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CEDAR RAPIDS -- In a preemptive strike, a national Republican campaign organization is trying to tie an Iowa U.S. Senate hopeful to two controversial congresswomen supporting the Green New Deal.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is erecting a billboard in an attempt to link Kimberly Graham to U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. The message on the billboard that will be on display along U.S. Highway 69 in the Des Moines area reads until Sunday: “Kimberly Graham. Too Liberal for Iowa.” It features a picture of Graham with Ocasio-Cortez and Omar in the background.

“The Democratic Senate primary continues to march further to the left, as Kimberly Graham and the other candidates support a socialist agenda,” NRSC spokesman Nathan Brand said.

Graham, an Indianola attorney with no previous experience in elected office, is one of three announced candidates for the 2020 Democratic Senate nomination. Theresa Greenfield, a Des Moines real estate agent, and Eddie Mauro, a Des Moines businessman, also are seeking the nomination.

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“It’s clear the GOP realizes that only a strong progressive has any chance of taking back the seat so honorably held by Sen. Tom Harkin for all those years," Graham said in a statement. And that’s what we’re going to do.”

Graham was targeted because of her position on the Green New Deal, Brand said. The Green New Deal is a proposed economic stimulus package aimed at reducing the effects of climate change and economic inequality.

“Our policy has been that no Democrat should receive a free pass in their party’s race to the left,” Brand said.

“The billboard is to draw attention to how liberal Kimberly Graham is, and one way of doing that is connecting her with two of the most outspoken socialists in Washington right now — AOC and Omar,” he said.

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In addition to the Green New Deal, Brand pointed to a Graham Twitter post outlining her agenda that includes Medicare-for-all, a $15 minimum wage, an end to Citizens United and a rejection of corporate PAC money.

“As Eddie Mauro, Kimberly Graham, and (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer’s hand-picked candidate Theresa Greenfield attempt to break out of the crowded Democratic primary, their embrace of socialized medicine and the radical Green New Deal are out of touch with families and farmers in Iowa,” Brand said.

Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are two of the four Democratic congresswomen President Donald Trump targeted in a series of Twitter posts suggesting they “go back” to where they came from. The other two were Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. All four are U.S. citizens, and only Omar was not born in this country.

This story has been updated with comment from Graham.

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