Fact Check | Reynolds campaign ad on police support skips DeJear’s explanation


Liam Halawith, Politics Reporter

PolitiFact Iowa is a project of The Daily Iowan’s Ethics & Politics Initiative and PolitiFact to help you find the truth in politics.

If your time is short: 

  • A Kim Reynolds campaign commercial criticizes gubernatorial opponent Deidre DeJear for not standing during Reynolds’ 2022 Condition of the State address when Reynolds called for support of law enforcement. 
  • DeJear said she remained sitting because she was didn’t think Reynolds had done enough to support police, and wanted to show her displeasure with Reynolds.
  • DeJear has said she doesn’t support defunding police and wants to give police more resources to do their jobs. 

Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds released a campaign commercial on Oct. 6 criticizing her Democratic opponent Deidre DeJear for not standing to applaud law enforcement at Reynolds’ Condition of the State address to the Legislature in January. 

The commercial says: “Liberal Deidre DeJear refused to stand for police. Can you imagine what she would do as governor?” 

The ad showed footage from the address when lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike, stood and applauded after Reynolds voiced support for law enforcement. DeJear is shown in a still photo sitting during the ovation. The photo was taken by Iowa Field Report, a politically conservative online publication. 

“While we can’t fix attitudes in other states,” Reynold said in her address, “we can certainly let our officers and officers across the country know that, in Iowa, they’re welcome and will receive the respect and support they deserve.”

A key phrase in Reynolds’ ad is “to stand,” which has multiple definitions. One Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of stand is: “to support oneself on the feet in an erect position.” Another is: “to take up or maintain a specified position or posture.” DeJear’s campaign is implying the first definition; Reynolds’ campaign is implying the latter. 

Reynolds’ campaign communications director, Pat Garrett, provided sourcing to PolitFact Iowa including the photo taken of DeJear sitting. He also pointed out accurately that Democratic legislator Chris Hall, who is critical of Reynolds, was among those standing during the applause. And DeJear admitted in a January Axios interview that she sat during the standing ovation. 

But why? DeJear’s campaign wrote in an email to PolitiFact Iowa that DeJear sat to protest Reynolds for not offering law enforcement officers more in terms of support than just a $1,000 bonus from American Rescue Plan Act.

“Deidre knows that our officers deserve more than a $1,000 bonus and hollow displays of gratitude. Democrats and Republicans alike often talk about supporting our law enforcement and it needs to be met with real actions,” Shekinah Young, DeJear’s communications director, wrote. 

DeJear openly has said she doesn’t support defunding police and would support increasing reimbursement for mental health professionals in Iowa and fully funding public education if elected governor. 

Young pointed to DeJear’s work with police during her time as the financial director at the Financial Capability Network that partnered with the Evelyn K. Davis center, a community program that works to help working families gain financial stability. DeJear worked with police departments and law enforcement agencies around the state on reducing recidivism, which aids her understanding of the issues affecting Iowa law enforcement, Young wrote. 

An example of the solutions DeJear supports to help police includes making mental health care accessible to Iowans so that police with little or no training in dealing with mental health crises have to respond to these crises fewer times, Young wrote.

The movement to “Defund the Police” gained traction after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd during a 2022 arrest. A Hennepin County jury convicted Chauvin of murdering Floyd.

Our Ruling: 

A Kim Reynolds campaign commercial accuses gubernatorial opponent Deidre DeJear of failing to stand for police while showing DeJear sitting during a standing ovation for Reynolds’ January Condition of the State comments on supporting law enforcement.

That DeJear didn’t stand during the speech is indisputable. A photo exists and she admitted it. But saying that instance means DeJear would not support police as the governor takes DeJear’s actions at the Condition of the State address out of context. 

DeJear consistently has said her refusal to stand during the speech was about Reynolds and not police. On her actual policy positions, DeJear has said consistently that she supports programs that can help police.

We rate the statement Half True.

Our Sources: 

Email exchange with Kim Reynolds’ campaign communications director Pat Garrett, Oct. 7, 2022

Email exchange with Deidre DeJear’s campaign manager Victoria Moon, Oct. 6, 2022

Email exchange with Deidre DeJear’s campaign communications director Shekinah Young, Oct. 19, 2022 

Kim Reynolds campaign ad 

Kim Reynolds tweet, Oct. 6, 2022

Iowa Public Radio, “Deidre DeJear, Democrat running for governor, discusses plans for education, mental health, abortion,” by Katarina Sostaric, Oct. 5, 2022

Deidre DeJear tweet, Sept. 22, 2022

Axios, “Deidre DeJear explains decision to sit while officers recognized,” by Lihn Ta, Jan. 18, 2022

Kim Reynolds 2022 Condition of the State address, Jan. 11, 2022

Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, “Peace Officer Retention Bonus” 

History.com, “George Floyd is killed by a police officer, igniting historic protests,” May 24, 2021

NPR, “Derek Chauvin Found Guilty Of George Floyd’s Murder,” by Laurel Wamsley on April 20, 2021

Business Record, “2019 Meredith Emerging Woman of Influence: Deidre DeJear,” by Kate Hayden, July 25, 2019

Evelyn K. Davis Center about page

Mirriam-Webster definition of stand and amphiboly

LanguageHumanities.org, “What is an amphiboly falacy?”, by G. Wiesen, Oct. 21, 2022