This 27-year-old ran on a campaign to defund the police—and defeated longtime incumbent

“We just won our campaign on a platform centered on Defunding the Police for Safety and Justice. It can be done,” Sheumaker said in a campaign statement. “My goal for this city has always been to work from the bottom up. Not the top down.” In her campaign, Sheumaker also stressed the importance of making food and housing accessible, flood preparedness, rent control, decriminalizing cannabis, tenant rights, and combating corporate greed.

“I want to be the kind of leader who is part of the community, the kind of leader people can talk to you,” Sheumaker told the crowd at a cafe in downtown Des Moines the night election results rolled in, according to Iowa Public Radio. She said given that she’s a protester and activist herself, she can’t tell people not to “show up” on her lawn.

Sheumaker became involved in politics after the police killing of George Floyd when she organized marches for racial justice in Des Moines. Since then, she’s worked steadily with the Black Liberation Movement (which supported her campaign) and advocated for defunding the police

“I already told all these people: if you don’t like what I do, you better be banging on my door with 500 people on my lawn,” she told the group as music played and people celebrated her big win.

Sheumaker really credits local, individual support for her win, and wants to stay true to herself and her community. “I didn’t look for big donors, didn’t look for donations from developers, landlords — and I didn’t get any,” Sheumaker told the Register. “It was very much a campaign for the people.” She has received more than $30,000 in campaign donations since February. According to Iowa Public Radio, Sheumaker said most of her contributions came from individual donors, and her grandparents were her biggest donors. They were in the crowd the night she won, too. 

You can check out an interview with Sheumaker here. And if you want to read up on some other exciting victories from Tuesday that haven’t gotten nearly enough national media attention, check out our coverage of State Rep. Ed Gainey and Aftab Pureval, too. 

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