Sep 8, 2022 - Politics

Hy-Vee loses Des Moines Democrats' Steak Fry contract

Women stands over grill cooking hamburgers at Steak Fry
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota and 2020 presidential candidate, at the 2019 Steak Fry. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Polk County Democrats dropped Hy-Vee as the caterer for this year's Steak Fry fundraiser, Polk County Democratic Chairman Sean Bagniewski told Axios Wednesday.

  • Politics factored into the decision, he said.

Catch up fast: The Steak Fry began more than 40 years ago as a fundraiser for former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and the Iowa Democratic Party.

  • Polk County Democrats resurrected the event in 2017 after a several-year hiatus.
  • Hy-Vee had catered the event since at least 1992, Bagniewski said.

State of play: Hy-Vee's PAC has overwhelmingly supported GOP candidates since 2010, according to data published by the Hy-Vee Inc. Employees’ Political Action Committee.

  • That's created tensions among some Democrats, as reported by the left-leaning blog Bleeding Heartland.

What's happening: Orchestrate Management, which operates multiple metro restaurants including Centro and Bubba, agreed to match Hy-Vee as the lowest bidder this year, Bagniewski said.

  • Hy-Vee did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

The event: This year's Steak Fry is Sept. 17.

  • It starts at 1 pm, in DSM's Water Works Park, $35.
  • And according to the party, "All Democrats are welcome."
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