FORT DODGE, Iowa -- Des Moines businessman Eddie Mauro launched his Democratic campaign for the U.S. Senate Monday by complimenting U.S. Senator Joni Ernst -- a Red Oak Republican seeking re-election next year -- as "nice" but then tried to make the case that he could better help Iowans who haven't benefited from the improving economy.
"We have a senator by the name of Joni Ernst," Mauro told the eight people gathered at Fort Dodge's Bloomers Cafe for his second event of the day, "…a lot of you know her…nice person."
Mauro also saluted Ernst's service in the military as a retired lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. But he added, "I think Joni Ernst has sold out Iowa."
Mauro said Ernst, who supported President Donald Trump's tax cuts in 2017, served big business interests instead of the Iowans who are sometimes working two or three jobs and still can't make a decent living. "Gave them crumbs," Mauro said of the Trump tax cuts' reductions for working class Iowans, "The people at the top got loaves of bread."
Mauro said that he would change the tax cuts and would raise the minimum wage but didn't say specifically how he would do either of those. "I’m interested in trying to raise the minimum wage in this country. I’m not sure what that number is. I don’t think 15 dollars (as a minimum hourly wage) is enough in New York City. it may be too much in Red Oak, Iowa. I'm not sure. But we have to find a way for people to make more wages."
This is Mauro's third attempt at public office after previously losing a Democratic primary for a Des Moines state house seat in 2016 (to Representative Jo Oldson) and a Democratic primary in 2018 for the Third Congressional District (to Cindy Axne).
The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out a statement in response to Mauro's campaign that said, "Happy Monday - Democrats are afraid of Joni Ernst, so they're now stuck with a new third-tier, looney liberal, twice-rejected candidate, Democrat Eddie Mauro. Mauro's announcement today is another reminder that Democrats have failed to field a candidate in Iowa, after their top two picks, (former two-term Iowa Governor Tom) Vilsack and Axne, passed on challenging well-positioned Joni Ernst."
Des Moines attorney Kimberly Graham announced her Democratic campaign for the U.S. Senate last week.