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TV ad by Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer highlights Democrats’ effort to woo back rural voters

A family farmer talks about ‘tough time’ without citing Trump tariffs

Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer's latest campaign ad features a farmer named Diane.
Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer's latest campaign ad features a farmer named Diane. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s latest TV ad makes a clear pitch to farmers, underscoring how rural voters are a key voting bloc in the Hawkeye State.

Finkenauer’s 1st District in northeast Iowa is a mix of suburban and rural areas. And Democrats recognize that to win competitive House races in Iowa, and defeat Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, they have to win over voters in rural areas who have shifted toward Republicans.

The 30-second spot, shared first with CQ Roll Call, features Dianne Klein of Sherrill, Iowa, who owns a family farm that’s been struggling.

“It’s been a really tough time. I think that the big farms are the ones that get the most help and not so much the smaller family farms like ours,” Klein says in the ad. “It’s been rough. Abby Finkenauer — she’s fighting for me and I like that. If she says she’s going to do something, she does it.”

The ad mentions a “tough time” without explicitly naming President Donald Trump’s trade war with China or the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, both of which have hurt farmers. Finkenauer has avoided directly criticizing Trump, who carried the district by nearly 4 points in 2016, in her campaign commercials. Finkenauer unseated GOP Rep. Rod Blum by 5 points in 2018.

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The ad is Finkenauer’s sixth TV spot in her reelection race against GOP state Rep. Ashley Hinson. It’s part of a six-figure ad buy in the Cedar Rapids media market, and will run on broadcast and cable networks as well as digital platforms throughout the district.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 1st District race Tilt Democratic.

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