Des Moines, IA—
Burt Winthrop, the Republican senior senator from Iowa, is holding his 43rd annual “Summer FUNdraiser” this weekend in the Iowan capital city, but turnout is expected to be the lowest in years on account of the senator being dead for 16 years and counting now.
The event staff are planning the typical events of years past, including crowd favorites such as the homemade chili competition, an arts and crafts auction, and a blown up jumping air castle for the kids.
Not everyone is looking forward to the event, however, and many critics have expressed frustration with Winthrop’s continued campaigns, while wondering privately if it isn’t time for Mr. Winthrop to finally retire. The debate whether having a seasoned representative in the Senate outweighs the benefits of having a physically alive senator gets fiercer every year.
“Don’t get me wrong, everyone here in Des Moines loves Burt, but even if he wasn’t dead he’d be 110 years old,” said Marty Reed, a Des Moines resident who has been going to Winthrop’s FUNdraisers since he was a kid. “I just think it’s time for a fresh face to represent Iowa in Congress, someone who can walk themself into the Senate and raise their own hand for votes instead of being rolled around in a wheelchair and held erect by an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys.”
Despite the physical limitations of his age and expired mortality, the local Republican Party has not lost any faith in Senator Winthrop’s ability to win elections.
“Burt is a testament to this country’s 97% incumbency rate for members of Congress,” said Polk County GOP Chair Theresa Perry. “Burt literally hasn’t even given a live campaign speech in a decade a half, and he still keeps winning. His staff just plays the last recorded speech he ever gave through loudspeakers, and I think at this point Iowans just love the tradition of reelecting the oldest member of Congress over and over.”
The recorded speech does have its detractors, though.
“Honestly, it’s a really outdated and awful speech,” admits Michael “Mick” Waterston, president of the local community college’s College Republicans group. “I mean, I love and appreciate what Burt has done for this county and state throughout his long career, but I don’t understand how the Winthrop campaign thinks this tape reflects highly on the old man. The video is, like, half just Mr. Winthrop coughing out his lungs, and toward the end, if the sound guy stops paying attention and forgets to cut the tape at the right moment, you can audibly hear Winthrop repeat ‘It hurts everywhere’ a few times. Also the tape is littered with various slurs against a couple minority ethnic groups—I mean I get that the guy was a product of the time period in which he grew up, but, still, I don’t know if we should be honoring every single aspect of this guy’s life.”
Nevertheless, Senator Winthrop won his 2016 reelection by eleven points, though his margin of victory has been getting smaller and smaller since his death in 2000.
“I think it’s really selfish of Mr. Winthrop to not get out of the way and let younger generations take his place in the Senate,” said two-time Winthrop opponent Carl Dawes, currently one of Des Moine’s state representatives. “And, for the millionth time, I cannot stress enough to Iowan voters that this guy is literally dead.”
The FUNdraiser begins next Friday at 4pm in Gray’s Lake Park.
(Photo courtesy of annabellaphoto.)