Theresa Greenfield enters IA-Sen race as Democratic front-runner

“I’m a proud farm kid with farm kid values,” declared Theresa Greenfield on June 3 in a video launching her campaign for U.S. Senate.

The third Democrat to declare plans to challenge Senator Joni Ernst will be hard to beat for the nomination.

Greenfield’s opening message to Iowans emphasized her upbringing and early work experience in a farm family near a town of about 500 people.

The video is well-done and wisely features Greenfield telling her own story, rather than having a professional voice-over introduce her. The candidate recounts how she and their neighbors got through the farm crisis, how she worked her way through community college and eventually became president of a small business (Colby Interests, a commercial real estate company in Windsor Heights).

Greenfield also describes how Social Security saved her family after her first husband was killed on the job, when they had a toddler and another baby on the way. “So when I see Mitch McConnell, Joni Ernst, and the folks in Washington talking about cutting Medicare and Social Security to pay for tax breaks for billionaires, I say, ‘No way.'”

“Joni Ernst said she’d be different,” Greenfield notes, as the video shows a clip from Ernst’s famous “Squeal” commercial in 2014.

Listen, folks, she didn’t castrate anyone. She cast a vote to let the corporate lobbyists keep feasting like hogs at the trough.

You want to really make them squeal? Ban corporate PAC money. Take away the loopholes and special tax breaks. Give the breaks to working folks instead. Invest in education, small business, and affordable health care for all of us.

I’m Theresa Greenfield, and I’m running for U.S. Senate, because I’ll never forget who I am, where I’m from, and who I’m fighting for. Please join us

While running for Iowa’s third Congressional district in 2017 and early 2018, Greenfield out-raised the rest of the large Democratic field and earned support from many well-known Democrats, along with one of the state’s largest labor unions, AFSCME. She also was rumored to be the favored candidate of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, though the DCCC did not publicly tip its hand in this race (in contrast to Iowa’s first district). Greenfield would have been a strong contender for the nomination, but she did not qualify for the ballot due primarily to malfeasance by her campaign manager.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee may not publicly endorse Greenfield the way it favored Patty Judge during Iowa’s 2016 Senate primary. But if Washington-based Democrats support Greenfield behind the scenes, that will boost her fundraising and could help her land other endorsements. For example, EMILY’s List, which supports pro-choice Democratic women, may weigh in for Greenfield. That group helped Cindy Axne with direct mail and television advertising before the 2018 primary for IA-03.

Greenfield’s pitch to Democrats in last year’s House race was generally well-received by party activists. Most of these remarks from a candidate forum in early 2018 could easily be refocused on Ernst.

I got in this race because hard-working families are getting the short end of the stick. And I’m from a hard-working family. I am a farm girl, I am a mother of four children, and I’ve worked in small businesses and run small businesses my whole life.

And I’ll tell you what, hard-working families are struggling every day to make ends meet. All around this district, I talk to people who really are wondering, do they pay their rent or do they buy prescription drugs? I know seniors who are struggling to stay in their apartments, getting help from their children. And every mother out there’s worrying, will her kids have a better life? Have the skills and the training to get a job and earn a living wage.

So I’ll be fighting for those things when I’m in Washington, DC. But I’ll tell you what else: I am also a small business person. I am a Main Street kind of small business. I work for a company, we have nine employees. And I know you have to remain profitable, because I sign paychecks every two weeks. And that means I provide jobs.

And David Young doesn’t know the first thing about running a small business, remaining profitable, and providing jobs. He knows how to line the pockets of wealthy donors and corporations.

And finally, as a mother of four, I know what it’s like to sit and struggle. Struggle with a child that has a brain injury. Struggle as a single mom with two kids at one point in my life. And those are things David Young doesn’t know.

We need to elect leaders that share our values, that have walked in our shoes, and that when they go to Washington, DC, they won’t forget the lessons of their lives.

Because I’ll tell you what: the issues will come and go. Every two years, there will be another policy fight. Or something we care about, that makes people’s lives better, that we’re going to fight for. But we have to elect people that have our character and have our strength.

So this election’s going to be about contrasts. David Young–he doesn’t understand Iowans. He understands big money. David Young’s never raised a family, never run a small business, he doesn’t know anything about the lives you have. And we’ve got to get out and talk about that message.

And finally, I would say, this fight is also about our Democratic Party. It’s not just about beating David Young. It’s about taking back who we are and leading to the future.

You can follow Greenfield’s campaign on the web and Facebook at GreenfieldforIowa, on Twitter @GreenfieldIowa, and on Instagram as TheresaGreenfield.

Kimberly Graham was the first Democrat to make her Senate candidacy official last month, followed by Eddie Mauro. Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker may join this race and told Bleeding Heartland via e-mail,

I don’t know Theresa well, but during her time campaigning in the third congressional district, she demonstrated competency on the issues and seemed to be genuinely concerned about the people. She’ll be a force, and this kind of energy in a primary will be good for the Party. Should I enter this race, I’ll look forward to a clean and competitive contest. My very best to Theresa, Eddie Mauro, and Kimberly Graham.

J.D. Scholten hasn’t ruled out running for U.S. Senate next year. He is also considering a second bid for Iowa’s fourth Congressional district. Scholten told Bleeding Heartland this morning,

There are a lot of variables I’m still looking at before I make a final decision. Also, it’s not easy to run for federal office when you’re working class or you don’t come from money. Because of the way we ran our race, I’m in need of a little extra recovery time.

At this point, I’m still likely to run for something.

About the Author(s)

Laura Belin

  • What kind of patchecks is she writing?

    Small. Business owners write checks at minimum wage. This is yet another candidate making an appeal to middle class, capitalist values that ignores poverty and workers.

    Standing next to a Harley Rider, she looks bland. Does anyone in the party have any idea of the value of branding?

    • you are asserting

      that Colby Interests pays its employees minimum wage? I haven’t researched it but I highly doubt that is the case.