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CEDAR RAPIDS — A Des Moines Democrat launched a campaign Monday to try to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.

Des Moines businessman Eddie Mauro joins lawyer Kimberly Graham, also of Des Moines, in seeking the Democratic nomination in 2020.

“Washington remains broken and it’s time for a change, and I am the best candidate to take on and defeat Joni Ernst,” said Mauro, who in 2018 ran unsuccessfully for U.S. House in Iowa’s 3rd District.

Also Monday, Stacey Walker, a member of the Linn County Board of Supervisors, confirmed he’s giving serious consideration to joining the race.

Walker, 31, who was elected in a special election in 2016 and re-elected last year, acknowledged that Ernst will be a formidable candidate as an incumbent who has raised about $3 million in campaign funds.

Although Democrats have had difficulties winning competitive statewide races in recent years, Walker takes encouragement from Democrat Rob Sand’s win in the race for state auditor as well as Democrats picking up two U.S. House seats in 2018.

“You are also starting to see a new crop of leaders in the Democratic Party who are bringing a lot of people into the conversation and their message is resonating,” he said.

In launching his campaign, Mauro, 56, said Iowans need a senator who “will fight for Iowa’s middle-class families, our family farms, the small businesses on Main Street, protect and improve access to affordable health care for all Iowans and invest in our renewable energy economy to create jobs and combat the climate chaos and challenge before us.”

Protecting the Affordable Care Act and coverage of pre-existing conditions were critical to flipping seats in Iowa’s 1st and 3rd congressional district and will be central in his Senate race, Mauro said.

Graham, 54, received her law degree from Drake University and lived in Indianola for 25 years before moving to Des Moines a year ago.

Graham, who aims to visit all 99 counties by September, formally kicked off her campaign recently in Indianola.

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Statehouse reporter for The Courier

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