CAMPAIGN ALMANAC: Gabbard endorses Grassley; Trump endorses Bird

Gun Rights

Gabbard endorses GrassleyFormer Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard endorsed Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s reelection campaign on Sunday.

In a statement, Gabbard praised Grassley’s conservative priorities and said Grassley’s Democratic opponent, Mike Franken, would be a “rubber stamp for the Biden administration.”

“I’m supporting Chuck Grassley because we need leaders who will put the well-being of people ahead of party politics, and fulfill their commitment to uphold the Constitution and defend our freedoms,” Gabbard said.

In a video posted to Twitter, Gabbard said Grassley was the alternative to what she called “radical, so-called woke idealogues” supported by the Democratic Party.

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Gabbard, a U.S. House representative from Hawaii between 2013 and 2021, has been critical of the Democratic Party since leaving office, and In October she announced she was leaving the party. She has endorsed and campaigned with Republicans nationally since then, including Blake Masters and Kari Lake in Arizona and Darren Bailey in Illinois.

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Gabbard was a contender in the 2020 Democratic primary for president, visiting Iowa several times before dropping out of the race in March. She failed to gain major support in the contest, hovering around 1% in polls.

Grassley has also been endorsed by Max Baucus, a former Democratic U.S. senator who served on the Senate Finance Committee with Grassley from 2001 to 2011.

Trump endorses

Brenna BirdFormer President Donald Trump endorsed Republican Brenna Bird for Iowa attorney general, a few days after sharing a stage with her in Sioux City.

In a statement through his Save America PAC, the former Republican president said Bird is a “tough-as-nails but very fair prosecutor” who will prosecute criminals and seek justice for victims. The statement also called Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller a “radical left liberal.”

Bird has campaigned on standing with law enforcement, something she has accused Miller of not doing. She also said she would enter lawsuits against the Biden administration for what she sees as federal overreach.

“Brenna Bird backs the Blue and will always fight for our tremendous men and women of Law Enforcement,” Trump said in the statement. “Next week Brenna will defeat a very lazy and weak on crime Tom Miller, the longest serving Democrat Attorney General in the country!”

Trump was in Sioux City for a rally last week, campaigning alongside Bird and other Republican candidates for office. He gave a strong indication at the rally that he plans to seek another term as president, saying he will “very, very, very probably do it again.”

13 more sheriffs endorse proposed gun amendment

Thirteen more Iowa sheriffs have publicly endorsed a proposed gun rights amendment to the Iowa Constitution on Tuesday’s general election ballot, according to the Iowa Firearms Coalition.

According to a news release from the gun-rights advocacy group, more than 20 county sheriffs across the state have endorsed the amendment that appears on the back of Iowans’ ballots.

Iowa voters are being asked to add language to the Iowa Constitution that states it is a “fundamental individual right” to keep and bear arms, and that any restraint on that right is invalid unless it meets the stringent demands of “strict scrutiny” in court.

Gun-safety advocates, as well as constitutional law professors in the state, say the “strict scrutiny” language goes beyond protections contained in the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, by dictating the level of judicial review Iowa courts must apply when considering whether gun restrictions in the state are permissible.

Opponents worry the amendment would prohibit reasonable safety measures, such as firearm safety training, universal background checks and a license to carry a gun in public, and could weaken or lead to courts to overturn existing state gun laws.

Supporters say the amendment is necessary to protect Iowans’ gun rights from infringement.

Iowa sheriffs endorsing the amendment, according to the Iowa Firearms Coalition include: Marty Arganbright (Guthrie County), Ken Pingrey (Carroll County), Kirk Dolleslager (Grundy County), Chad Sheehan (Woodbury County), Jamie Van Voorst (Sioux County), Aaron Dodd (Franklin County), Brandon Doiel (Harrison County), Jeff Pratt (Monona County), Travis Oetter (Mills County), Tim Beckman (Howard County), John LeClere (Delaware County), Mike Tschirgi (Clayton County), Kevin Wollmuth (Osceola County), Warren Wethington (Cedar County), Dan Tredrow (Van Buren County), Quinn Riess (Muscatine County), Keith Davis (Wayne County), Jared Schneider (Washington County), Jason Barnes (Madison County), Jason Sandholdt (Marion County), Adam Infante (Dallas County), Jeff Vandewater (Adair County), Joe Carico (Warren County) and Robert Rotter (Iowa County).

“The right to self-defense is among the most basic rights we enjoy as Americans,” IFC President Dave Funk said in a statement. “We look forward to having this right enshrined in Iowa’s Constitution on November 8th and we are grateful to have the support of Iowa’s law-enforcement community towards our efforts to make this happen.”

Recent polling from the Des Moines Register found 58% of likely voters plan to vote for the proposed amendment in the Nov. 8 midterm election. Thirty-seven percent of likely voters would vote against it, and another 6 percent were not sure.

The Iowa Firearms Coalition is an affiliate of the National Rifle Association and NSSF, the firearm industry trade association.

Election day for state and federal offices is Tuesday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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