DES MOINES, Iowa – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed U.S Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District race and U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District race.
Axne and Finkenauer are among 23 House Democrat Freshman that the 100-year-old business organization endorsed in 2020. They also endorsed 29 Republican freshmen, according to The Hill.
The Chamber endorsed U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, in her re-election bid in July.
In Iowa 3rd Congressional District’s race, where Axne is challenged by former U.S. Rep. David Young, whom she defeated in 2018, the Chamber endorsed the candidate who did not fare as well on their legislative scorecard.
In their 2019 scorecard, Axne scored 72 percent (Finkenauer scored 70 percent).
“In challenging times, we are reminded of the importance of having leaders who understand the genius of the American system of government and free enterprise and who are willing to tackle the hard problems that confront our nation. Your continued leadership in Congress will benefit the nation as we combat the coronavirus, work to restore economic growth, and expand opportunities for all Americans,” said Thomas Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in his letter to Cindy Axne announcing her endorsement.
Incumbency appears to be the motivation behind this endorsement. Young held a lifetime score of 90 percent from the Chamber, including 83 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2017, and 100 percent in 2016.
“Iowa’s small businesses are the backbone of our communities. They help grow our economies, create jobs, and are responsible for innovation and prosperity across our state – and I’m proud of my work fighting to support them, Iowa’s workers, and our local chambers of commerce in Washington,” said Axne. “On behalf of all those I have partnered with in Iowa and in Washington to promote those goals of growth and prosperity, I am proud to receive the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today.”
Axne’s score low legislative score – 67 percent – was bolstered by an 89 percent legislative leadership score (which accounted for 10 percent of the total score) and 95 percent bipartisanship score (also accounts for 10 percent of its score). These measures were introduced in 2019, and Axne received the highest bipartisanship score among Iowa’s congressional delegation members.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also has shifted to the left, taking on social causes. They supported the passage of the Equality Act, which strips religious liberty protection from federal law. They also supported Common Core State Standards and the shift in K-12 education away from classical education to a workforce development model.