Finkenauer has blue-collar image with formidable campaign

Published: May. 24, 2018 at 7:06 PM CDT
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Among the candidates hoping to face Republican incumbent Rod Blum in Iowa's First Congressional District, Abby Finkenauer appears to have an edge leading up to the June 5th primary.

The Democrat is squaring off against three others in her bid for the party's nomination; Thomas Heckroth, Courtney Rowe, and George Ramsey.

It was February 2017, as Iowa Republicans pushed through a bill reducing collective bargaining rights, that Finkenauer-- a two-term House Democrat-- knew she was going to run for Congress.

"I knew that there was so much on the line here," she said, "that I was going to do absolutely everything I could to get this back."

Fast forward a year and the Dubuque County-native can now be found chasing the dream on TV. Her sweat-soaked ads depict Iowan's working their butts off to make ends meet. Finkenauer, right alongside them, showing off Iowa roots, even her dad's work clothes.

They aren't camera tricks, said Finkenauer, that blue-collar person in the ads is really who she is.

"I knew I wanted to do this authentically," said Finkenauer. "I knew I didn't want to do this on some poll-tested talking points. The folks here in this state deserve somebody who gets it."

But, despite the humble images in the ads, Finkenauer has a formidable campaign behind her. The 29-year-old has amassed more than a million in contributions, even outraising Congressman Blum in the first quarter of this year.

Republicans have targeted her from the get-go, calling Finkenauer the Democrats' handpicked candidate, pointing out her money is predominately coming from out of state.

Even so, Finkenauer said funds won't have bearing on her vote if she makes it to the House.

"We have got to get money out of politics," said Finkenauer. "That big money that can sway people. It is just sad that this is how it has become. It shouldn't be this hard to be a 29-year-old now and taking on a millionaire for Congress."

On the issues-- Finkenauer wants stronger unions, equal pay for women, more affordable higher education, environmental protection, and fully reinstating and further supporting the Affordable Care Act.