Exclusive: Iowa governor's campaign opts donors into recurring contributions

Governor Kim Reynolds’ campaign is using pre-checked boxes for online fundraising to drive supporters toward recurring monthly contributions as well as additional one-time gifts.

The donation pages, associated with Facebook and Twitter posts bashing President Joe Biden’s policies, recall “aggressive” tactics President Donald Trump’s campaign used last year. As Shane Goldmacher reported for the New York Times earlier this month, the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee used pre-checked boxes to generate record-setting online fundraising in the summer and fall of 2020, followed by an unprecedented number of refunds to donors who felt duped.

Reynolds campaign representatives did not respond to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries about the practice.

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Kim Reynolds bets big on the conservative base

It was certainly a good Friday for Iowans who want to buy handguns but can’t pass a background check.

Governor Kim Reynolds signed House File 756, making permits optional for buying handguns or carrying concealed weapons in Iowa, and House File 621, shielding firearms manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits related to gun violence.

Although Reynolds had postured as undecided on the permitless carry bill, telling reporters her staff would review the legislation carefully, I didn’t talk to any political insider in either party who had any doubt she would sign it. The only question was when. The answer turned out to be, right before the Easter holiday weekend, when fewer people would notice.

Republican lawmakers helped the governor out, waiting nearly two weeks to send her the gun bills, so she wouldn’t have to sign them while mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado were still dominating the national news. (While the Iowa legislature is in session, the governor must decide within three days whether to sign or veto bills on her desk.)

Making it easier for Iowans to buy guns with no screening or training might seem like a risky political move, given the overwhelming popular support for mandatory background checks and Reynolds’ past claims to support permits. The governor is clearly betting that pleasing the gun lobby–just about the only supporters of this legislation–will pay off in the next election.

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Rob Sand drops a hint

As fundraising emails go, the message State Auditor Rob Sand’s campaign sent around 10:00 am on March 20 was nothing special. It began this way:

Even though it’s an off-year for us, it is still important to show our campaign is viably powered and the supported choice to move Iowa forward.

While re-election is still many months away, our campaign is already hard at work building the critical infrastructure needed to ensure re-election.

A “corrected” version arrived about an hour and 20 minutes later.

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Ope! To defeat Kim Reynolds, it's time to scuttle "Iowa Nice"

C.J. Petersen is a rural organizer and board member of OPE PAC. He was the 2020 Democratic nominee in Iowa Senate district 6. -promoted by Laura Belin

Iowa nice. It’s the thing anyone who hails from the land of rolling cornfields and hog barns dotting the horizon loves to brag about. 

Ask anyone—you’ll hear an anecdote about farmers rallying together to finish a harvest due to an unforeseen illness, that time somebody from two towns over changed a teenage girl’s tire when she had a flat, or the way the community came together to clean up after a storm. My own neighbors invariably scoop my driveway before I have a chance to trudge out of the garage with my snow blower at least once every harsh winter. And at almost every gas station you’ll find a coffee can filled to the top with dollar bills to help a family with medical expenses they can’t afford. 

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