Eddie Mauro considering challenge to Senator Joni Ernst in 2020 (updated)

CORRECTION: Speaking by phone on April 17, Mauro said he is considering a campaign for U.S. Senate but hasn’t decided to whether to run. He doesn’t have a time frame for making a final decision and needs to “make sure my family is on board” before weighing other factors, such as whether he “might be a viable candidate.”

Iowa Democrats may have their first candidate for the 2020 U.S. Senate race. Eddie Mauro told activists in Panora on April 16 that he will may run against first-term Republican Senator Joni Ernst, according to sources who attended the event. Guthrie County Democratic Party chair Kathy Miller told Bleeding Heartland that she invited Mauro to attend the central committee meeting after he called her on April 14 to discuss his plans.

Mauro is CEO of Des Moines-based insurance company UIG and director of Purify Project, which installs water systems in Africa. He previously ran for Iowa’s third Congressional district and finished second in the 2018 Democratic primary with 26.4 percent of the vote. Before that, he challenged State Representative Jo Oldson in the 2016 Democratic primary for Iowa House district 41. Mauro’s 2018 campaign website does not currently reference a U.S. Senate bid. I’m seeking comment from him and will update this post as needed.

Earlier this year, Mauro launched a political action committee called Midwest Victory PAC. The group’s goals include helping to defeat Ernst and support Democratic candidates for the Iowa House and Senate in 2020. Mauro was the founding chair of the Midwest Victory PAC and still holds that position, according to the PAC’s website. Once he formally declares his Senate candidacy, he will need to step aside from that role. Iowa law states that “A candidate for statewide or legislative office shall not establish, direct, or maintain a political committee.”

I enclose below additional background on Mauro and the Midwest Victory PAC.

UPDATE: After I corrected this post, several Democrats contacted me on April 17 to say that in their recent conversations with Mauro, he sounded like a definite candidate, not someone who was only considering the Senate race. A person who attended the Adair County Democratic Central Committee meeting on April 13 got the same impression from listening to Mauro. State Senator Claire Celsi said that last week, Mauro “told me he was running and asked for my support.” (Celsi represents Senate district 21, containing the Des Moines south side neighborhood where Mauro lives.)

While I understand that politicians prefer to control the timing of their rollout, prospective candidates who tell Democratic activists that they’re running should expect word to get around.

Excerpts from the “Meet Mauro” page on Eddie Mauro’s 2018 Congressional campaign website.

The product of a strong Iowa education, Eddie is a graduate of Dowling High School. In addition to course work completed at DMACC and Iowa State University, he earned his Bachelor of Science from Simpson College and holds a Theology Certificate from Creighton University.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Eddie dedicated much of his early career to helping Iowa youth reach their full potential as a coach and teacher in both public and private schools.

It was during these years that he cemented his belief in the power of education, dedicating several years as a teacher at Seymour Community Schools in Seymour, Iowa, and Saint Anthony School of Des Moines. During his tenure at Saint Anthony, he received the Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award, the Salvation Army Volunteer of the Year Award, President’s Youth Services Award and was nominated as Reader’s Digest Teacher of the Year.

Eddie was an integral member of the Dowling High School athletic program for more than 10 years, serving as head coach for the baseball team and assistant coach for the football team. He also served as the head coach for the Lincoln High School baseball team. In addition, he put his talent to work for the Cincinnati Reds as a recommending scout, and the Iowa Cubs Organization as a volunteer assisting with player development.

Eddie has continued his support of Iowa and small business as the founder and President/COO of UIG, an innovative wholesale insurance firm serving insurance agencies in Iowa and across the U.S.

His commitment to helping others reach their full potential has never waivered. Eddie serves on the board of Creative Visions and Purify Project. He has also served on the board of directors for the South Suburban YMCA of Greater Des Moines, and is a past member of the Immigration Committee for the Iowa Catholic Conference. Eddie volunteers for several impactful local organizations, including YMCA Board of Managers, and AMOS. He is also a dedicated youth sports coach.

He and his wife Sharilyn have shared 29 years together and have two children, Dominic and Mia.

February 18, 2019 news release from Midwest Victory PAC:


DES MOINES, Iowa — Midwest Victory PAC (MVP), a new statewide coalition of Iowa Democrats, announced its launch today with an initial $50,000 pledged to defeat Sen. Joni Ernst and win back the Iowa General Assembly in 2020.

“Joni Ernst has consistently turned her back on our MVP’s – the Most Valuable People of our communities – who work hard for a living, put food on the table, educate our children and keep us safe,” said MVP Chair Eddie J. Mauro. “She and her fellow Republicans who control the Iowa State House have robbed millions of Americans of the dignity of life and well-being.”

Mauro, Chief Executive Officer of UIG, a Des Moines-based multi-state commercial insurer, and director of Purify Project, a team that installs water systems in Africa, cited Ernst’s voting record of denying Iowans good-paying jobs and affordable healthcare while turning a blind eye to legitimate national emergencies such as climate change and senseless gun violence.

“Ernst and her fellow Republicans have advanced a reckless agenda, denying access to healthcare for countless Iowans, abandoning Iowa’s commitment to educating our children, and continuously selling out Iowa’s communities – putting special interests ahead of working families on issue after issue. Mauro added, “MVP’s mission is to be the tip of the spear that changes this dynamic – electing commonsense Democrats up and down the ballot who will bring change, help lift up Iowa’s working families and put
people over politics.”

To reverse these trends, Mauro said MVP will undertake 3 main imperatives:

1. Replace Ernst in the U.S. Senate with a Democrat who can work for Iowans’ best interests, not special interests;
2. Identify, encourage and support qualified, capable and energetic Democrats who can restore control of the Iowa legislature to public servants who will represent those they serve; and
3. Help educate presidential candidates about issues concerning Midwesterners in general and Iowans in particular.

Mauro said Midwest Victory PAC, which is not affiliated with the Iowa Democratic Party or any local, statewide or national candidate for elected office, will connect with disaffected Iowans throughout the state.

“Over two-thirds of Americans say the country is not moving in the right direction, according to a recent AP poll underscoring 70 percent believe the country is on the wrong track, ” Mauro said. “It is clear that Joni Ernst and Iowa Republicans are on the wrong side.”

Joining Mauro on the MVP staff is a group of long-time Iowa Democratic activists, who will lead teams devoted to digital tools, analytics, fundraising and communications. MVP’s team of advisors consists of:
● Mark Langgin, Partner, GPS Impact
● Dave Jacobson, CNN Political Commentator & Co-Founder of J&Z Strategies
● Mac Zilber, veteran political strategist and commentator & Co-Founder of J&Z Strategies
● Jack Yao, veteran Democratic fundraiser & founder of Sustainable Change Strategies
● Bob Krause, Former State Representative, Former Carter Administration Representative, Former US Senate Candidate & Veterans Advocate,

In the coming weeks and months, Midwest Victory PAC will reach out across the state, listening to Iowa’s MVPs: how best we all can realize Iowa as a state where our liberties are prized and our rights retained. To accomplish this, MVP plans to raise significant sums and will identify, encourage and support those who seek office in 2020 committed to make a difference.

Iowans can learn more about Midwest Victory PAC and about how they can share in the MVP mission byvisiting www.midwestvictory.org.

About the Author(s)

Laura Belin

  • Bad News for Iowa Democrats

    Considering Fred Hubbell’s loss last year, if Mauro manages to win the primary he would likely not fair well against Ernst who seems to be a fairly strong incumbent who was well funded last election cycle. Kim Reynolds hammered Hubbell for his elitist and unearned status, in a lot of ways rightfully so, and there is no doubt that Ernst would do the same considering her background of growing up on a farm and service in the military.