Woman Who Failed to Get on the Ballot in 2018 Will Challenge Ernst

Theresa Greenfield / Facebook
June 3, 2019

First-term Iowa senator Joni Ernst (R.) received another Democrat opponent Monday morning with an announcement from Theresa Greenfield, a once-promising congressional candidate whose campaign was caught falsifying signatures needed to make the ballot in 2018.

Greenfield promoted her ties to the state's agricultural community and declared herself "a farm kid with farm kid values ready to fight for working people" in her Monday morning announcement.

"Growing up on a family farm in a small town of 500, you had to pull your own weight," Greenfield said in an introductory video.

Greenfield's 2018 campaign for Iowa's 3rd Congressional District came to a surprising end when her campaign manager admitted to falsifying ballot qualifying signatures. The ensuing fallout forced Greenfield, who was the strongest fundraiser in the field and had earned endorsements from several notable labor unions and Illinois congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.), to hastily attempt to gather the necessary signatures in the final weekend before they were due.

Greenfield ultimately failed to qualify despite help from her opponents in the race to meet the signature threshold.

Noah Wasserman, Greenfield's campaign manager in that race, published a full-page ad in the Des Moines Register last April expressing his regret for falsifying signatures. 

In the ad, Wasserman apologized to Iowans "for denying you the possibility of voting for a terrific candidate," and added, "what I had done ultimately destroyed all that had been built by Theresa and her many supporters, volunteers, and campaign staff."

Greenfield had immediately fired Wasserman after he informed her of his actions. Shortly after his apology appeared, Wasserman was arrested and charged with one felony count of election misconduct and 13 counts of tampering with records, a misdemeanor offense in the state. Wasserman's attorney said his client did not dispute his role in falsifying the signatures but stated an intention to vigorously contest the claim his client's actions amounted to a felony offense.

The Des Moines Register described Greenfield "as the leading candidate in the Democratic primary race" before her campaign imploded. Former state representative Cindy Axne wound up winning the primary nomination and then went on to defeat Republican David Young in the general election, becoming one of the first women, with Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D., Iowa), to represent Iowa in the House of Representatives.

"Washington liberals and special interests are thrilled by Theresa Greenfield's entrance to the crowded Democrat primary," a spokesman for the National Republican Senate Committee told the Washington Free Beacon upon Greenfield's announcementThe spokesman went on to praise Ernst, who was first elected in 2014 in a surprise victory over then Democrat congressman Bruce Braley, as "an independent voice delivering for Iowa."

A recent poll by the Des Moines Register found Ernst held a 57 percent job approval rating in the state with 52 percent of independent voters viewing her favorably.