Watching Republican reaction to how the Democratic primary in Iowa’s gubernatorial race has been instructive. I’m confident that Fred Hubbell will be the Democratic nominee after Tuesday’s primary carrying more than 35 percent to avoid a special nominating convention. The Democrat establishment is coalescing around him, polling suggests it, his closest competitor – Nate Boulton – is no longer in the race, and he’s peppered the airwaves. I would be shocked if that were not the case.

What will be the Republican strategy and messaging for handling Hubbell?

I’ve seen two primary messages thus far.

Paint Hubbell as an elitist.

Fred Hubbell is rich. He is not self-made but inherited his wealth. He can self-fund and has, in fact, wrote checks totaling $2.1 Million in the last reporting period.

Does Hubbell remind you of somebody?

Isn’t our current president, whom Republicans nominated, a beneficiary of inherited wealth? Contrary to popular belief among those on the Trump Train, President Trump inherited a fortune. He built up that fortune, but he can’t say he started from nothing.

President Trump also self-funded his campaign and that was touted as a positive among Republicans.

Here’s a sampling of Republican messaging directed at “Prince Frederick.” Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann has been particularly obnoxious about it.

Along these lines, they also highlighted what one of Hubbell’s primary opponents, John Norris, said about Hubbell which was smart.

The “Fred Hubbell is an elitist” messaging would probably be useful if Donald Trump were not President, but he is, and it rings hollow.

The second line of messaging will be more effective than the first.

Hubbell hates tax cuts.

Hubbell has waffled on the tax reform bill that was passed in the Iowa Legislature and signed into law by Governor Reynolds last week.

The Iowa GOP pointed out that Hubbell told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board he would not have signed the tax reform bill, but during the first debate did not say whether or not he would support repealing the measure.

They mention this again leading up to the last debate:

The tax reform package is undoubtedly something that Republicans can run on as a promise kept (even if many of us feel they could have gone further).

The talking point about Hubbell that is missing.

One talking point that should be hammered day in and day out if Hubbell wins the nomination is this.

Fred Hubbell is so extreme on abortion that he was the chairman of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

Why has this not been a part of Republican messaging?

He’s not just “pro-choice,” but he was the freaking chairman of Iowa’s largest baby killing organization.

Hubbell is not hiding from this fact; he tweeted last week:

Democrats are going to talk about this issue; they are going to paint Governor Kim Reynolds as extreme on abortion because she signed the fetal heartbeat bill.  Republicans shouldn’t cede any ground by remaining silent.

He chaired an organization that expanded abortion access through webcam abortions. He headed an organization that opposes any restriction to abortion including a waiting period and late-term abortions.

I don’t pretend that a majority of Iowans believe abortion should be outlawed outright, but it’s unlikely that a majority believes in taxpayer-funded, elective abortion on demand at all stages of the pregnancy with no oversight or accountability like Planned Parenthood does.

That is how extreme Fred Hubbell is, and Republicans should tell Iowans that.

1 comment
  1. Don’t hold your breath. Probably the Republican “elitists” secretly hate it that Reynolds really wants to stop abortion, not just play politics with it. They’d rather have a baby-hating, tax lover.

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