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Political Note #280   Abby Finkenauer  IA CD 01

2020                             General Election

(This note is business as usual.  While the country deals with COVID-19, we also have an election in November. This Note is intended to help achieve a Democratic victory.).

Abby Finkenauer has a contest on her hands. She’s prepared.  She has raised almost $1.9 million and had $1.4 million of that available at the start of the year.  The almost certain Republican nominee has enough money.  She raised almost $1.1 million and had almost three quarters of a million available at the start of the year.

When Abby Finkenauer was elected in 2018, she would have been the youngest person ever elected to Congress.  Except for one other election. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a senior Democratic Member of Congress in a primary in Queens was a couple of months younger. Similar in age, they are dissimilar in style.  AOC has become a national and  international figure.  Abby Finkenauer is working on mastering relationships in Congress.

Consider the district1.  Iowa 01 is the state’s northeast quarter.  Its big city is Cedar Rapids – 130,000 people.  Waterloo has fewer than 70,000 people, Dubuque fewer than 60,000.  The district is 88% white.  The median income is less than $60,000 and, as an aside, almost the same as NY 14, AOC’s district.  Iowa 01 has had Democratic and Republican Representatives.  Abby Finkenauer defeated incumbent Republican Rod Blum. Blum replaced Democrat Bruce Braley who ran for the US Senate.  Bruce Braley replaced a Republican, largely because of redistricting.

Abby Finkenauer is suited to Dubuque.  Young as she is, she worked her way up.  She had blue collar beginnings. Her dad was a pipefitter welder.  She went to 3,000 student Drake University.  Not as Christian as some quite good alternatives, not as well known nationally as Grinnell, nowhere near as large as major universities like the University Iowa or Iowa State. She may have chosen Drake because it is in Des Moines, the state capital.  She was prepared for college and for living near the capital, partly as a result of frequent kitchen table conversations about politics with her union supporting Dad and her Republican uncle.  She could think things through, develop views and hold on to them, and argue her positions – in college and in life.

Abby Finkenauer also prepared herself to be a legislator.  She snagged a job as a page for the Republican Member of Congress from her district, Jim Nussle.  The following year she was a page for the Democratic Speaker of the Iowa House, Pat Murphy, also from her area.  A few years later, returned home, graduated from college, she ran for Pat Murphy’s seat.  She announced her run after he announced his retirement.  She won her primary with 58% of the vote.  She won the election with 61% of the vote.  Gutsy and energetic, people rooted for her.  She had no opponent for her second election.  Two years later, she ran for Congress and won.

Abby Finkenauer exercised her energy and drew on her youth when she was in the Iowa legislature.  She sought relief for people with college loans, urged that people be able to testify about legislative proposals via the internet, and fought to protect women’s right to control their bodies — asking in the legislature, why so many adult males wanted to control her body.  Eventually, as the ranking member of the government oversight committee, she worked on privacy, public disclosure, and the regulation of lobbyists.

In Congress, Abby Finkenauer has earned some regard.  She is a vice chair of the Future Forum Caucus, the organization for young Members of Congress.  She is on the Small Business Committee and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  She’s gotten a little done.  She introduced a bill to extend tax credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel.  It was incorporated into an appropriations bill and passed.

You might think – no big deal.  This is an Iowa kind of bill.  Was it a big deal to get it passed?  Skopos Labs, which tracks the likelihood of proposed legislation getting passed, gave it a 3% chance.  Once passed, other rural Members of Congress who had signed on, took credit for the bill’s success/

Here’s another potential success.  She decided to address endometriosis, a condition that causes painful menstruation which she suffers from as does nearly 10% of women in the country.  Abby Finkenauerorganized a group of young women Members of Congress to create a caucus on the topic and approached the Chair of the committee that oversees funding the NIH.  She and the caucus  pressed for more research funding for this painful condition.  On March 5, she made her speech to Congress on the topic.

Abby Finkenauer is on her way to being an influential legislator.  Help her defend her seat and stay on that path.  Send her some resources so she can compete.

Vulnerable Democratic Members of Congress, most of them first elected in 2018. Choose a few to support.  Check them out. Read my Notes about them in 

Elected by fewer than 1,000 votes

California 21                        TJ Cox

Utah 04                                  Ben McAdams


Elected by 5,000 votes or fewer

Florida 26                             Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Georgia 06                           Lucy McBath

Maine 02                               Jared Golden

New Mexico 03                    Xochitl Torres Small

New Jersey 03                    Andy Kim

New York 22                        Anthony Brindisi

Oklahoma 05                       Kendra Horn

South Carolina 01              Joe Cunningham


Elected by fewer than 10,000 votes


California 10                        Josh Harder

California 39                        Gil Cisneros

Iowa 03                                  Cynthia Axne

Virginia 07                            Abigail Spanberger


Elected by 15,000 votes or fewer

Illinois 14                              Lauren Underwood

Michigan 08                         Elissa Slotkin

Minnesota 07                       Collin Peterson

New York 11                        Max Rose

New York 19                        Anthony Delgado

Texas 07                                Lizzie Fletcher


Other close races

Illinois 08                              Sean Casten

Iowa 01                                  Abby Finkenauer

Texas 32                                 Colin Allred

Washington 08                    Kim Schreier