Rep. Cindy Axne officially endorsed Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer at a campaign event Monday in Des Moines.
The move ends the speculation that Axne, serving her second term in Iowa’s 3rd District, might run for the Senate in 2022.
Axne told a crowded room at Peace Tree Brewing about forming a friendship with Finkenauer while the two served as freshman representatives in 2019. She recalled giving a speech to a noisy House while Finkenauer held the gavel and called for order.
“I turned around and Abby was just beating that gavel, telling every single person, ‘Quiet down, quiet down, the House is in order!’” Axne said.
Finkenauer served one term in the House before losing the 2020 election to Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson. Finkenauer announced in late July that she would challenge U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley for his seat in 2022. (Grassley, 87, has not yet announced if he plans to seek reelection.)
On Monday, Finkenauer said she was spurred to run by the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“In that moment, I knew the world had changed,” she said. “And it changed me.”
Finkenauer said she was especially disappointed by Iowa’s senators: She said Grassley did not push back against the misinformation that led to the attack although he “should have known better.”
Grassley in May questioned whether an independent investigation into the events of Jan. 6 was needed and suggested convening one was a Democratic scheme.
Finkenauer’s event was a who’s who of Central Iowa Democrats: in addition to Axne, several state representatives and candidates for office were in attendance. In her stump speech, Finkenauer highlighted several Democratic policy priorities, including affordable child care and lower prescription drug prices.
The audience was enthusiastic, aside from a single protester who interrupted Axne’s speech to demand answers about the federal eviction moratorium that expired Saturday. Neither Axne nor Finkenauer spoke about evictions at the event.
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