WATERLOO — The 11th Annual Black Hawk County Republican Lincoln Dinner in Waterloo had several unexpected twists and turns Sunday.

Sen. Chuck Grassley R-Iowa decided to come to the event two hours prior to sparking standing ovations as he entered the room, made a speech and left.

Grassley, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, led the process to appoint Justice Bret Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court the day before.

“The Battle Cry of Republicans for the next 30 days will be ‘Remember Kavanaugh,’” Grassley said to cheers and applause. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been this united and I never thought on Sept. 13 when everything blew up that there might be a blessing from it, but I’m telling you the Republicans woke up.”

He went on to say there will be more U.S. Supreme Court vacancies in the next few years and to prepare for them by voting for Republicans.

If Republicans lose the U.S. House of Representatives then Democrats will attempt to impeach President Donald Trump and Kavanaugh, Grassley said.

He also encouraged people to vote Republican on the state level, especially Gov. Kim Reynolds, who was present.

“Now this may sound a little morbid, I’m in very good health, but I’m 85 years old. So will you tell all the Republicans that I don’t want a (Fred) Hubbell appointing a Democrat if there’s a vacancy in my seat,” Grassley said to laughs and more applause. “I want this governor in office while I’m becoming 86, 87, 88 and 89.”

Other major Iowa Republicans were in attendance and spoke as well, including Reynolds and Rep. Rod Blum.

Blum brought up Kavanaugh as well.

“Before the Kavanaugh hearings started we were behind 10 points,” Blum said. “Today, post Kavanaugh hearing, it’s basically tied.”

The event also included a slew of down ballot and state house Republicans speaking before Grassley showed up.

Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, from the 63rd Iowa House District and Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, from the 60th Iowa House District spoke about their races and the need for support.

“We’re in a dog fight here in Black Hawk County,” Rogers said.

Rogers said claims he wants to destroy IPERS and fire and police department pensions are false.

“That’s about the biggest lie that really gets me,” Rogers said. “The truth is we’re going to protect IPERS, and we’re going to protect pensions.”

He went on to say over the last month he’s heard a “cesspool of lies and false statements.”

Near the end of the evening a President Donald Trump impersonator, Jim Gossett, took the stage and sang several song parodies about First District Democratic candidate Abby Finkenauer and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

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