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Campaign Almanac

Campaign Almanac: Former Vice President Mike Pence to visit Wilton

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Former Vice President Mike Pence will headline a fundraiser alongside Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann next week in Wilton, marking another visit to Iowa and bolstering speculation around a 2024 presidential run.

According to an invitation for the event, Pence will be the featured speaker at the 15th annual “Kaufmann Family Harvest Dinner” on Sept. 29 in Wilton. The invitation says other candidates and state leaders will be at the fundraiser, but no others besides Pence and Kaufmann are named.

“Bobby Kaufmann has been a champion for Iowa, his district and the conservative movement,” Pence said in a statement. “I look forward to joining Bobby at the Kaufmann Family Harvest Dinner and meeting Republicans from his district to discuss our shared conservative values and vision for Iowa’s future.”

Pence was last in Iowa in August at the Iowa State Fair, joining Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley on a tour of the fair. He’s attended party fundraisers and speaking engagements intermittently in the state since the 2020 election, including a November speech at the University of Iowa.

He didn’t give any indication of his potential presidential ambitions at the State Fair, telling reporters he and his family would “reflect and pray on where we might next serve, where we might next contribute,” after the 2022 election.

“Having national leaders like Vice President Pence visit small rural towns like Wilton really gets to the heart of what Iowa truly is,” Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann, Bobby Kaufmann’s father, said in a statement. “Iowans in every town across the state get to ask tough questions and meet candidates face to face.”

The event last year drew U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), another potential 2024 contender.

The fundraiser begins at 5:30 p.m. Basic tickets are $50, with optional donations up to $2,500 for a private roundtable before the event with Pence.

Bobby Kaufmann is running for reelection to Iowa’s 82nd House District, which covers Cedar County and parts of Muscatine and Scott Counties. He faces a challenge from Libertarian Clyde Gibson of Montpelier.

Grassley endorsement

Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s campaign announced a coalition of veterans supporting his reelection on Wednesday.

The coalition includes veterans from all 99 counties and its leadership team includes Republicans Sen. Joni Ernst, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and former Gov. Terry Branstad, all of whom are veterans. The group is chaired by Republican former Iowa attorney general and retired Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Evan Hultman of Waterloo.

Grassley is seeking reelection to his eighth term in the U.S. Senate, facing Democratic challenger Mike Franken, a retired Navy admiral.

"Our veterans dedicated their lives to serving our country,” Grassley said in a news release. “I work to make sure the federal government keeps its promises to them, which includes my support for the PACT Act this year, every step of the way. I'm proud to represent veterans and honored to have their support.”

In a statement, Franken’s campaign spokesperson highlighted the Democratic candidate’s military experience and his opposition to the war in Iraq.

“Admiral Mike Franken spent nearly four decades in the military fighting for American democracy here at home and around the world,” Franken’s spokesperson C.J. Petersen said. “As a veteran who knows the cost of war, Admiral Franken will always seek to avoid war whenever possible and isn’t afraid to speak truth to power — which is why he opposed the disastrous failed invasion of Iraq, something Senator Grassley supported.”

— Lee-Gazette Des Moines Bureau

New Reynolds ad

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ newest reelection campaign ad ( starts with some sleight of hand to tie her political opponent to a policy stance she has not taken.

Reynolds, a Republican who has been Iowa’s governor since 2017, is running for another four-year term. The Democratic challenger is Deidre DeJear, a Des Moines small businesswoman.

Reynolds’ latest ad begins with her watching a TV that shows an interview in which U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, a Democrat from Missouri, is shown saying, “Defunding the police has to happen.”

Bush is a Black woman, like DeJear. But DeJear has not called for any manner of reducing law enforcement agencies’ budgets. In January, she told Axios ( that Iowa law enforcement officers, “deserve more than a pat on the back and a one-time $1,000 bonus (that Reynolds created).”

After the clip of Bush, Reynolds in the ad says, “Watching the news you wonder, has the rest of the country lost its mind? Attacks on police, open borders, paying people not to work. Aren’t you glad you live in Iowa?”

Libertarian Party candidate Rick Stewart also is on the ballot in Iowa’s gubernatorial campaign.

— Lee-Gazette Des Moines Bureau

Stewart ad

Rick Stewart, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor, released a new campaign ad ( that features his call to legalize marijuana in Iowa.

In the ad, Stewart notes that marijuana is legal in other states, including Iowa’s eastern neighbor, Illinois.

“How come I can grow corn but I can’t grow weed (in Iowa)? They’re both plants,” Stewart says in the ad.

Stewart is running against Republican incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear.

— Lee-Gazette Des Moines Bureau


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