Another potential 2020 Democratic contender is appearing in Iowa TV ads over a year out from the Iowa Caucus, though he’s not having to pay for them.

Iowa Senate Republicans have decided to use Congressman Eric Swalwell of California as their new boogeyman in local legislative races. Their latest TV ad is attacking Democratic state senate candidate Vicky Brenner for hosting a fundraiser with Swalwell, then links her to policies they claim he supports. Swalwell has travelled extensively across Iowa to help down-ballot Democrats as part of his preparation for a potential presidential run.

“She brought in liberal San Francisco Congressman Eric Swalwell for a big-money fundraiser,” the ad approved by Senator Julian Garrett says. “Swalwell opposes a border wall and wants to confiscate guns from law-abiding Americans and give amnesty to illegal immigrants.”

The ad places Swalwell’s face next to Brenner and ends by suggesting, “If [Brenner] loves San Francisco so much, she can move there.”

It’s a curious tactic to say the least from Republicans. Swalwell isn’t exactly a household name in Iowa. It seems like a lot of work to first introduce the congressman to Iowa voters, explain how he’s connected to Brenner, describe what policy views he supposedly has, and then hope voters ascribe those to Brenner.

San Francisco makes appearances in plenty of other political ads this year, especially as Republicans try to tie Democratic congressional candidate Cindy Axne to Nancy Pelosi. Swalwell, though, actually grew up in Iowa.

Republicans must be increasingly concerned about Brenner’s chances in knocking off incumbent Senator Julian Garrett. Senate District 13 covers Madison and Warren counties, mostly rural areas that have been reliably Republican in recent years. Garrett now has both positive and negative ads running.

One of the more incendiary claims that Garrett tosses at Brenner is that she “supports providing sanctuary for potentially dangerous illegal immigrants.” Putting aside for a moment that Republicans are implying that immigrants are inherently dangerous people, Garrett’s only citation for this is the state party’s platform. That’s one of the weakest and most dishonest ways to attack an opponent, as there’s nothing requiring candidates of any political party to adhere to them. Most haven’t even read the document or support many of the specific planks.

The ad probably only helps Swalwell in his quest to become better-known to Iowa Democrats in the Des Moines media market before the 2020 campaign cycle arrives. Yes, part of it distorts Swalwell’s record into conservative framing, but Democrats would probably be happy to know that the congressman opposes a border wall. And it reminds activists that he’s been helping their local candidates.

Both Congressman John Delaney and Tom Steyer have run extensive TV ads in Iowa during the 2018 cycle. That’s helped push Delaney up into the ranks of the well-known Democrats in a recent Iowa Caucus poll.

No matter what, the Republicans are certainly helps boost Swalwell’s name ID.

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 10/10/18

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