Exclusive: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Endorses Monica Vernon

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In another sign that Democratic leaders are closing ranks behind Monica Vernon in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has endorsed Vernon’s campaign.

“Monica Vernon knows what it means to be a working mom,” Gillibrand said in a statement shared early with Starting Line from Vernon’s campaign. “She started a successful small business from her kitchen table while raising three girls. When she saw that there was no shelter for homeless women and children in Cedar Rapids, she took it upon herself to get one built. That tenacity and determination for getting things done is exactly what we need to make Washington work. I’m throwing my full support behind her.”

Gillibrand’s backing is the first Vernon has received from the U.S. Senate, and adds to a long list of endorsements she’s racked up. Yesterday House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer endorsed Vernon, bringing the list of House members supporting her to seven, including Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack and neighboring Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.

This news also points to just how different the 1st District primary dynamics are this year from 2014. Last cycle, national leaders expected this seat to be a Democratic hold, and largely stayed out of the primary. Vernon heavily courted EMILY’s List endorsement in 2014, but they passed on the race, focusing more of their efforts on Staci Appel’s bid in the 3rd.

For 2016, however, Iowa’s 1st District is seen as one of the top pick-up targets in the country for Democrats, and state and national leaders have been unafraid to pick sides. After seeing Republicans break Iowa’s glass ceiling of electing a woman to federal office with Joni Ernst, getting a female Democratic candidate well-positioned for 2016 seems to have taken on more significance. Vernon was EMILY’s List first Congressional endorsement for this cycle, a clear sign of how seriously they take the race. Gillibrand, well-liked among female activists nationwide, could add to that effort. And the DCCC seems to have all but endorsed her as well, considering the number of Congressional members lining up behind her.

Starting Line broke the news yesterday morning that Pat Murphy was thinking of a second run for the 1st District, with some others reporting similar news later in the day. Vernon came up short to Murphy by about 13 percentage points in the 2014, though she’ll clearly have a considerably more resources and allies this time around. Vernon finished out last cycle as Jack Hatch’s Lt. Governor nominee.

Below is the full list of Vernon endorsees:

EMILY’s List
Tri-State Maxed Out Women
Teamsters Local 238
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer
U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
U.S. Representative Lois Frankel (FL-22)
U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
U.S. Representative Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02)
U.S. Representative Denny Heck (WA-10)
FormerĀ US. Representative Berkley Bedell
First Female Lt. Governor of Iowa Jo Ann Zimmerman
State Senator and President of the Senate Pam Jochum
State Senator Tom Courtney
State Senator Joe Bolkcom
State Senator Bob Dvorsky
State Senator Rob Hogg
State Senator Liz Mathis
State Senator Rich Taylor
State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad
State Representative Marti Anderson
State Representative Vicki Lensing
State Representative Jerry Kearns
State Representative Liz Bennett
State Representative Mary Mascher
State Representative Kirsten Running-Marquardt
State Representative Art Staed
State Representative Sally Stutsman
State Representative Cindy Winckler
Fmr. State Representative Jane Teaford
Fmr. State Senator Tom Flynn
Fmr. State Senator Bev Hannon
Fmr. State Senator Jack Hatch
Fmr. State Senator Jack Kibbie
Fmr. State Senator Jean Lloyd-Jones
Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers
Fmr Linn County Supervisor Lu Barron
Mayor of Marion Snooks Bouska
Former Mayor of Cedar Rapids Lee Clancey

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 7/1/15

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