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Republicans have new base

Jasper County GOP opens new headquarters in Newton ahead of 2020 election

Addison Dunwell, son of Iowa House District 29 candidate Jon Dunwell, hangs up placards promoting the re-election of President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence on the wall of the new Jasper County Republican Party headquarters, 107 First Ave. W. in downtown Newton.
Addison Dunwell, son of Iowa House District 29 candidate Jon Dunwell, hangs up placards promoting the re-election of President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence on the wall of the new Jasper County Republican Party headquarters, 107 First Ave. W. in downtown Newton.

To celebrate the grand opening of their new headquarters in downtown Newton, members of the Jasper County Republican Party assembled a small rally led by their local legislators vying for re-election and their candidates hoping to change longstanding blue seats into red.

Set up in the former Computer Pro, 107 First Ave. W., the Jasper County GOP was still adding the finishing touches to its new office, mainly the American Flag comprised entirely placards promoting the re-election of President Donald Trump. About 50 people showed up to the opening day celebration Monday, June 22.

This office will be the hub for all local Republicans, who, in addition to campaigning for Trump’s re-election this year, are fostering candidates in two contentious races in the area: the vacant Iowa Second Congressional District seat and the Iowa House District 29 seat held by Rep. Wes Breckenridge.

Jon Dunwell, Breckenridge’s opponent, said during a speech to supporters that several people have already told him how tough the race is going to be. Dunwell admitted he knows it will be a tough race to win. However, the candidate claimed change is important, acknowledging people many people may not believe that.

The “Iowa statehouse is in jeopardy of being lost,” Dunwell said, referring to the Republican-controlled Iowa House of Representatives, Iowa Senate and governor’s office. Dunwell said every 10 years or so the statehouse changes majority parties. He suggested the Republicans may lose that control.

“We only have a six-seat advantage,” he said. “You flip four seats and guess what happens? … Everything (the majority Republicans accomplished) is in jeopardy. And all of a sudden Iowa comes to a grinding halt. My seat is one of the seats that the House Majority Fund believes can be become a Republican held seat.”

Since U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst was unable to attend the office opening, she sent a short video saying hello to the local Republicans and congratulating them on their new headquarters. Ernst was posed next to a motorcycle, similar to one seen in a recent video where she challenges opponent Theresa Greenfield to a debate.

“We are going to need your help to get Donald Trump re-elected this fall,” Ernst said in the impromptu video addressed to Jasper County Republicans. “I am counting on all of you, my grassroots supporters, to get out there. Let’s make it happen. Thanks and good luck getting that office open.”

Sen. Amy Sinclair of Iowa Senate District 14 and Jasper County Supervisor Doug Cupples, who are both running unopposed for another consecutive term in office, attended the evening meeting in-person. Cupples, part of an all-Republican board of supervisors, touted the county’s progress with roads and the budget.

“We’re trying to do everything we can within the financial limits that we’ve been given,” Cupples said. “There (are) more changes coming.”

Sinclair, too, lauded her party’s accomplishments, but this time from a state government level. The state senator rattled some of them off: the largest tax cut in state history, budgets with well below spending limits and the passing of “some of the most pro-life legislation” across the nation.

“What have we done? We’ve promised and we’ve paid. We delivered. That’s what Republicans do. We live up to our promises,” Sinclair said.

Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa Senate District 41 was able to address local party members about her primary win against five other Republicans, as well as the forthcoming election for Iowa’s Second Congressional District against former state senator and former Fred Hubbell runningmate Rita Hart.

Miller-Meeks thanked those who voted for her in the primary. For those who did not vote for her, the state senator said she will do everything she can to earn their support and their vote this November. The party, she added, has to be “united,” get Trump re-elected and Ernst re-elected.

Urging supporters to all vote Republican this year, Miller-Meeks claimed her party knows it is “fighting for the heart and soul of America.” She encouraged attendees to door knock and raise money before throwing jabs at Hart’s policies about private health care insurance, abortion and Second Amendment rights.

“You may already know the national Republican Party on Friday invested $2.4 million in the second congressional district alone — $2.4 million,” Miller-Meeks told Jasper County Republicans. “So that’s how important this seat is. It’s an open seat.”

Rep. Jon Thorup of Iowa House District 28 and Sen. Zach Nunn of Iowa Senate District 15 were unable to attend the grand opening.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

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