Governor Kim Reynolds is officially a candidate for re-election, she told a crowd of cheering supporters in Des Moines on Wednesday night, vowing to “ensure that Iowa remains a beacon of freedom, freedom and prosperity. unlimited”.
“As long as I’m governor, Iowa will be a state where you can live your life freely,” Reynolds said. “Where you don’t have to wake up in the morning and worry about the next thing the government is going to do to you, your business or your kids.”
Reynolds, 62, made the announcement after a series of political victories: She signed a major tax reduction and a restriction on transgender athletes in law the same week, she pronounced a national address on behalf of the Republican Party. She touted the three wins and her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in a high-profile speech.
“It’s not about liberal versus conservative, it’s not about Republican versus Democrat,” Reynolds said. “It’s about who is going to fight to keep Iowa and America free.”
Reynolds served as Governor Terry Branstad’s lieutenant governor from 2011 to 2017. When Branstad stepped down to become President Donald Trump’s ambassador to China, Reynolds became Iowa’s first female governor.
She was reelected in 2018 to her first full term with Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, winning 50.3% of the vote.
Reynolds ended his speech by inviting other Republican candidates to the podium and leading the crowd in a chant.
“When we show up, we win,” cheered the audience, a sea of matching red campaign shirts. “When we show up, we win.”
Branstad and his supporters praise Reynolds’ record and personality
Cindy Hoffman and Travis Klinefelter wore bespoke jerseys for the campaign launch: bright red, with American flag sleeves and “REYNOLDS GREGG 22” on the back.
Hoffman, 61, and Klinefelter, 44, befriended in crowds at Donald Trump rallies, part of a group they call the “Front Row Joes.” They got to know Reynolds through political events — well enough that Reynolds personally called Klinefelter when he was in the hospital several years ago.
“She really cares about it,” Hoffman said. “She seems like a really nice person.”
Ty Rosburg, a Crawford County supervisor, said the campaign kick-off event was everything he hoped for. He, too, praised Reynolds’ authenticity.
“I just like his courage,” said Rosburg, 58. “She gets straight to the point, she tells it like it is, she fights for people and she really doesn’t care.”
Branstad said he was proud of Reynolds’ performance as governor.
“She did a terrific job,” Branstad said. “Better than anyone else who has ever served in this office, including myself.”
Some attendees at the event raised the possibility that Reynolds could climb even higher than the Iowa executive branch.
“She would be a great vice president or president,” Klinefelter said, particularly alongside Trump in a potential 2024 bid.
Branstad said it was “premature” to consider Reynolds’ next step, instead focusing on his re-election prospects.
“She’s in the best position any governor has ever been in this state,” Branstad said. “I’ve run six times and never lost…She’s in a stronger position than I’ve ever been.”
Race status: Reynolds has high approval ratings, full war chest
Reynolds faces only one active Democratic candidate in November: Des Moines businesswoman Deidre DeJear, who unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state in 2018.
Recent polls and campaign documents show Reynolds holding an advantage over DeJear heading into the campaign season.
A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll conducted in late February and early March found a majority of voters, 51%, plan to vote for Reynolds in November. That puts her 8 points ahead of DeJear, who received support from 43% of respondents.
Sonar J. Ann Selzer told the Des Moines Register the result was “surprising,” as DeJear still has low brand awareness and an indication that many people will vote along party lines.
“The game will be to convert independents and then get them to vote, because independents are notoriously unreliable voters,” Selzer said.
Reynolds also has plenty of cash on hand for the campaign season, according to 2021 campaign documents. In January, the incumbent had $4.8 million in his war chest.
DeJear only had $8,500 in cash in the same January filing.
Businessman Fred Hubbell, Reynolds’ 2018 Democratic contender, endorsed DeJear on Wednesday.
“Iowa needs a governor who is willing to go to work and be a leader for all Iowans, instead of someone who only cares about his grassroots supporters,” Hubbell said in a statement.
An analysis of the register found that many top Democratic donors, including Hubbell, did not donate as much to the party’s 2021 gubernatorial candidates as they did to the candidates for Polk County Attorney and Auditor. State Rob Sand.
Democrats: Reynolds ‘failed in Iowans’
Democrats slammed Reynolds after his announcement. In a statement, Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn said Reynolds had “bullied” teachers and children, deepened the labor crisis and “failed Iowans.”
“As Kim Reynolds seeks to divide us, Iowa Democrats are working to make Iowa a better place for everyone,” Wilburn said. “It’s time for compassionate common sense to return to the governor’s office.”
Contestant DeJear tweeted during Reynolds’ speech.
“She spewed the same divisive rhetoric that we’ve come to know all too well from the past few years,” DeJear wrote. “Enough. It’s time to defeat her and bring some real leadership to Iowa.