Trump-backed Harriet Hageman, Larry Elder rally for Zach Nunn

By: - October 10, 2022 10:26 pm

Wyoming Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman spoke in support of Iowa Republicans at a Polk County GOP campaign event in Clive Oct. 10. (Photo by Robin Opsahl/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Republicans must work together and avoid infighting on topics like former President Donald Trump in order to bring a “red wave” to fruition this November, GOP candidates and leaders said at a Polk County Republican rally Monday night.

Alongside Iowa conservative leaders, Wyoming Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman and former California governor candidate Larry Elder rallied for 3rd Congressional District candidate Zach Nunn as well as other GOP state and federal candidates in Polk County at the Horizon Event Center in Clive.

While the conservative figures spent much of their time talking about the need to win back Congress to fight against President Joe Biden’s administration, they also spoke about better times under former President Donald Trump.

Hageman won a contentious Republican primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump for his connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Cheney chairs the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot and Trump’s role in spurring the effort to overturn the 2020 election results. Hageman was endorsed by Trump in the primary race.

While the Wyoming Republican did not name Trump in her speech, she said she would investigate the FBI and critics of Trump if elected.

“We’re going to start investigating people like Hunter Biden,” Hageman told the crowd of more than 200. “… and the people who raided Mar-a-Lago, and the people who pushed forward with the ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ hoax, and all the other things that need to be looked into.”

Cheney has alleged that Hageman has spread false theories about the 2020 presidential election results, and said that she will not support her primary opponent in the general election. Iowa GOP party chairman Jeff Kaufmann criticized Cheney’s comments following the primary election. If Republicans are going to take back Congress, he said, they need to act as a team.

“It’s really kind of sad,” Kaufmann said. “And I would say that in Iowa, the same thing was happening. It’s really kind of sad to see a poor loser. It’s really kind of sad to see someone that’s part of a team and then forgets they’re part of that team if things don’t go their way.”

Elder also praised Trump in his address, comparing the economy under Trump versus Biden. He compared Trump’s approach to a golfer who doesn’t play with good form, but still makes impressive shots.

“When it comes to President Trump, I love where the ball landed,” Elder said. “I pay no attention to the swing.”

Mindy Ginger, a conservative Republican from Saylorville, said she has been a fan of Hageman since her appearance on shows including the War Room with Steve Bannon and Tucker Carlson’s talk show on Fox News. Congress needs more people like Hageman who “means what she says,” said Ginger, who said she gave money to the campaign.

Ginger said Iowa Sen. Zach Nunn was similar to Hageman, and would help reform the federal government, cutting taxes and securing the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to getting Republicans elected to Iowa offices, she said she wants to see Trump run for election again in 2024.

“I pray he gets back in,” Ginger said.

Republican speakers gathered on stage at a Polk County GOP campaign event in Clive, Monday Oct. 10. From left to right: Polk County Republican Party chairman Gloria Mazza, Iowa Sen. Zach Nunn, Wyoming Republican congressional candidate Harriet Hageman, former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, former Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Republican Party chairman Jeff Kaufmann. (Photo by Robin Opsahl/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Speakers showed their support for Gov. Kim Reynolds, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and Republican state government candidates, but most of the attention was focused on Nunn’s campaign against U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne. She won re-election in 2020 when Trump won the majority of the vote in the congressional district, and the redistricting process has added more rural, conservative-leaning counties to the district.

Nunn said he would work on fighting government spending in Washington, D.C. if elected and called for the reversal of the Inflation Reduction Act and Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness program. Axne and other liberal politicians do not care about the average Iowan, he said, who are still grappling with the impacts of high inflation and costs of living.

“We talked to families who have really suffered because they like us have tried to make do with not enough,” Nunn said.

During her address, Hageman said that she was looking forward to working with Nunn to stop “radical” economic and social policies.

“Zach, when you and I get to Congress, we’re going to work together on a couple of things,” Hageman said.

Elder said he related to Nunn’s race trying to unseat a Democratic incumbent, reflecting on his race against California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

While the former talk show radio host said he was in Iowa to support Nunn and other Republican candidates in the upcoming election, he also told the crowd he was considering running for another public office. While he did not say he was planning to run for president in 2024, he said he has heard from people in states from Iowa to Maine that they want the chance to support him in an election.

“I’m thinking, thinking, thinking about running for something else,” Elder said, as attendees cheered. “I will keep you posted.”

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.

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