Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register
June 3, 2019Original Article
Democrat Theresa Greenfield announced her U.S. Senate campaign Monday, saying incumbent Sen. Joni Ernst has failed to live up to the promises she made when she first ran for office in 2014.
“Fundamentally, Sen. Joni Ernst said she’d be different, and she has disappointed me and so many Iowans,” Greenfield said in an interview. “She has not acted independently.”
In an announcement video released Monday morning, Greenfield references Ernst’s viral campaign promise to use her hog castration skills to cut the pork in Washington, D.C. and “make ’em squeal.”
“The special interests and corporate lobbyists keep feasting like hogs at the trough,” Greenfield says in the video.
Iowa Democrats have faced criticism in recent years for failing to appeal to rural voters. In her bio-heavy announcement video, Greenfield made an immediate case to those voters.
“Growing up on a family farm in a small town of 500, you had to pull your own weight,” she says. “But we also had to look out for each other — our family, our friends, our communities. We sure did during the farm crisis. It was all hands on deck.”
Greenfield also spoke about her first husband’s death on the job as a union electrician. She credits Social Security with supporting her and her two young children. Today, Greenfield is remarried, has four children, and she is the president of a small, family-owned commercial real estate company.
Ernst has high approval ratings among Iowans, according to a February Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. At that time, 57% of Iowans approved of the job she was doing, her highest rating in the poll.
“From the battlefields of Iraq to the U.S. Senate, no one has fought harder for Iowans than Joni Ernst,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a statement. “She has criss-crossed the state, listening to Iowans and taking their concerns to Washington. Sen. Ernst has fought for the middle-class and stood up to elites and special interests.”
The same Iowa Poll found Greenfield was not well known in the state. It showed 8% of Iowans viewed her favorably, 4% viewed her unfavorably and 88% were unsure. In the 3rd District, where she last ran for office, 8% viewed her favorably and 2% viewed her unfavorably.
Greenfield has been on national Democrats’ radar and her run for Senate was long anticipated.
In 2017, she launched a campaign to take on then-Republican Rep. David Young. Although she raised money and won attention, she dropped out of the 2018 primary race after her campaign manager falsified signatures on her candidate petition.