Florida Senator Rick Scott makes Iowa stop to rally Republicans

The Iowa Republican Party hosted a reception with some of Iowa’s most notable Republicans to discuss their plans to win back the majority in the U.S. Congress in the 2022 election.


Ayrton Breckenridge

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) speaks to a crowd on Thursday, April 1 at an Iowa GOP regional reception in Cedar Rapids at the Elmcrest Country Club. Scott talked about his time in the military, how he was raised and his business approach to politics.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter

Florida Republican and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott visited Iowa to rally Republicans through a discussion with U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, where he highlighted the importance for the Republican Party to flip the House and Senate in 2022 and take back the White House in 2024. 

 Over 100 people filled the tables of the Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Thursday to hear from Ernst and U.S. Reps Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson. While some people wore masks around the building, COVID-19 precautions were minimal with the state’s lifted mask mandate. 

 Iowa Republican Party Chair Jeff Kaufmann, who moderated the discussion, said the next two years are important for gaining support for Republican candidates running in the next election. 

While the presidential election is still three years away, national Republicans — like Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo — have already begun making rounds through the first-in-the-nation caucus state. In 2020, Republicans in Iowa flipped two congressional districts and strengthened their majority in the state Legislature.

 “This is the energy of a party that is going to have a very successful 2022,” Kaufmann said.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)(right) speaks to a crowd on Thursday, April 1 at an Iowa GOP regional reception in Cedar Rapids at the Elmcrest Country Club as Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann (left) and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) (middle). Ernst talked about her time as a child wearing bread bags. (Ayrton Breckenridge)

In January, Scott was elected as the chair of the Senate GOP’s campaign committee, and in this new position, he is travelling to Republican events across the country in order to talk to candidates and Republican leadership about their goal to win back the U.S. Senate.

“We’re raising money, we’re finding good candidates and we’re gonna win. Because Republicans, and independents and some Democrats are fed up with the Biden agenda,” Scott said.

Scott said that he is confident the Republican Party will also win back the presidency in 2024, and denied a presidential candidacy for himself. He said that he wants to focus on his new role and helping other candidates. 

Scott has fueled campaign ads against Democratic candidates in four different states so far, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, two of which have a Spanish adaptation. He said he will continue to defend the vulnerable Republican seats with ad campaigns. 

 While Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has not announced whether or not he will be running for reelection in 2022, Scott told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday that he is optimistic that the 87-year-old will do so. He said that if he does choose to, he would easily win the vote.

Grassley did declare a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission. 

Hinson, who is currently serving her first term, told supporters about her priorities for her role in Congress. She emphasized her disappointment in the COVID-19 relief package and new infrastructure package that she said are a waste of taxpayer dollars — reasons why she wants to see a Republican majority.

 “Well, it’s really not an infrastructure package, it’s really a tax and spend package and we’re sounding the alarm on that,” Hinson said.

 Another one of Hinson’s priorities, she said, was to limit the increasing number of people who are crossing the border into the U.S following a recent executive order.

 Hinson said she will be travelling down to one of the border facilities in order to address her concern of a lack of transparency about the issue.

 “I’m going to go down there so I can tell that story. So that we can stand up for our values. It’s a national security issue, it’s a humanitarian issue and we have to solve the problems at the border. I stand ready to do that, and I stand ready to work with them,” Hinson said. 

Ernst, said that the Democratic majority in D.C. will lead to a radically changed federal government. She said that her concerns include the Democrats packing the U.S. Supreme Court and giving Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood, which could potentially lead to four more Democratic senators.

 Miller-Meeks, who represents Iowa’s 2nd district, had her seat solidified on March 31 when opponent Rita Hart dropped her contest of the Nov. elections.

U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) speaks to a crowd on Thursday, April 1 at an Iowa GOP regional reception in Cedar Rapids at the Elmcrest Country Club. Miller-Meeks addressed the recently ended legal battle for her District 2 seat. (Ayrton Breckenridge)

 Miller-Meeks said that Democrats in the state and in Congress expected her to back down against the contest but the energy from her supporters kept her strong.

 “I may be a Mariannette, but I am nobody’s puppet,” Miller-Meeks said.

Ernst said that the next two years leading up to the elections are pivotal in the Republican Party gaining control of the House and Senate in 2022.

 “Rick has a level of optimism that I love, and he feels we’re going to take the Senate back in 2022,” Ernst said. “I know that with Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks in the House, they are going to continue to push them and we’re going to take the House back in 2022 as well.”

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