A Republican congressional candidate took pride in mocking Gov. Kim Reynolds’ order to shut down all bars and restaurants this past week. Thomas Hansen, one of the two Republicans competing to take on Rep. Abby Finkenauer in Iowa’s 1st District, raised a beer in respect to a local bar that refused to shutter by noon on Tuesday.
“The owner said he did not care what the government said, it was his business and he was not closing until the police came and shut him down,” Hansen wrote in a Facebook post. “I admire fellow patriots like that so I sat down and had a Guinness. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.”
Hansen noted he was at the Fareway for a job earlier in the day, presumably in his town of Decorah. The largest outbreak of COVID-19 in rural Iowa is in neighboring Allamakee County, one of the first counties outside major cities in the state to have residents test positive for the virus. There’s now a cluster of cases in Northeast Iowa, with 5 in Allamakee and one apiece in Winneshiek and Fayette counties.
While many Iowans are taking the warnings about COVID-19 seriously and are staying home and practicing social distancing, the number of businesses in small towns that feel far away from the crisis (even if they’re not) that are continuing to stay open are likely more than most realize.
Hansen, who is running on a very pro-MAGA platform, is a good example of the type of Trump supporter who remains very skeptical about the coronavirus’ impact. Like Steve King’s Facebook page, Hansen indulges in the right-wing memes around the crisis, but also shares his own personal concerns about the seriousness of the outbreak.
After being told he couldn’t refill one of his cups while waiting on a to-go order at a local restaurant recently, he laid out his frustration with the coronavirus situation.
“How much of this insanity, this scorched earth policy to get rid of President Trump are all of you going to accept,” Hansen questioned. “Oh and just so you know, last I checked, deaths from the regular flu here in the US so far this season 20,000-30,000; from the Pandemic Coronavirus 71.”
Hansen is unlikely to be the Republican nominee in the 1st District. He raised just $2,158 last quarter, compared to State Rep. Ashley Hinson’s $432,509.
by Pat Rynard