All posts by Lauren McIlvaine

Globe Gazette: For J.D. Scholten, it all goes back to healthcare

J.D. Scholten remembers a time near the end of his pitching career in professional baseball when he was standing on the mound and wondering what would come next for him. The concern wasn’t with what the count was or what pitch he should throw. He was focused on the future. 

Now, in the final few days of his bid for the House seat in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District, with the COVID-19 pandemic still a presence in the state, Scholten’s primary focus is on healthcare and how it can be made better.

“I think some of the things we’re seeing brought up more and more at events like this are: protecting Social Security and Medicare,” Scholten said.

“We’ve stopped at rural hospitals and nursing homes and care facilities for people with all different abilities and they just talked about how disastrous the privatization of Medicaid has been. My opponent was the leader in the Senate on getting that passed.”

The way that Scholten sees it: There have been pitches to fix healthcare through the markets for decades and none of them have panned out. Costs haven’t gone down for people. They’ve gone up. And people are struggling to pay.

“The reality in the district is pancake breakfasts and GoFundMes and gas stations with donation boxes. We have to beg to pay for our medical costs and yet we’re the wealthiest country in the world,” he said. “We’re already paying, per person, the most of any country in the world when it comes to taxpayer dollars and we’re not getting a very big bang for our buck.”

Tied in with healthcare for Scholten is the response to the pandemic. 

Scholten has said that he thinks there needs to be a greater emphasis placed on mask usage, perhaps with a mandate, and testing needs to be as available as possible. 

On the economic front of the equation, Scholten said that giving so much money to Wall Street in the first round of stimulus spending, with so little accountability, wasn’t helpful to individual people or small businesses in the Fourth District. He said that where the focus should be is on additional stimulus checks and unemployment benefits.

“We’re seeing people whose backs are against the wall and I think the Republican talking point that we shouldn’t encourage them to stay home, I don’t think they’re understanding the entire severity.”

He also said that the idea that people can get more from unemployment benefits than they can from working speaks to a problem with wages in the district and around the country as a whole.

“A huge part of this district is that wages are so low. And yet healthcare costs are skyrocketing. Housing’s skyrocketing. Student debt is at an all-time high. Farm debt is at an all-time high. We’re just seeing a disconnect with wages and the needs of people right now,” Scholten said.

As a way to deal with stagnant wages in the meatpacking industry in particular, Scholten has said he’d enforce antitrust laws that are already on the books, which could give more power back to workers.

Even more specific to the district, Scholten said he wants to see ethanol prioritized further. He said that if he wins the race on Tuesday, he’d push for more pumps nationwide to offer ethanol, which could help with demand for producers in the district. 

Scholten said he believes that that push sets him apart from Feenstra on the issue. As does some of the funding they’re getting.

Scholten has pointed to Feenstra receiving $50,000 from the 20 For 20 Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee set up by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Scholten has noted that Cruz has worked against the renewable fuel standard being sufficiently supportive of corn-based ethanol, with many waivers given to oil companies.

“I would never take money from an entity who is trying to attack one of our main industries. I think that shows a difference in character between him and myself.”

New EPA waivers could reduce biofuel and ethanol production and, here in North Iowa, the general manager for POET Biorefining in Hanlontown says that farmers will suffer.

For farmers, Scholten again said that enforcing antitrust laws could be helpful for keeping small farms from being completely overrun by large-scale farming enterprises. 

“It’s policy that’s driving people off the land and so what I want to do is enforce our antitrust laws, empower our Iowa farmers and go down that direction,” he said.

In the moments of downtime on his 374-town tour, Scholten said that he’s likely to be chatting on the phone with his girlfriend. 

“Her having a more normal life just kind of calms me.”

He said he relishes the little towns he gets to visit in the district that seem to be making a comeback. Towns such as Grundy Center which he believes lays claim to the best hand-breaded pork tenderloin to be found anywhere in the state.

As for what fills him with hope, at a time when there’s a lot of doubt and uncertainty, Scholten said he thinks about processes such as the annual harvests. He finds them to be a bit of a comfort and somewhat of a metaphor for his own political life.

“You put in a seed and just hope it grows and hope it grows right.”

Storm Lake Times: J.D. Scholten makes final push in 4th District bid

Saturday’s parking lot rally at the Field of Dreams was the last time JD Scholten will visit Storm Lake until the election next Tuesday, a reckoning for the Sioux City Democrat’s uphill effort to swing one of the country’s most conservative congressional districts. 

Scholten says he stopped counting the number of times he’s visited Storm Lake and towns its size after at least his sixth visit.

JD Scholten speaks to parked cars from the back of a pickup truck with Sioux City Sue in the background.

He’s mainly concerned whether or not people show up.  And they did, even on Saturday.  

Despite a ranked matchup between Iowa State and vaunted Oklahoma State and a forecast that called for blowing snow that night, around 30 people braved the elements to hear him regale a story about the last, dying dairy farmers in Palo Alto County and deported dreamers in Iowa Falls. 

“It’s really wonderful that we have him,” said Storm Lake resident Tim Humes, one of the most frequent attendants at Scholten’s appearances here. “He gives us hope, you know, he’s the spearhead of things. He shows that Democrats really care do care about us here in the sticks.”

From community centers to town halls — and since the pandemic, from parking lot to parking lot — he keeps showing up. He’s the only candidate for federal office who’s made a public appearance in Storm Lake since the onset of the coronavirus in March. (Senate candidate Theresa Greenfiled visited a farm near Rembrandt.)

Hence parking lot rallies at the Field of Dreams on Saturday and Frank Starr Park in the summer.   

His stump speeches remain the same. 

Scholten says the district needs immigrants to repopulate towns and counties that reached their top population estimate by 1940. 

He says his first priority in Congress is passing comprehensive, universal health care, in other words, a public option that gives way to Medicare for All. 

And more than anything, he focuses on anti-trust legislation. He believes his pushing of the issue prompted former Vice President Joe Biden and all of the Democratic presidential candidates to include it in their platforms.   

To put a fine point on it, on Saturday he was wearing his late grandfather’s blue winter coat, which bears “Made in the USA” on its buttons and the name of a company that’s been out of business for decades. 

“All I know about it is that he got it at Fleet Farm a long time ago,” he said after the rally, shivering as the evening wind picked up. “It symbolizes a society and an economy we’ve lost through corporate mergers … And, yes, it’s warm.”

From his appearance, his friendly disposition to his moderate messaging that resonates with rural and urban residents alike, Scholten’s campaign is fine-tuned to the point he can be competitive in Iowa’s most conservative district, said BVU Political Science Professor Brad Best, a longtime observer of the Fourth District. Of the 494,000 voters in the district, 206,700 are Republican. Only 130,000 are Democrat. 

He’s utilizing a pathway to victory that includes “campaigning tirelessly,” which is “labor intensive and financially expensive.”

“You can’t fake showing up,” Scholten likes to say.

But is it enough to defeat State Sen. Randy Feenstra, a favorite of the conservative strongholds in Lyon, O’Brien, Sioux and Plymouth counties? 

The path to a win for Scholten combines a repeat of the 2018 spike in Democratic voter turnout plus an “expansion of his coalition by winning the vast majority of first-time voters, many of whom are young,” Best said in an email to The Times. “So, Scholten is very much in the fight, but he’s running in a political space that is remarkably tough for a Democrat.  It’s not enough to win Storm Lake, which he’ll do by a clear margin. There’s social conservatism baked into the ideological landscape, and a Republican advantage, in terms of registered voters, down most of those country roads.”

Scholten believes his campaign is outpacing where he was in 2018, when he lost to incumbent Rep. Steve King by three percentage points. Early voting is head of schedule; around 70,000 Democrats and Republicans, plus 25,000 Independents have cast ballots thus far. He believes he’s underestimated in the polls, which have found him behind by an average of around five points. 

“We’re on the final push,” he said. “Those polls were done before we’ve done our last push.” 

Should he win, it will be the biggest upset since Berkley Bedell beat incumbent Rep. Wiley Mayne, R-Sioux City, nearly 50 years ago. 

Fort Dodge Messenger: Scholten makes one more bid in Fort Dodge

In a final week of campaigning for election day, 4th District Congressional candidate JD Scholten “stood tall for all” under an overcast sky Monday evening for one of his final tours of 2020.

While standing tall is not hard to do in the bed of a truck at six-foot-two, the unseasonably freezing weather made it undoubtedly less appealing in the Fort Museum and Frontier Village parking lot, where about 25 cars listened to the Democratic challenger over the radio.

With polling and political forecasts in other districts predicting another “blue wave” in Congress this year, Scholten remains optimistic even after many have written off his campaign in a district where registered Republicans substantially outnumber Democrats.

The candidate said internal polling shows a closer race than the most recent one from Monmouth University, which shows state Sen. Randy Feenstra leading 48% to 43%.

But in the home stretch, the former baseball player told The Messenger that he does share one trait with U.S. Rep. Steve King, the soon to be ex-congressman since Feenstra ousted him in the Republican primary. Scholten believes the race for a district that has eluded Democrats for decades may be less about party affiliation than it is about establishment attitudes rooted in northwestern Iowa.

With beef jerky in hand, JD Scholten prepares for an hour-long appearance at the Fort Museum Monday evening — one of his final campaign tour stops before Election Day.

“If you take all the controversy and racism aside, (King) was anti-establishment,” Scholten said. “We’re anti-establishment, so we’ve picked up a lot of votes. … The history of this district is more anti-establishment than anything else.”

In his 374-town tour — a service mark formerly touted by King before his final victory against Scholten — Scholten said their campaign has met over 700 former King supporters who have voted for him or are about to vote for him this year.

But despite his campaign’s high note of building a grassroots campaign from scratch in a district with dilapidated Democratic outreach infrastructure, Scholten regretted that the campaign still hasn’t managed to shake the stigma that lingered over it two years ago.

“There’s a perception that this race is not winnable,” he said. “The last cycle and this cycle are parallels.”

At this point in the last campaign, his internal polls showed him within 1% of King, spurring a burst of fundraising that helped him finish three points away from King — closer than any Democratic candidate ever got to defeating the incumbent.

Democratic candidate for State Senate Cynthia Paschen hands supporter Odin Small a yard sign at a drive-in event for Congressional candidate JD Scholten Monday night.

The latest internal poll with the Feenstra campaign, cited by the Sioux City Journal on Oct. 15, showed a 23-point lead over Scholten. Scholten’s own internal poll showed him trailing Feenstra by five points.

This time, he said their campaign is much better off, despite the choice to decline Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) funds. As attack ads on the airwaves attempt to disparage other statewide Democratic candidates through ties to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Scholten believes that the move reinforced his campaign’s anti-establishment image in a way that could be a key part to winning voters with a registration disadvantage.

On the last two campaign trails, he’s gone out of his way to distance himself from the party leader being weaponized against Democrats who accept party campaign funding. Scholten told The Messenger that a big part of his run has required that he articulate himself as a candidate — a populist reflection he said does not mirror how the Democratic Party is characterized, particularly as it’s characterized by conservative pundits.

“(The DCCC is) looking for somebody who’s just going to be a puppet for the establishment,” Scholten said from Sioux City Sue, the humble RV that Scholten has called home for the last two campaign cycles. “The fact that I turned down the DCCC, the fact that I want change in leadership, just shows that I’m willing to take on my party if need be.”

Besides, he said, fundraising a campaign dictated from Sioux City wouldn’t have made it possible for him to reach voters in the approach he’s taken. Standing on an F-150 truck bed was his manifestation of retail politics that seemed to warm the small crowd on a cold night, where horn honks were the new applause.

In one of his final Fort Dodge campaign moments for the 2020 race, JD Scholten energized a base of voters and encouraged them to get out the vote. He also had a prayer request: that Sioux City Sue, the Democratic candidate’s faithful tour vehicle and home during the campaign, makes it to Nov. 3.

And the applause was plentiful for a small speech that packed a punch by excoriating the status quo maintained by Washington policies he said don’t work in rural Iowa’s favor. Among Scholten’s most popular applause lines were calls to scrap the income cap on Social Security contributions, match the fervor of other global competitors seeking to beat America’s economy and make life in rural America feasible.

As the U.S. Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, cementing a 6-3 conservative majority expected to hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act after Election Day, Scholten said Congress must work to ensure health care protections for those with preexisting conditions — the number of whom is expected to skyrocket in light of the pandemic.

“We are the wealthiest nation in the world and have far too many people that rely on begging to pay for their medical costs,” he said to the lot after making note of the same gas station collection jars he has talked about since his 2018 bid.

“We’ve got to focus on each other. We gotta focus on people. That’s why I’m sick of these career politicians going to D.C. and leaving the rest of us behind,” Scholten said to the loudest honks of the evening. “When I get elected, I’m not selling out. … At the end of the day, I will come back and look you in the eye on every single issue.”

While D.C. policies continue to favor Wall Street rather than Main Street metrics, Scholten said that “we need working class candidates out there who understand the needs of the district, who show up for the needs of the district and the people.”

Odin Small watches and listens out of his car’s sunroof Monday evening as 4th District congressional candidate JD Scholten addresses a crowd at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village parking lot.

Ames Tribune: Scholten sets a new standard

How hard somebody works to get a job indicates how hard that person will work in that job. Sen. Chuck Grassley famously visits all 99 Iowa counties each year. It’s called a “Full Grassley,” and people admire his effort, whether or not they agree with his philosophy.

Iowa’s 4th Congressional District now has a new standard for hard work. It’s called a “Full Scholten.” Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten has visited not just the district’s 39 counties but all 374 cities to boot!

Nothing new for J.D. We saw the same effort in 2018, when J.D. and his classic RV, the Sioux City Sue, crisscrossed the district, winning over almost enough votes to oust a long-time incumbent in a district that leaned for the incumbent’s party.

This year J.D. is working harder than ever. Driving every minute of the 7,786-mile Full Scholten trek, J.D. proved how much he will listen to — and cares about — the concerns of voters in small towns and large and on farms like the one where he spent time as a kid with his Grandma Fern.

Contrast his opponent, who has never really had to work to get elected to the Iowa Senate. Indeed Sen. Feenstra has never faced a Senate opponent from either party. He has always waltzed into office without really being tested, taking the votes of his district for granted. Until now.

This election Feenstra has repeatedly ducked debates and forums with J.D. Scholten. Only last week did he finally deign to appear in a single televised meeting.

Officeholders have to be accountable, and to be accountable, they have to be accessible. J.D. Scholten has done both 374 times this campaign in all 374 towns in the 4th District.

That’s the kind of guy I want working for me in Washington. How about you?

— Iowa State Sen. Herman C. Quirmbach

Sioux City Journal: Teacher supports Scholten

As a busy teacher, why have I spent my evenings calling people asking for J.D.’s support and driving around town delivering Scholten signs? I do this because J.D. Scholten has worked tirelessly to earn your vote.

What I admire most about J.D. Scholten is he puts his district’s needs before his political party. He is willing to reject his own party if it means what is doing best for his district.

As a teacher, I have seen my school’s budget decrease significantly over the past several years. Teachers should not have to pay for school supplies out of their own salary-and yes, I have witnessed this too many times. J.D. speaks of continuing to fund public education and he would provide earlier student loan forgiveness and full debt cancellation after 10 years of service.

I have seen first hand the anguish mental illness brings to families. Iowa ranks among the worst states in the nation for mental health treatment-47th in psychiatrists and 51st in the ratio of state psychiatric beds to residents. J.D. proposes expanding federal funding for community health centers in underserved rural communities and expanding access to public addiction recovery services. 

Julie Hoss, Sioux City

KETV: ‘You’ve gotta take care of the farm,’ Motto drives Democrat J.D. Scholten’s bid for Iowa’s 4th congressional district

Democrat J.D. Scholten believes he’s the right choice for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.

He’s got three goals he says he’ll take to Washington, if elected.

“You’ve got to take care of the farm,” J.D. Scholten said.

Those seven words from his grandma that bring Democrat J.D. Scholten to a small town in Iowa.

“We’re in a farm community right here and we’re seeing not only so many rural communities and farmers with their backs against the wall. That’s why we’re running,” Scholten said.

As supporters listened in their cars over radio frequency Scholten walked them through why he should represent Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.

“Enforcing our anti-trust laws in agriculture. We have so many farmers who can do everything right and not make cost of production. So, we have these get big or get off the farm policies. I want to make sure if it’s 100 acres or 1,000 acres they can succeed,” Scholten said.

There’s three words that sum up his campaign: Fix. Fight. Secure.

“Fix health care, fight for an economy that works for everyone, and secure our democracy, because special interests are dictating it, but we don’t get any of that if we don’t get campaign reform,” Scholten said.

Scholten said he hasn’t taken any PAC money.

He hopes to take a stair step approach toward universal health care, starting with more public options.

And he wants money to stay on the farm to build rural America back up. He believes if farmers and farm communities can thrive, it’ll keep money local.

“There’s so much consolidation, right now it doesn’t matter if you raise corn or soybeans, hogs or cattle, there’s only a handful of entities or multi-national corporations that are squeezing farmers,” he said.

He’s running for Republican Steve King’s seat.

King lost the primary to Randy Feenstra.

Scholten said he’s the right choice because he knows what it’s like to be working class in America. He wants to bring those values to Washington.

“We all talk about the American dream. We need to make sure that dream is achievable,” he said.

Des Moines Register: Register editorial board endorses J.D. Scholten for U.S. House

Editorial: Scholten has an impressive understanding of farming, agricultural markets and the role of antitrust laws in the industry, all vital issues for the district.

Registered Republicans in Iowa’s 4th District completed the neutering of Rep. Steve King when they refused to support him in the June primary election. 

Good job on that. 

Now the conservative-leaning district’s voters should give Democrat J.D. Scholten an opportunity to represent them in Congress. 

The fifth-generation Iowan from Sioux City has an impressive understanding of farming, agricultural markets and the role of antitrust laws in the industry, all vital issues for the district. He’s also passionate about retaining young Iowans, a national strategy for containing the novel coronavirus and ensuring everyone has access to health insurance. 

Iowans should not have to set up donation boxes and hold pancake suppers to help people pay for health care bills, he said during a recent meeting with the Register’s editorial board. 

Scholten appears able to work across the aisle and bridge divides. He listens and he shows up. 

Meanwhile, his opponent, Randy Feenstra, has accepted only one debate and participates in few interviews with media outlets. Perhaps he believes voters in a largely conservative district will simply usher him into a congressional seat. 

Whatever the reason, Iowans should reject this lack of accountability and accessibility. They can instead support someone who is clamoring to represent them in Congress and would make them proud. That someone is Scholten. 

Ames Tribune: At Nevada Democrats’ ‘Coffee with the Candidates’ event, 4th District candidate J.D. Scholten talks health care, Supreme Court

Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten parked his RV behind the Farm Grounds Coffee Shop on Main Street in Nevada for an intimate question-and-answer event with potential voters.

The two-time U.S. House candidate continued his tour around Iowa’s 4th District on Saturday, even as many in Story County have already opted to vote early. Seven attendees asked Scholten questions on health care, the Supreme Court and his electability in a traditionally conservative district.

Luke Spence, who sits on the Nevada City Council, put together events like this during the most recent Iowa Caucus cycle, drawing the participation of 10 different presidential candidates. This year, he brought Coffee with the Candidates back to generate buzz around November’s down-ballot contests, including candidates for the Story County Board of Supervisors and those vying for the statehouse.

Democratic Iowa-4th congressional district candidate JD Scholten distributes his baseball card during the " Coffee with the Candidate" event at Farm Ground Coffee Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Nevada, Iowa.

“Why not keep it going with the local elections, which draw smaller crowds,” Spence posed. “Candidates have more intimate conversations with the voters and the voters get to kick the tires on candidates.”

Scholten came within 4 percentage points of beating U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in 2018. President Donald Trump won this district by 27 points.

King lost the June primary to state Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, after nine terms in office.

Feenstra, a Dordt University professor who’s serving his third term at the statehouse, has much the same platform as King, without the controversy. Feenstra bills himself as a pro-life, pro-gun Republican who plans to fight to keep Trump’s tax cuts and end illegal immigration.

He is also a supporter of ethanol fuel and eliminating the grain bin tax. He has been endorsed by the president, the Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Corn Growers Association.

Most of the voters at Saturday’s event worried most about the country’s health-care system and Americans’ social safety net.

“We’re retired, so Medicare and Social Security are actually being threatened by the Republicans,” Nevada resident Lan Wallin told Scholten. “That’s a chief concern for me.”

Scholten said his goal is universal health care, but a robust public option in the next step.

“We pay more than any country in the world and we aren’t getting a very good bang for our buck,” Scholten said.

Democratic Iowa-4th congressional district candidate JD Scholten speaks during the " Coffee with the Candidate" event at Farm Ground Coffee Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Nevada, Iowa.

Don Seaton, a Story County resident, asked Scholten what support for him looks like on the district’s conservative north side. Scholten said moves like his refusal to accept DCCC funding give him a non-establishment edge that resonates with former King supporters.

Scholten’s views on health care, however, do not align with most conservatives.

“I don’t necessarily plan on winning up there, but I plan on completing,” he told those gathered.

Another participant asked Scholten about the potential new make-up of the Supreme Court, as the U.S. Senate plans to vote to confirm Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, next week. The attendee asked if Scholten would support changing the composition of the court.

“I think one of the things we need for the nation is to depoliticize the Supreme Court,” Scholten said. “We should not have these knock-out fights every time there’s an opening.”

His favorite idea to come out of the caucus cycles, Scholten said, belonged to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who proposed having three Republican-appointed judges and three Democrat-appointed judges who must unanimously agree on the appointments to fill out the remainder of the court’s bench.

Scholten, who ventured on a 39-county tour in 2018, is following a similar style two years later, visiting each of the 4th District’s 374 towns before Oct. 5. This time around, Scholten drove all 7,786 miles.

“One thing is we try to do it in a very respectful way,” Scholten said, acknowledging concerns around the pandemic. “In a way that keeps people safe but also my staff safe.”

Scholten’s team plans to make a stop in Ames on Wednesday, where attendees will be asked to remain in their cars while listening to Scholten address the crowd over the phone or online.

The next Coffee with the Candidates event will host incumbent Rep. Dave Deyoe 9 a.m. Oct. 31 at the Farm Grounds Coffee Shop.

Sioux City Journal: Scholten parking lot rally in Sioux City draws more than 70 vehicles

SIOUX CITY — Appearing in a new style of campaigning designed to keep people safe during a time of novel coronavirus spread, J.D. Scholten on Thursday said he should be voted into the U.S. House because he will pursue campaign finance reform and make sure working class families have access to good health care. 

With less than three weeks to the Nov. 3 election, Scholten hosted the event in his hometown at Riverside Park as a parking lot rally, a format he has used in other towns recently throughout the 4th congressional district.

People parked at the lot and were required to stay in their vehicles during the program. They heard Scholten’s speech broadcast over a FM radio frequency, and could pose questions by text messaging to a campaign phone number.

He fielded 11 of those, with the topics touching on infrastructure, gun rights, health care and what farmers can do to help combat climate change.

“We are about showing up, we are about answering every question,” Scholten said, and some of his responses drew support, in the form of people honking horns.

More than 70 vehicles parked to listen in. Pam Bombey, of Sioux City, said she liked the format, and contrasted it to the large rallies President Donald Trump is using in vying for re-election against Joe Biden.

“It is so much smarter than what Trump is doing,” Bombey said.

She also said she had used the early voting option to cast a ballot: “I would vote for a dead skunk before I would vote for a Republican this year.”

J.D. Scholten, Democratic nominee for Iowa’s 4th congressional district, speaks from the back of a pickup truck during a parking lot rally at Riverside Park, Thursday, in Sioux City, Iowa, Oct. 15, 2020.Jesse Brothers, Sioux City Journal

The congressional contest includes Scholten and Randy Feenstra, a Republican state senator from Hull.

Scholten spoke on the same day that the Journal published a story that cited an internal poll from Feenstra that showed he had a 23 percentage point lead. According to that poll by American Viewpoint, conducted for Feenstra’s team, Feenstra leads Scholten, 54 to 31 percent, with 11 percent undecided.

Scholten told rally attendees that poll was a so-called push poll, an exercise in which the true objective is to sway voters using loaded questions, as an attempt by Feenstra to manipulate and “scare voters.”

“This poll is nothing more than a sad attempt to create a caricature of me rather than reflecting my real positions. Folks in Iowa’s 4th District know me and what I stand for. That’s because I’ve driven 7,786 miles to visit all 374 towns in the district, said yes to every debate, held public events, and said no question is off limits,” he said in a statement to the Journal.

An Iowa Poll by The Des Moines Register on Sep. 18, which put Feenstra’s lead at 5 percentage points. Scholten said his own internal polling showed he was faring even better than that.

Additionally, back in early August, an independent poll released by Monmouth University Polling Institute showed Feenstra had a commanding 54 percent to 34 percent lead over Scholten among registered voters, with 8 percent undecided.

J.D. Scholten, Democratic nominee for Iowa’s 4th congressional district, speaks from the back of a pickup truck during a parking lot rally at Riverside Park, Thursday, in Sioux City, Iowa, Oct. 15, 2020.Jesse Brothers, Sioux City Journal

Five hours after Scholten’s rally, quarterly campaign finance reports were due by midnight to the Federal Election Commission. Those will show fundraising done through Sept. 30, and up to now, Scholten has outperformed Feenstra over the campaign cycle, bringing in $1.65 million, while Feenstra has had $1.25 million in contributions.

Feenstra’s team routinely says Scholten is a liberal who is out of touch with 4th District Iowans.

Scholten halted the rally after 35 minutes, so people could then watch the U.S. Senate debate, projected on screen, with incumbent Republican Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield.

Sioux City Journal: Scholten understands Iowa’s 4th District

When J.D. Scholten says, “It’s getting harder and harder to live in rural America” he knows exactly what he’s talking about. The Fourth District is the biggest district and most rural meaning how good or bad our farm economy is doing has a huge impact. J.D., unlike his opponent, does not ignore this issue and talks about farm bankruptcies on the rise and income on a decline.

As of last fall, our district has lost 558 million. Our farmers are not able to recover due to the trade tariffs and we are losing our markets. We were told by Republican leadership that tariffs would be temporary, but while we have been waiting the supply chain has changed and we are losing the battle. In the last year, 30% of farm income is from the Fed. This leaves everyone disheartened when they have to deal with problems previous generations have not had to endure.

Another issue J.D. is understanding better than anyone running anywhere is how healthcare is impacting rural areas, especially in his district. He is recognizing costs are exceeding what people can afford and having to turn to donations and fundraisers. Both are nice, but it is not a long-term solution to what has become an insurmountable problem under current leadership. J.D. has answers and is not afraid to tackle the issues affecting us the most. Your vote for J.D. is a vote to secure a better future for our district.

Jackie Stellish, Sioux City