Tapping into a close community is exactly what Abby Finkenauer did when she first ran for a seat in the Iowa state legislature in 2014. Like Farias, Finkenauer, who is 28, ran for the open seat her former boss, Rep. Pat Murphy formerly held, who vacated the seat to run for Congress. Finkenauer initially balked at the idea. “I thought, ‘Are you crazy? I’m 24 years old, I’m still paying student loans, I’m not married — anything that you could think that said I’m not a typical politician. But I did know the policy.”
After years of serving on a state level, Finkenauer has set her sights on unseating Congressman Rod Blum, a Republican member of the House Freedom Caucus who won Iowa’s 1st District seat in 2014. Blum gained some notoriety for walking out of a local TV news interview.
Despite the polarized political climate, the 1st District, where Finkenauer is running, went heavily for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and was expected to go for Clinton in 2016. The district is filled with what Finkenauer calls “Joe Biden Catholics.” Those demographics, Finkenauer said, make for a swing district where gaining a Democratic seat is possible.
“With the record I’ve had standing up for women, standing up for the environment, standing up for labor, no one has to guess what my position is,” Finkenauer said of openly sharing her progressive views. “When you’re in the minority like I was in the statehouse, the Democrats haven’t had control, you have to do more than push a ‘no’ button. You have to explain what’s going on in your state.”