Monica Vernon

Monica Vernon giving a victory speech at the Iowa Brewing Company after a winning the democratic nomination for congressman on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Vernon had 67 percent of the vote, while Murphy had 33 percent. (The Daily Iowan/Jordan Gale)

Monica Vernon giving a victory speech at the Iowa Brewing Company after a winning the democratic nomination for congressman on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Vernon had 67 percent of the vote, while Murphy had 33 percent. (The Daily Iowan/Jordan Gale)

By Matthew Jack | matthewmjack@gmail.com

Despite a rocky start in the U.S. House elections in 2014, Monica Vernon is refusing to fold under pressure.

Her perseverance paid off this year when she won the U.S. House Democratic primary for Iowa’s first district against Patrick Murphy by a 35-point margin.

In 2014, Vernon lost the primary for the same seat Murphy, who eventually lost to his Republican challenger, Rod Blum, the incumbent Representative.

Vernon, a 58-year-old University of Iowa graduate and former market research CEO, began her political career, registered as a Republican, from the second district on the Cedar Rapids City Council in 2007. After the Iowa flood of 2008, Vernon touts her bipartisan cooperation and tangible results as proof that she has political skills to bring to the table in the 2016 U.S. House election.

Monica Vernon Age: 58 Hometown: Cedar Rapids Education: University of Iowa Family: Husband, Bill; 3 children,

Monica Vernon
Age: 58
Hometown: Cedar Rapids
Education: University of Iowa
Family: Husband, Bill; 3 children,

In 2009, she switched her registration to Democrat, which made her a target for controversy regarding her history of donations to Republican candidates. Murphy aired an attack ad during the Democratic primary which zeroed in on these contributions, and for Vernon’s refusal to sign a pledge designed to prevent contributions from right-wing groups, but would effectively prevent an outside group of any political affiliation from directly campaigning for the candidate.

While Vernon has indeed received money from Republican donors, an independent fact-check by The Gazette concluded that these donors were “largely family members or former colleagues, so their support may transcend political ties.”

Vernon, who calls herself a “lifelong progressive,” has struck back at Murphy’s commitment to the Democratic party for his role in establishing a Dubuque County pro-life organization. A supporter of Obamacare — specifically for low-income families and those with pre-existing conditions — she also holds an endorsement from EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schirock, whose organization “aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office.”

She also breaks with Republicans on issues like climate change, which she has cited as a reason to encourage investment into renewable energy sources and more efficient vehicles.

She said she supports tuition-free college and universal pre-kindergarten as well as “comprehensive education reform” to combat “declining academic performance” in the U.S.

After Vernon turned the tables in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives, she hopes to be the first female representative elected from Iowa.