Iowa Democrats Slam DSCC, EMILY's List for Meddling in Senate Primary

Sen. Chuck Schumer / Getty Images
June 26, 2019

Democrats running in the Iowa Senate race to unseat Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) are slamming national Democrats for endorsing Theresa Greenfield's candidacy three days after her campaign launch, saying they are against "trickle-down politics" from Washington, D.C.

Greenfield, who previously dropped out of the Democratic primary last year after her campaign manager falsified signatures on her candidate petition, officially launched her Senate campaign on June 3rd. She was endorsed three days later by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY's List, which helps elect pro-choice female Democrats to office.

DSCC chairwoman Catherine Cortez Masto said Greenfield "embodies Iowa values of hard work, resilience, and a commitment to doing what’s right," and EMILY's List said it was vital for the Democratic Party to "elect pro-choice Democratic women to flip the Senate in 2020."

In response to the national Democrats meddling in the primary, several of the other Democratic candidates voiced their frustration with the national groups making their endorsements so early in the primary.

Iowa attorney Kimberly Graham pushed back against the national endorsements earlier this week by saying she believes "it’s important in a democracy — if we’re going to try to say we have one — to at least speak to or return the calls of the other candidates that are other Democrats in that primary." She went on to say the EMILY's List endorsement of Greenfield personally stung her because of her personal history of choosing to have abortions.

J.D. Scholten, who nearly defeated Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) last year, has yet to announce his campaign but said it was "a little disappointing" that the DSCC had already made an endorsement. He met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) earlier this month and told Roll Call that he and the DSCC staff didn't explicitly tell him not to run, but said their tone was "they don’t need a primary."

He also spoke with Time magazine and said he was still waiting on "a lot of variables" before he decides whether to run for Congress again. While he said he respects Schumer, he said, "I feel like I’m against … trickle-down economics, and I am also against trickle-down politics."

Iowa businessman Eddie Mauro, who announced his candidacy two weeks before Greenfield, slammed "D.C. insiders" for trying to influence the Democratic primary.

"Democrats in Iowa want a spirited primary about the issues that affect their healthcare, jobs, their children’s education and the climate chaos that imperils our farms and communities," Mauro said in a statement. "This must not be a primary influenced by D.C. insiders and the D.C. establishment."

This isn't the first time the DSCC has meddled in the Democratic primary of an Iowa Senate race. Bob Krause, who unsuccessfully ran to unseat Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) in 2016, took a shot at Schumer on Twitter.

"Having been there, I'm sympathetic with JD Shoulton's opposition to both "trickle-down economics" & "trickle-down politics." Why hold a primary in Iowa if it is already decided in New York?" Krause tweeted on Tuesday. "It destroys nominee's credibility before race starts."

UPDATE 6/27: The post has been updated to clarify that J.D. Scholten has yet to announce that he is running.