A new poll released shows that Democrat Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer may have her work cut out for her in retaining her seat this year. The survey, first reported by Politico Playbook, shows that Finkenauer has only a small lead over her opponent, and the lead is within the margin of error of the poll. This poll is the most recent example of a slow drip of bad news that could mean trouble for Democrats as they attempt to keep the first congressional district seat blue. Finkenauer’s opponent this fall will likely be Republican Ashley Hinson. Hinson, a current Iowa State Representative, faired well in the poll. It shows Hinson enjoyed strong support with the party base and shows president Trump up with no-party voters. Finkenauer did not fare well when it came to policy positions. Her closeness to polarizing political figures like Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as her support for impeachment, were unpopular with voters in her district. Harper polling performed the survey by interviewing 400 likely voters of the Iowa First congressional district.
This week’s Iowa Democratic caucuses resulted in two embarrassments for Finkenauer. The first occurred from reporting by this site. Iowa Field Report covered the fact that Congresswoman Finkenauer and the rest of the Iowa Democratic Congressional Deligation were the last to issue a public statement of support for the caucuses and their state party. When a comment was finally released, it came hours after the Iowa Republican Chairman, Senators Ernst and Grassley, and Governor Kim Reynolds had already done so. Second, came after the Iowa Democratic Party published the results of the caucus. Finkenauer, who publicly endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, was not a viable candidate to support in her precinct on Monday night. Biden came in a distant fourth place in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, Well below where his campaign and the media expected.
Another potential issue for Finkenauer to navigate is her fundraising report. While she raised $140,000 more than her opponent last quarter, research on where Finkenauer’s money comes from could be a problem. Iowa Field Report looked at Finkenauer’s fundraising reports and found that only $147,746 came from the state of Iowa in the first three quarters of 2019, while she raised $446,065 in California, New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois during the same time frame. California was her the most significant source, accounting for $251,665 in donations. Congresswoman Finkenauer’s fourth-quarter report filed last month with the FEC showed that just 10.9% of Abby Finkenauer’s contributions came from the state of Iowa.
In contrast, in her opponent’s fourth-quarter report, approximately 78% of all contributions came from Iowa. It did not take long for critics to seize on this. The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a press release on her out of state dollars this week. This issue is likely one of the attacks that will be used against her this fall. Complicating this for her campaign is the fact that when she ran two years ago she announced that she “isn’t afraid to take on out-of-state corporate interests drowning out the voices of the rest of us.”
Abby Finkenauer is serving her first term in congress. She defeated Congressman Rod Blum in 2018. The first congressional district of Iowa covers the northeastern part of the state. This district supported Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012 by double digits. However, in the 2016 election, Donald J. Trump won it by four points.