#RingoGate: Ernst Targets Greenfield’s Dog

Left: Ernst. Right: Ringo

By Elizabeth Meyer

July 31, 2020

The race for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat took a turn for the silly on Friday when Theresa Greenfield’s campaign found out that Sen. Joni Ernst name-dropped Greenfield’s dog during a recent event as a way to criticize her opponent.

The morning began with Greenfield’s communications director highlighting an excerpt of a Caffeinated Thoughts article about the conference call with Sen. Lindsay Graham that took place on Wednesday.

In full, the offending paragraph reads: “Well, while I’m out there talking to folks about the Paycheck Protection Program opportunities, when I’m talking to them about supports needed in our rural health care system, when I’m talking about supports necessary for child care so that moms and dads can get back to work, she’s been hiding in her basement taking selfies with her dog Ringo. So, you know, she has not exhibited leadership throughout this entire process.”

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By late Friday morning, “Ringo” was trending on Twitter with more than 27,000 tweets. (Some tweets are related to Ringo Starr of the Beatles, not Ringo the dog.)

Audio of Ernst’s call with Sen. Lindsey Graham and reporters, published by Caffeinated Thoughts, makes clear Ernst’s frustration as she recycles the “hiding in the basement” line used by President Trump to criticize Joe Biden for holding few in-person campaign events amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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In response, people in Iowa and beyond responded with pictures of their dogs and the hashtags #IStandWithRingo and #RingoGate.


Even Sen. Ernst is not immune to a photo op with cute dogs. In September 2019 her campaign Twitter account announced Jax as their “Chief Pawliticial Strategist.”

And in May, on her official Twitter account, she posted a photo of Blix, a rescue dog taken in by “Team Ernst.”

In addition to creating some fun content on Twitter, Greenfield’s team took the opportunity to highlight how Ernst and Senate Republicans adjourned for the week without passing legislation to extend federal unemployment benefits that expire today. They also pointed out that Greenfield has participated in more than 200 campaign events (including a couple in person recently), that general election polls show Greenfield in the lead and multiple election forecasters have shifted the race to a toss-up.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 7/31/20

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