The Week in Iowa: A roundup of news from around the state

Gretchen Whitehouse, 8, of Marion, holds a sign in support of Gov. Kim Reynolds as the governor speaks during a women-led Republican rally Tuesday at World Class Industries in Cedar Rapids. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)

Trump Summons Iowa Campaign: Former President Donald Trump will return to Iowa on Thursday, just five days after Election Day, to campaign with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley. A little more than a year since he was last in the state, Trump will rally Iowans in Sioux City, home of Grassley’s Democratic challenger Mike Franken.

Republicans welcomed the former president back to the state, and Grassley said he would use the opportunity to deliver his message to thousands of Trump supporters. Democrats, meanwhile, said they suggested Grassley was vulnerable and criticized Republicans for appearing on Trump’s side.

Iowa Republicans will host the nation’s first presidential caucuses in 2024, and Trump is one of several national Republicans who have campaigned in the past year to establish a potential presidential bid.

Iowa Poll Finds AG Miller Has Sound Leadership: A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll showed Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller leading Republican challenger Brenna Bird by 16 percentage points among likely voters. According to the poll, 49 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Miller, compared to 33 percent support for Bird.

Miller has 93 percent support among Democrats, while Bird has 66 percent among Republicans. Miller won the majority of support among independents, with 52 percent to Bird’s 23 percent. 42 percent of respondents perceived Miller very or mostly favorably. 23 percent of respondents had a mostly or very unfavorable view of him. For Bird, her favor was evenly split among those who had an opinion, with about 20 percent viewing her favorably and unfavorably.

Unemployment benefits went to ineligible recipients: The state of Iowa paid out more than $238,000 in unauthorized unemployment benefits to dead and incarcerated people in 2020, according to a state audit.

At the height of the pandemic, Iowa Workforce Development received a flood of applications as most businesses were temporarily closed due to public health measures. During that time, the six dead received nearly $125,000 in unemployment benefits, while the eight incarcerated people who were not eligible for benefits received more than $113,000. State Auditor Rob Sand recommended the department improve its methods of checking claims against the state’s inmate database and checking the Social Security numbers of deceased people.

The new head of Veterans Affairs was named: Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed Todd Jacobus, a retired U.S. Army and National Guard colonel, to head the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

Jacobus served more than 30 years in the Army and National Guard and served three overseas missions. He served on the Iowa Veterans Affairs Commission for six years and was chairman of the group for two years. His appointment begins Nov. 7 and will require confirmation by the Iowa Senate.

They said…

“I think it was one of those candidacies that kept building momentum over and over again. And now here comes the wave. You can feel it out there, where it’s not just Democrats. They are Republicans. It’s the independents who are coming out to support this candidate because they believe Iowa is ready for change. — Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama campaigned with Democrat Mike Franken for Senate

“He’s really taking the wisdom that you all share with them and taking that Iowa to D.C. and that’s exactly what you want in an elected representative, to make sure they’re taking your thoughts and your hopes and your aspirations to D.C.” — Republican US Senator Marsha Blackburn campaigning with Senator Chuck Grassley


Grassley, Franken statewide campaign: Less than two weeks until Election Day, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and Democratic challenger Mike Franken campaigned across Iowa last week. Grassley held a rally to highlight his work for maternal health care and sexual assault victims. Franken campaigned alongside former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, who said he thought Franken could upset Grassley and bring independents and Republicans to his side.

Nikki Haley campaigns with Republicans: Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley campaigned with Iowa Republicans in Cedar Rapids and Davenport last week to celebrate Gov. Kim Reynolds. Haley has made several trips to Iowa in recent years and has indicated she is considering a run for president in 2024, when Iowa will host the nation’s first convention.

Water cooler

Number of COVID cases: The number of COVID-19 cases in Iowa increased by more than 25 percent last week, after seven consecutive weeks of decline. In the week ending Wednesday, the state reported 1,915 cases, up from 1,508 the previous week. The number of people hospitalized with the virus also rose to 153 from 144 the previous week.

The state is trying to solve food shortages: The state last week announced two new programs aimed at addressing food insecurity. Iowa Stops Hunger is an outreach initiative that will launch a pilot program targeting young women who are food insecure but may not qualify for federal aid. The state health department also announced $265,000 in grants to 15 counties through the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! program to encourage young Iowans to adopt healthy lifestyles.


Leave a Comment