Gov. Kim Reynolds — photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor of Iowa
Speaking at a fundraiser on Saturday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said, “As we all know as we travel the state, the liberals are unhinged and they are out for us.” The remarks came at the end of Reynold’s Harvest Festival in Des Moines, her first public fundraiser since becoming governor.
“What is this outrageous thing liberals are doing in Iowa? I’d be interested in knowing that,” State Sen. Joe Bolkcom told Little Village. “Liberals and progressives think people should have health care. Is that an unhinged idea? What about not giving a record amounts of tax dollars to big corporations?”
“I think Iowa voters are sick and tired of mean-spirited name calling,” the Iowa City Democrat added.
Little Village emailed the Reynolds campaign to ask if the governor had any specific Iowans in mind when she called liberals “unhinged.” In response, Communications Director Pat Garrett sent 31 links to news stories, blog posts and tweets.
Out of the 31 links, 15 weren’t about Iowans. Three of those were about actor Alec Baldwin, who will appear at this year’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, an annual fundraiser for the Iowa Democratic Party.
Of the 16 links about Iowans, six were about Congressman Rod Blum, R-Cedar Rapids, facing hostile questions and having some of his answers booed at town hall meetings this spring. Garrett described another story as “Liberal Activists Shut Down Veterans Roundtable Held by Republican Joni Ernst.” But the link went to a story about a February public meeting Sen. Ernst held in Maquoketa, Iowa. There were protestors at the meeting, but the 50-minute meeting was not shut down.
Last November, people in Iowa City protesting the election of President Trump actually did shut down an on-ramp to I-80 for 30 minutes, and a story about that is among the links Garrett sent.
Three of the other Iowa links were about Heather Ryan, a Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, cursing in speeches. Ryan has also been accused of using “abusive language” about the adults behind child beauty pageants in her 2013 self-published book about the child pageant world and in YouTube videos on the subject. Between 2009 and 2012, Ryan was a talent manager for a top competitor on the child beauty pageant circuit.
Another link went to a Des Moines Register column criticizing a press release from the Democrat Fred Hubbell’s gubernatorial campaign that misstated the amount of money Gov. Reynolds has borrowed from the state’s rainy-day fund to cover budget shortfalls. A story on Democratic State Senator and candidate for governor Nate Boulton supporting a call to audit the state budget was also linked to.
The list also included links to a tweet by a Democratic Party activist in Des Moines criticizing how the Polk County Democratic Committee runs its meetings, and a story on the Iowa State Senate Democratic Caucus electing a new minority leader the day after Reynolds gave her speech.
There was one link about an apparently unhinged Iowan. In August, Joseph Hilton Dierks of Waterloo, was arrested for tweeting threats to Sen. Joni Ernst. But Dierks didn’t cite politics as the reason for threatening Ernst. According to The Gazette, Dierks said he didn’t consider his tweets threatening and “claimed he had been sending tweets to Ernst since she was elected because he wanted her help to get a waiver to join the military. He told [FBI] agents he needed the waiver because of his criminal history and age.”
After she called liberals unhinged, Reynolds told the audience at her fundraiser, “You keep fighting, I’ll keep fighting. Let’s keep this united team together, because, by gosh, we want to build on the successes that we’ve seen this last legislative session… We don’t want them to come in and reverse the good work that we’ve done.”