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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced her re-election bid

kim reynolds at a podium
Madeleine King
/
IPR
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday she is running for re-election this year.

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Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday that she is running for re-election this year. She made the announcement at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines with a crowd of supporters cheering her on.

"As long as I'm governor, Iowa is going to be a state where you can live your life freely," Reynolds said. "Where you don't have to wake up in the morning and worry about the next thing that the government is going to do to you, your business or your children."

The announcement came just a week after Reynolds gave the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, signed major tax cuts into law, and signed a bill into law immediately banning transgender women and girls from playing women’s and girls’ sports.

Reynolds touted all three of those accomplishments at Wednesday's campaign event. She is also running on her efforts to give parents more choices in matters related to education—including banning school mask mandates and pushing for state-funded scholarships for some kids to attend private schools.

Reynolds said this election will be about who is going to promote freedom.

"Despite what you hear from President Biden and liberal elites, the threats facing this nation aren't from Canadian truckers, Joe Rogan's podcast, or parents who care about their child's education," Reynolds said. "The threats come from politicians who tell parents they should sit down, be silent, and let government control their kids' future. From elected officials who restrict your freedoms with COVID mandates that they don't even follow. From a United States president who refuses to do his job and secure our border."

Reynolds became Iowa’s first female governor in 2017. She was lieutenant governor to former Gov. Terry Branstad, who left when Donald Trump appointed him to be the U.S. Ambassador to China.

Reynolds was elected governor in 2018, winning against Democratic candidate Fred Hubbell.

Deidre DeJear, seen here in a 2018 file photo, is a Democratic candidate for governor who backs the Iowa caucuses.
Clay Masters
/
IPR
Deidre DeJear, seen here in a 2018 file photo, is a Democratic candidate for governor.

This year, Deidre DeJear is the only major Democratic candidate running for governor ahead of the June primary elections. DeJear is a small business owner who previously ran for secretary of state in 2018, and she was the first Black woman in Iowa to be nominated by a major political party for a statewide office.

DeJear told reporters Reynolds' re-election announcement solidifies what she’s up against. She listed challenges she believes the state has been facing under Reynolds’ leadership including with education, mental health care, workforce shortages and skill gaps.

“We need leadership who's willing to acknowledge these challenges and put pen to paper on solutions so that we're actually overcoming, and these challenges are not getting in the way of Iowans’ pursuit of life, liberty and happiness,” DeJear said.

A recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll found 51 percent of likely 2022 voters said they would support Reynolds, and 43 percent said they would support DeJear.

DeJear said those numbers are encouraging, and took the poll results to mean there are Iowans who support her and her campaign, but her campaign “need[s] more gas in the tank.”

According to the Jan. 19 campaign finance disclosures, Reynolds had $4.78 million cash on hand, and DeJear had about $8,500.

DeJear said she is now seeing more financial support for her campaign. Hubbell endorsed DeJear on Wednesday, which could help open up a a stream of campaign funding for the Democratic candidate.

“While [Hubbell] ran for governor in 2018 and adds a great deal of value from those experiences to this campaign, I know that him being a part of what we're doing is only going to make this campaign that much stronger,” DeJear said.

The filing deadline for candidates is next Friday. DeJear had not filed for candidacy as of Wednesday.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter
Kassidy was a reporter based in Des Moines