Kaufmann Harvest Festival hosts Sen. Tom Cotton

When asked about a potential presidential bid in 2024, Cotton told The Daily Iowan he was here to support the Kaufmanns and Iowa’s Congressional Delegation in the 2022 races.


Braden Ernst

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann say their goodbyes to the Wilton crowd on November 12, 2021

Natalie Dunlap, Politics Editor

The 14th Annual Kaufmann Harvest Festival drew about 170 attendants in Wilton on Friday night. GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann and his son, Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, hosted the fundraiser, featuring Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, as a special guest. 

“I think he appears to be a serious candidate,” Jeff Kaufmann told The Daily Iowan. “I think he appears to continue to be able to sacrifice like he did as a veteran. I think he wants to continue to sacrifice at the national level. I think he made a good impression. I think people are hungry for that.”

Cotton spent the day traveling Iowa, stopping in Fort Madison and the Quad Cities before Wilton. He was in Johnson County in September to endorse Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ reelection campaign. This was his sixth recent visit to the state. 

When asked about a potential presidential bid in 2024, Cotton told The Daily Iowan he was here to support the Kaufmanns and Iowa’s Congressional Delegation in the 2022 races. 

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Cotton said in his conversations with Iowans, they raised concerns about increased gas prices, disrespect of law enforcement, and the Afghanistan withdrawal. 

Addressing the crowd, Cotton said though Republicans feel like the country is in a troubling and chaotic state, the results of local elections were encouraging to him. 

“Last week was just a small bitter foretaste for the Democrats of the verdict that the American people are going to deliver next November,” he said. 

Cotton said his favorite story from the recent election was the win of Edward Durr, a truck driver who spent $153 on his campaign and unseated the New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney. 

“A party that condescends to truck drivers will soon lose elections to truck drivers,” Cotton said. 

Bobby Kaufmann is up for reelection in 2022. Because of the newly drawn districts, Kaufmann will no longer represent a portion of Johnson County beginning in 2023. He told his Johnson County supporters he wasn’t abandoning them, but that they would become adopted constituents. 

“When it comes to things like protecting Lake McBride, making sure that Newport road is protected, and fighting the Board of Supervisors as they try to come and overrun rural Johnson County farms, I’m still gonna be right there,” he said. 

Kaufmann also critiqued what he called the “professional woke left,” like kneeling for the flag at sporting events and saying happy holidays.

Rep. Ross Paustian, R-Walcott, was drawn into the same district as Kaufmann through the redistricting process and announced on Friday that he would retire, throwing his support behind Kaufmann at the Harvest Festival. 

Kaufmann also received an award from the Iowa Professional Firefighters for his work helping to pass a bill on retirement benefits for firefighters and police officers out of the House in previous legislative sessions. Kaufmann said making the bill law is a priority for the upcoming legislative session.