Iowa needs an attorney general who will challenge President Joe Biden's administration in court and who is more visible to local law enforcement officials, Republican Brenna Bird told a crowd of state fairgoers Saturday morning.
"When it comes to holding the Biden administration accountable, it looks like our attorney general is Biden's attorney general," the Iowa attorney general candidate said during a speech at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox. "When I'm attorney general, I'm going to be Iowa's attorney general."
Bird, who was elected Guthrie County Attorney in 2018, is running to unseat incumbent Tom Miller, a Democrat who is the longest-serving attorney general in U.S. history. Bird ran against Miller in 2010 and lost by 11 percentage points.
On Saturday in front of the State Fair crowd, Bird criticized Miller for his endorsement of Biden ahead of the Iowa caucuses and accused him of "sitting on the sidelines" when he should be challenging some of Biden's policies. She said she believes the country will see an increase in overreach under Biden if Republicans win back enough seats in Congress to stop Democratic legislation and the next attorney general will need to fight back.
"I have news for Joe Biden when I'm attorney general: I'll see you in court," she said.
During her approximately 13-minute speech, Bird also accused Miller of being silent on support for law enforcement and being a "lazy liberal" who isn't in touch with local officials.
That would change if she becomes attorney general, she said.
"He doesn’t know them, even if they’ve spent their entire career in law enforcement in Iowa," she said. "I meet all the time with sheriffs that have never met him — not once. Not even shook his hand."
Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, currently has an agreement with Miller that bars him from joining multi-state lawsuits on behalf of the state without her permission. In exchange for the agreement, which the two officials struck in 2019, Reynolds vetoed legislation that would have permanently restricted the power of an Iowa attorney general to join such cases. The legislation was intended as a rebuke of Miller's decision to join lawsuits targeting President Donald Trump.
Bird told the Register after her speech that she doesn't believe that agreement would apply to her, but that she plans to focus on protecting the state's interests.
Miller, who is running for an 11th term, told a group of Democrats at a fundraiser in Clear Lake on Friday night that he finds Bird's campaign message on challenging the Biden administration problematic.
“Instead of believing in the rule of law and doing what you think is right, she believes that her campaign should center around suing Joe Biden," he said. "It’s an ideology approach. It’s a partisan politics approach to the attorney general’s office — totally different from me.”
Reynolds has hit the campaign trail advocating for Bird and other statewide officials, saying Iowa Republicans have a chance to gain offices that Democrats have long held. But the governor has drawn criticism for saying on the campaign trail that she wants her "own" attorney general, with Democrats responding that the officeholder works for Iowans and not the governor.
Bird told the Register Saturday that she doesn't see a distinction between being "Iowa's attorney general" and Reynolds' attorney general because she believes Reynolds is looking for someone who would follow the law and work on behalf of Iowans.
"I will serve. I will enforce the laws. What we've seen is our current attorney general doesn't do his job. So that's been the big problem," she said.
Miller is scheduled to speak at the Register's Soapbox at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Brenna Bird says Iowa needs attorney general to challenge Joe Biden