Roxanne Conlin, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, begins television advertising across Iowa this week. I’m not able to embed the commercial, but click here to watch. The Conlin campaign released this transcript:
“I’m Roxanne Conlin. Taking on the special interests has been the cause of my life. Like taking on the big banks to help family farms at risk of foreclosure. I took on corrupt politicians and corporations who violated the public trust. I’m running for U.S. Senate to take this fight to Washington. Fight for relief on Main Street, not more bailouts for Wall Street. Because the special interests have had their turn. Now, it’s our turn. I’m Roxanne Conlin and I approved this message.”
I noticed a small omission from that transcript: in the commercial, Conlin says, “As a prosecutor I took on corrupt politicians…” That’s important, because many Iowans may not remember that she served as U.S. attorney for Iowa’s southern district from 1977 to 1981.
This ad is a shorter version of the introductory video Conlin’s campaign released last fall, which I discussed here. It’s a fairly basic message for Iowans who haven’t heard of Conlin, and it makes sense for her to raise her profile just before the June 8 primary. Though this ad doesn’t mention five-term Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley, it starts building the case Conlin will make later in the campaign: Grassley has stood up for special interests throughout his career. I believe Grassley voted for the financial reform bill last week in order to undercut the narrative Conlin will build against him.
All three Democratic challengers to Grassley attended a Johnson County Democrats event over the weekend. John Deeth blogged the “Grassley retirement party” here and posted photos here. At Iowa Independent, Adam Sullivan posted video of Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen criticizing Conlin. I agree with Krause and Fiegen on many domestic policies, and I appreciate the way Krause has spoken out against our military involvement in Afghanistan. However, they are aiming at the wrong target in attacking Conlin now. No one’s under the illusion that it will be easy to beat Grassley, but it’s a stretch for Krause and Fiegen to suggest that they are stronger candidates than Conlin. She has more name recognition already and is in a better position to campaign statewide than they are.
Late last week Conlin called on Grassley to denounce Kentucky Republican Rand Paul’s comments about civil rights. Paul suggested that private businesses should be allowed to discriminate. Without mentioning Paul’s name, Grassley’s spokesperson told Iowa Independent,
Sen. Grassley’s position is that if a place is open for business it should be open for everyone. You may know that Grassley was a co-sponsor of the 1982 and 2006 reauthorizations of the Voting Rights Act, the 1965 companion to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He was in the middle of the agreement reached on the 1982 legislation. Grassley also supported the 1991 extension of the Civil Rights Act. That was the last major amendment to the Civil Rights Act. It was broadened in 1972, after its passage in 1964.
Grassley is wise to put some distance between himself and Paul’s views. As Assistant Iowa Attorney General in the 1970s, Conlin prosecuted the first cases under our state’s civil rights law.