After weeks of David Young hammering her for not reaching a deal with Republicans on COVID-19 relief, Congresswoman Cindy Axne sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to consider the COVID-19 package again. 

While Pelosi and her caucus delayed restarting negotiations, Iowa Republican David Young has been calling on Congresswoman Cindy Axne, his opponent, to demand that Congress return to Washington D.C. and get back to work on COVID-19 relief. In an August 11th press release, Young criticized House Democrats for sticking to their “partisan political wish list and talking points” and not being serious about finding a solution. Young added, 

Democratic House leadership has sent its members home instead of in Washington, D.C. working to find a solution and get a bill done. As Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer wrote in a joint statement, ‘Lives are being lost, and time is of the essence.’ They’re right. It’s time for Cindy Axne and Nancy Pelosi to quit playing games and get to work.

For weeks, Young has blasted Axne and Congressional Democrats to get moving. A few days ago, on August 17, after Speaker Pelosi announced she was calling on Congress to return to vote on legislation dealing with the United States Post Office, Young’s campaign again called on Axne and Congressional Democrats to do their jobs. Campaign manager Andy Swanson said that while it may be convenient to blame the Senate, as Axne has done, the blame for inaction rests with her and her party in the house. He called out Axne for failing to lead and refusing to stand up to Pelosi. 

Looking Back 

For three weeks, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were in negotiations with the White House on a new COVID-19 relief package with details including extended additional unemployment funding, more stimulus checks, and liability protections for businesses and cities. Republicans were proposing spending $1 trillion, while Schumer and Pelosi proposed a bill costing almost $4 trillion. When talks fell apart, Pelosi sent her Democrat House members home to campaign without a deal rather than trying again.

Axne on Defense 

Now Axne is changing course. She released a letter she wrote to Speaker Pelosi asking her to do exactly what Young and his campaign have been demanding. In the letter, sent on August 19th, Axne seems to take inspiration from Young’s comments.

In his August 11th release, Young went after Schumer and Pelosi’s lack of compromise, saying “These aren’t the actions of leaders serious about finding a solution. These are the actions of partisan politicians playing politics with the lives and livelihoods of the American people.” 

In her letter to Speaker Pelosi, Axne, while still blaming the Senate, tells her, “I know that we can find common ground….” and “there are many ideas we agree on with our Senate counterparts…” 

The about-face for Axne is validation for Young and a win for suffering Iowans. While his opponent will almost certainly deny it, he has successfully leveraged his campaign machine and public sentiment to put Axne on defense.  

The battle for the third congressional district between Young and Axne is one of the closest in the nation and is considered a “toss-up” by most political handicappers. Voters will make their choice on November third.