Sarah Huckabee Sanders will headline Gov. Kim Reynolds’ big October fundraiser

2nd Annual Kim Reynolds Harvest Festival

Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines — Saturday, Oct. 13 from 4-7 p.m.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holding a press briefing on April 26, 2018. — official White House photo by Andrea Hanks

Last October, Gov. Kim Reynolds made news by calling Iowa liberals “unhinged” at her Harvest Festival campaign fundraiser. For this year’s Harvest Festival, Reynolds has invited a special guest who is extremely familiar with that sort of intemperate speech: Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sanders has been the press secretary for President Donald Trump’s White House since July 2017. Before joining the Trump administration, she served as a senior advisor for the Trump presidential campaign. “I volunteered to join Mr. Trump’s campaign because he is a champion of working families; not Washington-Wall Street elites,” Sanders said when she started working for Trump in February 2016.

Sander was originally a deputy White House press secretary, but she was promoted when Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, resigned.

Sanders has a much higher national profile than Eric Greitens, the featured guest speaker at last year’s Harvest Festival. Greitens was then the governor of Missouri, and considered an emerging national leader in the Republican Party. Earlier this year, Greitens was charged with a felony resulting from an allegation that he blackmailed a married woman with whom he had an affair, threatening to release a nude photo he had taken of her against her will, after he stripped her and duct-taped her to a piece of exercise equipment in his basement. Greitens resigned as governor in May.

Although Greitens’ speech at last year’s Harvest Festival was much longer than Reynolds’, only hers produced a memorable line. “As we all know as we travel the state, the liberals are unhinged and they are out for us,” Reynolds said.

The “unhinged” remark came just after Reynolds’ introduced some of her campaign co-chairs, including Rep. Steve King, whom she described as, “Defender of freedom, our conservative values, candid, independent, principled.” Since announcing King as a co-chair, Reynolds has rejected numerous calls to drop the eight-term congressman from her campaign, as he has continued to make racist and xenophobic statements.

Asked about King and his long history of inflammatory public rhetoric during an appearance on Iowa Press in June, Reynolds said she disagreed with many things King said, but added, “No two people are going to agree on everything.”

She also tried to minimize King’s role in her campaign, calling him “one of over 4,000 honorary chairs in my campaign.”

But in her speech before a friendly audience during last year’s Harvest Festival, King was one of only five Iowa politicians Reynolds called on by name.

“Keep fighting the good fight, and doing what you’re doing. We appreciate you,” she said to King. “Thank you so much. Thank you for being a good friend all these years.”

This year’s Harvest Festival fundraiser will be held at the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center in Des Moines on Oct. 13. Tickets are $50, but admission is free for those under 18.

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