Key individuals and Democratic-aligned organizations moved quickly this week to boost Theresa Greenfield, the third candidate to announce a challenge to U.S. Senator Joni Ernst. Both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY's List, a major source of support for pro-choice Democratic women candidates, announced their support on June 6.
Greenfield's campaign released its first list of prominent supporters on June 5, including former Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson, five current and two former state legislators, two former leaders of the Iowa Democratic Party, three local elected officials, and several longtime Democratic campaign hands.
Some candidates space out high-profile endorsements over a long period in order to general media coverage. An early show of organizational strength like this is typically aimed at discouraging other candidates from joining the field. Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker and former Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten have both said they may run for Senate.
Greenfield's current competitors for the Democratic nomination are Kimberly Graham and Eddie Mauro. In a written statement following Greenfield's June 3 launch, Mauro commented, "Iowans want a spirited primary not influenced by Washington insiders or the establishment, and deserve new progressive leadership in the United States Senate with a record of taking action and leading on progressive issues.” That statement and this week's other relevant news releases are enclosed below.
UPDATE: U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand endorsed Greenfield on June 6 as well.
From the Greenfield campaign's June 5 news release:
Des Moines, IA--Today, top leaders across Iowa endorsed business leader Theresa Greenfield for U.S. Senate. A proud farm kid with farm kid values, Theresa launched her campaign on Monday to challenge vulnerable and out-of-touch incumbent Joni Ernst, who ran on cracking down on the dysfunction and misplaced priorities in Washington but has voted with Senator Mitch McConnell 99% of the time and supported billions of dollars in tax breaks for corporate special interests.
Greenfield for Iowa announced the following endorsements:
Former Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson State Senator Pam Jochum State Senator Claire Celsi State Senator Jackie Smith State Representative Heather Matson State Representative Marti Anderson Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Ashley Vanorny West Des Moines City Councilwoman Renee Hardman Spencer City Councilwoman Leann Jacobsen Linn Phoenix Club Board member Majda Olson Former State Senator Bob Dvorsky Former State Representative Joe Riding Former Iowa Democratic Party Chair Dr. Andy McGuire Former Iowa Democratic Party Chair Sue Dvorsky Former Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director and Current Chair of IDP Women's Caucus Jean Hessburg President and CEO of Goodwill of Central Iowa Jackie Norris Former AFSCME Political Director Marcia Nichols Polk County Democrats 2019 Volunteer of the Year Shanda Carstens Iowa Political Leader Brenda Kole
Statement from former Lieutenant Governor of Iowa Sally Pederson: "I know Theresa as the kind of thoughtful, pragmatic leader we need more of in Washington who will tackle kitchen table issues like bringing down the cost of health care and prescription drugs, improving access to quality public schools and higher education, supporting our farmers and rural communities, and helping small businesses succeed. Theresa is committed to listening to hardworking Iowans and representing our whole state, and she will be a force to be reckoned with when she's elected as our next Senator."
Statement from Iowa State Senator Pam Jochum: "Theresa is the kind of strong, independent voice we need taking on the partisan dysfunction and big corporate special interests in Washington to fight for all of Iowa's hardworking families. I'm proud to endorse Theresa because I know she has the grit to win this race and the commonsense values to always be Iowa's champion in the Senate."
Statement from U.S. Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield: "I am so honored to have these Iowa public officials and trusted community leaders standing with me in our race for Senate, and I look forward to continuing to build and grow this grassroots campaign to earn the support of hardworking folks all across Iowa."
Theresa Greenfield kicked off her grassroots campaign for Senate earlier this week with an announcement that earned praise as "one of the better campaign launch videos of the cycle," and she enters the race as the Democratic frontrunner to unseat Senator Ernst in 2020.
Theresa Greenfield grew up on a family farm, where she and her four siblings learned the value of hard work and self-reliance. Her father Derald encouraged his daughters to do everything the boys did on the Greenfield farm, and at 16, Theresa and her sister began helping with the family crop-dusting business, meeting with farmers to negotiate terms and mark out fields while Derald was in the air lining up his plane for the next job.
When the farm crisis of the 1980s hit rural families like Theresa's, she did not give up on her dream to attend college. With the help of financial aid and multiple part-time jobs, she put herself through school. Theresa married and as she and her husband were expecting their second child, he was killed in an accident at his job as a union electrical worker. Theresa set out on a path to provide for her two boys as a single mom.
Theresa worked as an urban planner and then joined Rottlund Homes, where she rose quickly through the ranks and soon moved to Des Moines to lead the company's Iowa Division. Today, she serves as President of Colby Interests, one of Des Moines' oldest family-held real estate and development companies. She lives with her husband Steve in Des Moines and together they have four grown children: Tanya, a media specialist; Nick, a horticulturist; Phil, a health care consultant; and Dane, a soldier in the U.S. Army.
June 6 news releases:
DSCC Endorses Theresa Greenfield in Iowa Senate Campaign
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued the following statement announcing the committee’s endorsement of Theresa Greenfield in Iowa:
“Theresa Greenfield embodies Iowa values of hard work, resilience, and a commitment to doing what’s right. Growing up on her family’s farm, Theresa learned early on that when a job needs to get done, it doesn’t matter who you are - you need to step up and complete the task. Theresa’s proven she’s not afraid of a challenge, whether it was starting over to support her young sons or leading a business. Iowans can count on Theresa to stand up for them, and we’re proud to support her.”
Theresa launched her campaign earlier this week, making clear she will “go toe-to-toe with Senator Joni Ernst” with “one of the better campaign launch videos of the cycle” – watch it here.
EMILY’s List Endorses Theresa Greenfield for U.S. Senate in Iowa
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed Theresa Greenfield for the U.S. Senate in Iowa. Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, released the following statement:
“Theresa Greenfield’s strong work ethic and grit will make her an excellent senator for Iowans. She knows firsthand how important benefits like Social Security and affordable health care are for expanding economic opportunities for working families because she’s made use of them herself. Working families in Iowa can count on Theresa to protect access to these programs and work to expand them to help even more Americans.
“Senator Joni Ernst has shown her true colors by steadfastly supporting a special interest agenda that’s harmful to Iowa. While much of the attention has been focused on the state’s presidential primary, this Senate race is critically important to the people of Iowa. EMILY’s List is proud to support Theresa and we look forward to doing everything we can to turn this seat blue in 2020.”
Theresa Greenfield was raised on a farm where she and her four siblings would do tasks that were essential to keeping the farm running smoothly, such as baling hay, driving tractors, and feeding animals. Financial aid and multiple part-time jobs enabled Theresa to attend college, studying at Iowa Lakes Community College and Iowa State University before ultimately graduating from Minnesota State University. Theresa worked in communities as an urban planner before taking on leadership roles in real estate development companies, including one she now leads as president. Theresa and her husband Steve live in Des Moines and have four grown children, including a son who serves in the U.S. Army.
EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $600 million to elect pro-choice Democratic women candidates. With a grassroots community of over five million members, EMILY's List helps Democratic women win competitive campaigns – across the country and up and down the ballot – by recruiting and training candidates, supporting strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, and turning out women voters to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect 150 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 16 governors, and nearly 1,100 women to state and local office. Nearly 40 percent of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. During the historic 2017-2018 cycle, EMILY’s List raised a record-breaking $110 million and launched a record independent expenditure campaign. We helped elect 34 new women to the House, including 24 red-to-blue victories; enough seats to have delivered the U.S. House majority alone. Since the 2016 election, more than 46,000 women have reached out to EMILY's List about running for office laying the groundwork for the next decade of candidates for local, state and national offices.
June 3 news release:
EDDIE MAURO STATEMENT ON GREENFIELD CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCEMENT
“Iowans want a spirited primary not influenced by Washington insiders or the establishment, and deserve new progressive leadership in the United States Senate with a record of taking action and leading on progressive issues,” said Des Moines community activist and business leader Eddie Mauro.
Mauro continued, ”I have worked as a community advocate for progressive causes for over 25 years, including access to reproductive health services for women, expanding access to affordable health care, protecting those with pre-existing conditions, fighting alongside organized labor for rights in the workplace, and addressing the causes and consequences of homelessness,” said Des Moines community activist and business leader Eddie Mauro.
“We have visited over 40 Iowa counties, secured endorsements and support in all four of Iowa’s congressional districts, and have begun to build a campaign that can win in November,” said Mauro. “We look forward to replacing Joni Ernst in the United States Senate.”
Eddie Mauro was the first candidate to officially file with the Federal Election Commission to challenge Senator Joni Ernst for the United States Senate in 2020.
Eddie Mauro is a successful businessman and lifelong resident of Iowa. A longtime community leader, Mauro is a founding member of the influential community organization AMOS and has served on the boards of South Suburban YMCA, the Immigration Committee for the Iowa Catholic Conference, the Purify Project and the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa. In addition to these leadership roles, Mauro coached Dowling High School to state championships in baseball in 1999 and 2001. He also coached football at North High School and baseball at Lincoln High School and DMACC. Mauro is married to Sharilyn, his wife of 29 years, and has two children.