IA-Gov: Deidre DeJear launches campaign, rolls out endorsements

Deidre DeJear made it official on August 14: she’s running for governor, “because Iowa is worth it.” The 2018 Democratic nominee for Iowa secretary of state spent several weeks on the road over the past month hearing about the challenges facing communities of all sizes. In a news release, she indicated education, small business development, and job growth would be the focus of her campaign:

Our children are worth fighting for the best education system possible; we can put Iowa schools back on top by working with parents, teachers, and our local governments. Small businesses, the backbone of our economy and small towns, are worth the investment and support; as I have done throughout my career, I will be their top advocate to get them the necessary resources to recover from the pandemic and continue to grow our economy. Working families have been hit hard over the past few years. They are worth the fight, and I will support them by closing our skills gap, wage gap, and keeping jobs here in Iowa.

At her kickoff event in West Des Moines, DeJear acknowledged the challenges of the past year and told the audience, “the reason why I believe in you is because if 2020 taught us anything, it taught us that we don’t resolve challenges on our own. All these things we talk about are not going to be resolved on one party’s back, one demographic’s back, one person’s back. We do this together.”

DeJear urged people to “fight for common ground” instead of cutting off contact with people who hold opposing views. “Treat people the same way you would if you were welcoming them into your home, even when it’s hard. Because our distance only does one thing: allow others to infiltrate our relationships and wedge us against each other and push us farther and farther apart. We are stronger together.”

The campaign has printed t-shirts and signs with the slogan, “Iowa believes in Deeds.”

DeJear became the first Black candidate to win an Iowa statewide primary in 2018. If elected next year, she would be the first Black woman governor in U.S. history.

Her campaign announced 22 well-known endorsers, including State Representatives Ako Abdul-Samad, Brian Meyer, Marti Anderson, Phyllis Thede, and Molly Donahue, as well as State Senator Claire Celsi and three former state party chairs.

DeJear is the second confirmed Democratic candidate for governor. State Representative Ras Smith launched his campaign in June and has appeared at Democratic or community events in many counties this summer. Smith recently released an education policy blueprint and has highlighted workers’ rights, climate change, and agriculture on the campaign trail as well. His prominent endorsers include State Representatives Timi Brown-Powers, Dave Williams, and Charlie McConkey.

State Auditor Rob Sand and U.S. Representative Cindy Axne have said they are thinking about running for governor in 2022, but also have not ruled out seeking re-election to their current offices.

To keep up with DeJear’s campaign: website, Facebook, Twitter

To keep up with Smith’s campaign: website, Facebook, Twitter

Editor’s note: Bleeding Heartland is unlikely to endorse in the 2022 primary for governor but welcomes guest posts by Democratic candidates or their supporters. Please read these guidelines and contact Laura Belin if you are interested in writing.

UPDATE: Governor Kim Reynolds’s campaign texted supporters the following message on August 15:

Clicking through brings up this fundraising appeal:

DeJear was state director for Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign in 2019, but obviously neither Democrat is a “socialist.” And if anyone’s likely to get “MILLIONS of dollars” from DC for next year’s campaign, it’s probably Reynolds from the Republican Governors Association.


Full text of August 14 news release:

DEJEAR LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO BE THE NEXT GOVERNOR OF IOWA

Ready to do the work because Iowa is worth it

Des Moines, IA — Deidre DeJear, a business leader from Des Moines, will announce today that she is officially launching her campaign for Governor. DeJear has spent years traveling the state. She has helped to grow over 600 small businesses, worked as a top organizer and fighter for voting rights; served as a champion girls basketball coach; and spent the past five weeks back on the road on a Conversation Tour. From Clinton to Council Bluffs, Fort Madison to Fort Dodge, and Sioux City to Dubuque, Deidre has heard directly from Iowans who are ready for new leadership that will focus on solving problems. DeJear is joined by elected officials and community leaders who are supporting her campaign on day one. 

Statement from Deidre DeJear.

“Today, I’m announcing that it would bring me great pleasure to serve all of Iowa as your next Governor. There is something incredibly special about this state; my chosen home. During my Conversation Tour, traveling county by county, I was reminded that I’m not the only one who believes in Iowa. I’ve met Iowans who take great pride in their communities, however imperfect they may be. We all know: Iowa is worth fighting for. 

Our children are worth fighting for the best education system possible; we can put Iowa schools back on top by working with parents, teachers, and our local governments. Small businesses, the backbone of our economy and small towns, are worth the investment and support; as I have done throughout my career, I will be their top advocate to get them the necessary resources to recover from the pandemic and continue to grow our economy. Working families have been hit hard over the past few years. They are worth the fight, and I will support them by closing our skills gap, wage gap, and keeping jobs here in Iowa.  

As your Governor, I will spend my time working on solutions by bringing together Iowans from river to river to meet our challenges head on. Last year we saw just how resilient we are. We saw how communities came together to help out neighbors and strangers alike after the derecho. When small businesses across our state reached out to me because they couldn’t access resources and loans at the start of the pandemic, I brought together local, private and public partners to raise money to get them the help they needed. Over 120 businesses received loans because we came together to put in the work. And believe me when I say, I am ready to put in the work for each of you.”

DeJear launches her race with a coalition of support from community and party leaders, and elected officials.

Ako Abdul-Samad, State Rep, Des Moines

Brian Meyer, State Rep, Des Moines

Claire Celsi, State Senate, West Des Moines

Marti Anderson, State Rep, Des Moines

Molly Donahue, State Rep, Cedar Rapids

Phyllis Thede, State Rep, Davenport

Bob Dvorsky, Former State Senator, Iowa City

Andy McGuire, Former IDP chair, Des Moines

Derek Eadon, Former IDP chair, Des Moines

Sue Dvorsky, Former IDP Chair, Iowa City

Heather Jones Brown, Community Leader, Des Moines

Jean Hessburg, Labor Leader

Joe Henry, Latino Community Activist

Kyrstin Delagardelle, Des Moines School Board Member

Laura Sands, Community Leader, Des Moines

Marcia Nichols, Labor Leader

Molly Regan, Former Scott County Soil & Water Commissioner and Labor Leader

Renee Hardman, West Des Moines City Council Member

Rev. Rob Johnson, Des Moines

Royceanne Porter, Johnson County Supervisor, Vice Chair

Teree Caldwell-Johnson, Des Moines School Board Member

Vanessa Phalen, Chair Northwest Des Moines Democrats

  • DeJear

    I hope she is not the nominee. In her last run for state office she had the lowest per cent of the vote of all candidates for the state executive council. 44.77%. If by some fluke she gets the nomination. The Register Headline should read. Iowa Democrats Vote to Re-Elect Kim Reynolds.

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