Week in Iowa: roundup of news from across the state

Gretchen Whitehouse, 8, of Marion, holds up a sign in support of Gov. Kim Reynolds as the governor speaks during a women-led Republican rally Tuesday at World Class Industries in Cedar Rapids. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)

Trump wants to campaign in Iowa: Former President Donald Trump will return to Iowa on Thursday, just five days before Election Day, to court with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Senator Chuck Grassley. A little over a year since he was last in the state, Trump will rally Iowans in Sioux City, home of Grassley’s Democratic challenger Mike Franken.

Republicans welcomed the former president back to the state, and Grassley said he would take the opportunity to deliver his message to thousands of Trump supporters. Democrats, meanwhile, said they implied Grassley was vulnerable and criticized Republicans for standing alongside Trump.

Iowa Republicans will host the nation’s first presidential election in 2024, and Trump is among several national Republicans who have campaigned across the state over the past year and primed a potential presidential bid.

Iowa poll finds AG Miller by a healthy margin: A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll found that Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller leads Republican challenger Brenna Bird by 16 percentage points among likely voters. According to the poll, 49 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Miller, compared to 33 percent supporting Bird.

Miller has 93 percent support among Democrats, while Bird has 66 percent among Republicans. Miller received the majority of support among independents at 52 percent versus Bird’s 23 percent. Miller was viewed as very or mostly positive by 42 percent of respondents. 23 percent of those surveyed had a predominantly or very negative opinion of him. As for Bird, her sympathy was evenly split between those who had an opinion, with about 20 percent each giving her a positive and negative rating.

Unemployment benefits went to ineligible recipients: According to a state audit, the state of Iowa paid more than $238,000 in improper unemployment benefits to deceased and incarcerated people in 2020.

At the height of the pandemic, Iowa Workforce Development received a spate of applications as most businesses were temporarily closed due to public health measures. During that time, six deceased received nearly $125,000 in unemployment benefits, while eight incarcerated ineligible individuals received more than $113,000. State Examiner Rob Sand recommended that the department improve its methods of reviewing applications against the state’s prisoner database and verifying social security numbers of deceased persons.

New Director of Veterans Affairs Named: Governor Kim Reynolds appointed Todd Jacobus, a retired U.S. Army and National Guard colonel, to head the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

Jacobus served more than 30 years in the Army and National Guard and served in three overseas missions. He was a member of the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs for six years and chaired the group for two years. His appointment begins November 7 and is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate.

Said …

“I think this was one of those candidatures that just kept gaining momentum. And now a wave is coming here. You can just feel it out there where there aren’t just Democrats. They’re Republicans. It’s independents coming over to support this candidate because they believe Iowa is ready for change.” — Former Democratic US Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, who is running for Senate with Democrat Mike Franken

“He really takes that wisdom that you all share with them and he brings that Iowa to DC and that’s what you want from the elected representative to be sure they carry your thoughts, your hopes and your desires to DC.” .” – Republican US Senator Marsha Blackburn during her campaign with Senator Chuck Grassley

bits and pieces

Grassley, Franken campaign statewide: With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, US Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic challenger Mike Franken have both been campaigning across Iowa for the past week. Grassley held a rally highlighting his work for maternal health care and sexual assault survivors. Franken fought alongside former US Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, who said he believed Franken could anger Grassley and win independents and Republicans over to his side.

Nikki Haley fights with Republicans: Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley campaigned with Iowa Republicans in Cedar Rapids and Davenport last week to celebrate Gov. Kim Reynolds. Haley has made several trips to Iowa in recent years, and she has indicated she is considering running for the presidency in 2024, when Iowa will host the nation’s first caucuses.

water cooler

COVID cases rising: Iowa’s COVID-19 cases rose more than 25 percent over the past week after rates fell for seven straight weeks. In the week ended Wednesday, the state reported 1,915 cases, up from 1,508 the previous week. The number of people hospitalized with the virus also rose to 153 from 144 the previous week.

The state tries to combat food insecurity: The state last week announced two new programs aimed at tackling food insecurity. Iowa Stops Hunger is an information initiative that will launch a pilot program aimed at young women who are food insecure but may not be eligible for federal assistance. The State Department of Health also announced $265,000 in grants for 15 counties as part of the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Program aimed at encouraging young Iowans to lead healthy lifestyles.


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