Democrats rally for support in midterms at homecoming parade

Iowa Democratic candidates Deidre DeJear, Christina Bohannan, and Mike Franken held joint events before and after the University of Iowa’s Homecoming Parade.


Lillie Hawker

Democratic candidate for Iowa governor Deidre DeJear waves to parade goers during the University of Iowa Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally in Iowa City on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022.

Emily Delgado and Liam Halawith

Ahead of the midterm elections that could disrupt the power in the state and national government – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear, 1st District candidate Christana Bohannan, and Senate candidate Mike Franken rallied supporters at the University of Iowa Homecoming Parade on Friday. The candidates spoke on reproductive rights, voting rights, gun safety reform, and getting out the vote at the University of Iowa annual Homecoming Parade.

Community commiserates for homecoming, Dems say fight is for them 

The Johnson County Democrats gathered on the corner of Iowa Avenue and Jefferson Street on the chilly afternoon dawning shirts supporting a range of candidates on the ballot on Nov. 8. Adorned in t-shirts and holding signs, Johnson County Democrats rallied before the University of Iowa homecoming parade. 

Bohanna kicked off the slate of speakers on Friday evening rallying the crowd over key issues for Democrats. 

“We know what’s at stake in this election, right? The right to vote, reproductive freedom, our privacy, and our democracy are on the line this election,” Bohannan said. 

Bohannan thanked the Johnson County Democrats for their help canvassing votes in the county in recent weeks, in hopes to increase voter turnout.

“That human to human interaction is the thing – It might be the only thing that can help us dispel the toxicity and the lies that we are seeing in some of these ads,” Bohannan said, referring to ads her opponent is running about her. “So thank you, it makes such a difference.”

Bohannan was one of the many candidates that addressed the crowd of Democrats on Friday. Democratic candidates for the Iowa Statehouse also addressed the crowd, advocating for the crowd to turn out the vote. 

Franken joined in the rally to call for voting. 

“Let’s go Hawks! Let’s go, Democrats! Let’s change the tide,” Frankes said. “Let’s provide that change this state needs.”

Deidre DeJear called for the Democrats and parade participants to remember that homecoming is the convergence of the community and that no matter party affiliation they are fighting for them. 

“You know, we have to keep in mind despite people’s party identity, despite the organizations that they’re here to represent. Our fight is for them, whether they like to think it or not. Iowa Democrats, including Johnson County Democrats, are in this fight for freedom,” DeJear said. “And we cannot give up because there’s folks out here that will see and we’ll wave at today who have given up on democracy – folks who don’t believe their vote matters, folks who don’t believe their vote counts, but the reason that they will come to terms with how valuable their voices is because of us.” 

DeJear ended her remarks with a rallying cry for Democrats to keep the momentum with the midterm election a little more than a week away. 

“So let not this momentum that we have in the spirit of encouragement that we have in these moments that don’t fall by the wayside,” DeJear said. “Because when we’re done with this parade, we got an after party.”

DeJear: I don’t want to wake up and say ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda.’

Following the ending of the UI Homecoming Parade the Democrats filed into the Iowa City Masonic Building to gather to hear the three Democratic candidates speak. 

Local elected politicians like Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague and Johnson County Board of Supervisors Chair Royceann Porter emceed the event.

As all three candidates spoke, they each spoke with an emphasis on the importance of the Nov. 8 election. 

“We’ve been working hard, you’ve been working hard, all the candidates have been working really hard, and there’s more to do. But in the end, this is going to be the most revolutionary race in the state that deserves it the most in the nation,” Franken said. 

Bohannan opened her remarks by saying the Iowa City and Johnson County Democrats are her home. Bohannan is currently a legislator in the Iowa House representing Iowa City. 

“Iowans deserve good representation. They’ve worked really hard and they need good representation and they deserve to have their vote counted, they deserve to get a good education that is fully funded,” Bohannan said. 

Bohannan said her opponent Miller-Meeks and Iowa Republicans are not focused on working people. 

The crowd  of over fifty people consisted of candidates, like Iowa House District 90 candidate Adam Zabner and Johnson County Supervisor candidate Jon Green, and supporters all dressed in campaign gear or Hawkeye gear. 

“If Republicans want to talk about Johnson County, let’s give them something to talk about,” Bohannan said as she handed the microphone to Teague. 

Closing the event, DeJear addressed the crowd and spoke mainly on the need for high voter turnout. 

“On Nov 9th. I don’t want to wake up and say ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda,’ and I don’t want you all to say ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda,’ either, but these are the moments we take control,” DeJear said. 

Election Day is Nov. 8 and Iowa’s early voting period has already begun. 

When DeJear asked if anybody in the room had voted, the vast majority raised their hand. 

“While we are excited in these moments,  are we willing to use this energy to encourage other people to participate? because I’’l be honest folks there’s a lot of people out there who are waiting to hear our voice,” DeJear said. 

Both DeJear and Bohannan spoke on the importance of meeting people in person and spending time to get to know them. 

As the candidates wrapped up their remarks, Porter reminded the crowd to take some time to meet everyone and talk to the candidates. 

“We got to have more gas on the tank and like the Admiral [Franken] said, we are fighting for our future,” DeJear said. 

Two of the three candidates have visited the UI to meet with students this semester,Bohannan, who is running against Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks to represent Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, held an early voting event at the Iowa Memorial Union on Oct 19. 

RELATED: 1st District candidates address constituents on first day of early voting. 

DeJear attended a town hall hosted by University Democrats at Iowa in early October, where she talked with students and Iowa City community members. 

RELATED: Gov. candidate Deidre DeJear speaks on the importance of addressing the needs of all Iowans

Franken visited the University of Iowa in March to rally University of Iowa Democrats to cast their vote for him in the primary elections in June.  

RELATED: U.S. Senate candidate Admiral Mike Franken promises to be a strong voice for Iowa

The candidates are running in key races in the state. Franken and Bohannan hold closely to their incumbent opponents. 

A recent Iowa Poll, by Selzer & Co. in partnership with the Des Moines Register, has Franken behind his opponent – long term Senator from Northeast Iowa, Chuck Grassley – by only 3 points with 43 percent of the vote from the respondents. This is the closest Grassley has come to being defeated since he ran in 1980. 

Bohannan has a slight hold on the 1st Congressional district with the freshman Republican incumbent Mariannette Miller-Meeks holding the lead in the most recent Iowa Poll. Miller-Meeks holds 50 percent of the vote in the district according to the Iowa poll, with Bohannon falling behind at 41 percent of the vote. However, the poll has a margin of error of 8.4 percent leaving the race closer than most think. Miller-Meeks won the seat with a narrow margin over her Democratic opponent in 2020 – Rita Hart – she won the seat after the long-term Democratic incumbent for the district retired. The district also has registered Democrats outpacing Republican voters, according to October voter registration numbers from the Iowa Secretary of State

Deidre DeJear, who is running against the popular Republican incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds, is at a disadvantage in the polls. The most recent Iowa poll, put DeJear 17 percentage points behind Reynolds.