IA-03: Zach Nunn spreads false hearsay about Cindy Axne

State Senator Zach Nunn has described his planned “listening tour” of Iowa’s third Congressional district as “an opportunity to learn from Iowa families, farmers, and business owners […] about priorities for their communities.”

Unfortunately, the not-quite-official Republican candidate for IA-03 can’t be bothered to check the facts before spreading false claims that suit his political ambitions.

Conservative blogger Jacob Hall published an interview with Nunn at The Iowa Standard on May 8. Why didn’t he confirm he’s running for Congress, like former U.S. Representative David Young did last week?

“We’re definitely looking,” Nunn said. “But I have service commitments that I’m not going to give up on. I have a service commitment as military commander to an Airmen training event the entire month of June. It’s wrong for me to jump into a race before I fulfill that service. I have a service commitment to my district I represent. I didn’t jump into the race while in session because that was my priority. When I run for Congress I’ll have a service commitment to get out to every county in the district, not just one county.” […]

“We’ve got a Congresswoman who is a quarter of the way through her time and still hasn’t shown up in every county in the district,” Nunn said. “And we’ve got another candidate who is a good man, but we don’t want to see a repeat of 2018. That requires that we have a new narrative and a new dedication.”

Nunn’s “new narrative” doesn’t reflect reality. Representative Cindy Axne has visited all sixteen counties she represents multiple times since the November election. At the end of this post, I’ve compiled some of the ample evidence, which is easy to find on her Congressional website and social media feeds.

Those citations don’t include the tour Axne conducted before being sworn in, with public events in Madison, Cass, Adair, Polk, Ringgold, Taylor, Adams, Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Guthrie, and Dallas counties in December. They also don’t include any of the Democratic political fundraisers or county meetings Axne has attended this year.

I asked Nunn where he came up with this idea that Axne hasn’t shown up in some counties. He responded via Facebook message on May 13,

This information comes direct from county chairs and members of the media I’ve spoken with while traveling. She made a commitment in the Des Moines Register she would visit every county every month, there is no indication this is happening (while there are some random FB posts, there is no notice in her news letter or website where she would/did visit). If the congresswoman is able to release her travel schedule for the last five months, that may help constituents know when and where she has been in the district.

Nunn did not respond to a follow-up question: which Republican county chairs claim our new member of Congress hasn’t been in their area?

Axne’s Congressional Facebook page lists lots of events around the district, and pictures sometimes end up on Axne’s official Twitter feed. Local media outlets have also reported on many appearances, such as Axne’s visits to health care facilities in eight counties in early February.

Flooding in southwest Iowa prompted some changes to Axne’s schedule in March and April, as she made more stops in affected communities than in counties farther east. Nevertheless, she has been accessible to constituents in every part of the district on multiple occasions. In addition, her staff periodically hold office hours in every county, which are announced in advance on the Congressional website.

Nunn should double-check what he hears from Republican contacts. Spreading falsehoods is a bad look for a self-styled “leader” and fighter for “Iowa values.”

Speaking of fighting for Iowans, Axne just helped add federal funding for Iowa roads and watersheds to a disaster relief bill the House approved on May 10. Representatives Abby Finkenauer (D, IA-01), Dave Loebsack (D, IA-02), and Steve King (R, IA-04) also voted for that legislation. Finkenauer presided over the chamber during the debate.

Final note: A third candidate joined the Republican field in IA-03 on May 12. Shane Vander Hart profiled Army veteran Bill Schafer at Caffeinated Thoughts. He’s on Twitter @BillSchaferIowa.

Appendix: Sampling of Representative Cindy Axne’s events in every IA-03 county since taking office in January 2019 (not an exhaustive list)

ADAIR COUNTY

Stuart on February 1

Fontanelle on March 3

Greenfield on April 15

Stuart on May 13

ADAMS COUNTY

Corning on February 1

Corning on March 3

Corning on May 6

Lenox on May 7 (that town is part of Adams and Taylor Counties)

CASS COUNTY

Atlantic on February 1

Meeting with high school students from Avoca the same day:

Anita on March 3

Anita on April 15

Atlantic on May 5

DALLAS COUNTY

Waukee on January 19

Redfield on February 1

Adel on March 3

FREMONT COUNTY

Sidney on January 18

Hamburg on February 23

Sidney on March 22

Another stop in Sidney during the same visit

Hamburg on April 6

Sidney on May 6

GUTHRIE COUNTY

Guthrie Center on January 12

Guthrie Family Medicine Center on February 1

Menlo on February 3

Menlo on March 3

Guthrie Center on April 15

Guthrie Center on May 13

MADISON COUNTY

Winterset on January 12

St. Charles on February 16

MILLS COUNTY

Glenwood on January 18

Malvern on February 23

Glenwood on March 9

Pacific Junction on April 6

Pacific Junction on April 23

Glenwood on May 6

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Red Oak on February 23

Red Oak on April 6

Red Oak on May 5

PAGE COUNTY

Clarinda on January 18

Shenandoah on February 23

Shenandoah on April 6

Clarinda on May 6

POLK COUNTY

West Des Moines town hall on March 23.

Des Moines on April 18

Pleasant Hill on April 24

Ankeny town hall on May 13

POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

Council Bluffs on February 23:

Council Bluffs on March 11

Council Bluffs on March 22

RINGGOLD COUNTY

Mt. Ayr on February 1

Mt. Ayr on April 24

TAYLOR COUNTY

Lenox on January 19

Bedford on February 1

Bedford on April 6

UNION COUNTY

Creston on Febrary 4

Creston on April 24

WARREN COUNTY

Norwalk on January 19

Lacona on February 16:

Indianola on April 28

  • Nunn Got Nothin

    Does Nunn have any substantive complaints about Axne? If she fails to get to every county every month, that would be understandable. But to say she has not been a perpetual motion machine is both false and beside the point of what a good member of Congress should do.

  • "Nunn"...

    is the amount of credibility he’ll earn if he continues this kind of “new narrative.”

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