Senate candidate Eddie Mauro visited an unlikely town Tuesday afternoon as part of his promise to “meet people where they’re at” as he campaigns for the Democratic nomination.
Wapello, a Southeast Iowa community in Louisa County that’s alongside the Mississippi River, typically is not a stop on the trail for Democrats running statewide.
The seven Democrats who greeted Mauro at the downtown coffee shop are among the most active in the rural county, talking with the Des Moines businessman for more than an hour before he got back on the road for campaign stops in Henry and Lee counties.
“We need somebody who will fight for the people of Iowa,” said Mauro, one of three Democrats currently running to unseat Republican Sen. Joni Ernst. “That’s why I’m running around this state. That’s why I want to be your United States senator. I’m vowing to be a people’s senator.”
The race to replace Ernst is one of the best chances Democrats believe they have in 2020 to bump their 47 Senate seats to 51 for the majority.
But in order to be the nominee, Mauro will need to outperform Theresa Greenfield and Kimberly Graham in the primary. Michael Franken, a retired Navy admiral originally from Sioux Center in Northwest Iowa, also is considering a run.
“We’re going to need a five-tool candidate to beat Joni Ernst,” Mauro told Starting Line, ticking off his background in coaching, education, community activism, service and business. “She’s not going to be easy to beat.”
Mauro has traveled across the state to meet voters since announcing his candidacy in May.
In Wapello, Mauro was met with questions ranging from health care and infrastructure to immigration, skilled labor and partisanship in Washington.
He lobbed a few criticisms at Ernst, telling the group, “She has lacked the courage to stand up to her party. When the party’s been wrong, she hasn’t had the courage to speak the truth.”
Of her relationship with Donald Trump, Mauro accused Ernst of “being an apologist” for the president.
“She’s lacked the courage of her convictions,” he said. “She’s lacked the courage to stand with Iowans.”
As Democrats up and down the ticket fight off Republican accusations of socialism, Mauro reminded the voters about his business background working in the insurance industry.
“We’re going to get chastised a lot about socialism,” he said. “I’m interested in smart capitalism. I’m interested in a capitalism that has humanity as part of its basis. And we can do that.”
by Elizabeth Meyer