rights icon John Lewis' vow to make 'good trouble' in fight over election laws
A year after Rep. John Lewis' death a cadre of activists carry the late civil rights icon's legacy amid the most divisive voting rights debate in decades.Both made the pilgrimage to the southern city after four Black college students sparked a massive youth civil rights movement in 1960 by daring to sit at a Woolworth's lunch counter and politely ask for service.
"It’s going to be even more important that we speak the truth, we speak it louder, we get out there in front of folks in a way that we just weren't able to in 2020,” Finkenauer said.
She criticized Grassley for his record, saying in particular that votes on taxes and health care since his last reelection would be part of her campaign against him.
“He was somebody I used to look up to and believed would actually move things forward. I wouldn't agree with him on everything and Democrats didn't ... ” Finkenauer said, citing the decades when Grassley served alongside Democratic then-Sen. Tom Harkin. “Unfortunately, with his votes lately he's really left us behind."
Though Grassley will be 89 years old on Election Day, Republicans are optimistic he will seek another term. Most Republicans don’t think the race will be competitive if he runs again, since Grassley has won each reelection bid with more than 60 percent of the vote. Democrats haven’t won a Senate race in Iowa since Harkin's last victory in 2008.
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.
“Listen, there’s nothing I see that’s going to keep me from serving another six years if I decide to do it,” Grassleyearlier this year.
Several Democrats, including state Auditor Rob Sand and former congressional candidate J.D. Scholten, already passed on running. But Finkenauer will likely still face a primary. Retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken, who lost the 2020 Senate primary, is considering another bid for Senate. Rep. Cindy Axne, the only Democrat left in the congressional delegation, hasn't ruled out running statewide. Dave Muhlbauer, a farmer and former county supervisor, was the first Democrat in the race.
If Finkenauer becomes Democrats’ nominee and Grassley runs again, it will provide a stark generational gap in candidates. Finkenauer said in the interview her argument wasn’t about age but about delivering for the state.
She said she’s not “blanket for anything and everything that's in a Biden agenda,” saying that wasn’t how she operated in the House during the Trump administration. But she did tout some early Democratic successes, in particular the passage of the child tax credit in the Covid relief legislation.
“There's so much here that our senators, in particular, and the Republicans that represent Iowa on the federal level have voted against. And all the investments that are going to come into our communities that are going to move us forward, they voted against," she said. “They're not standing for anything right now."
37 Percent of Meade County, Site of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Vaccinated Before Event .
Dr. Doug Lehmann said that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is "sort of the perfect storm for pandemic spread."Health experts called the Sturgis rally a "superspreader" after it was held last year, leading to 463 COVID-19 infections among attendees.