Iowa Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield, a Democrat, raked in $132,000 in donations last Friday after her rescue dog went viral on social media. The dog was mentioned by her Republican opponent, Sen. Joni Ernst in a recent call to supporters. 

“While I’m out there talking to folks about these Paycheck Protection Program opportunities, when I’m talking to them about supports needed in our rural health care system, when I’m talking about supports necessary for child care so that moms and dads can get back to work, she’s been hiding in her basement taking selfies with her dog, Ringo,” Ernst said in the call, which was first reported by the blog Caffeinated Thoughts. 

The Greenfield campaign then took audio from the call and paired it with a photo of the yellow lab and beagle mix. A viral slogan, #IStandWithRingo, was soon trending on Twitter, with Greenfield’s campaign using the dog’s image in advertising and donation emails. 

"Listen, Ringo is a very good boy, but I don't think anyone expected him to become a viral star," Greenfield spokesperson Sam Newton said. 

The Ernst campaign has said the comments towards the dog were not meant personally.

"We love Ringo and think it’s the perfect name for her dog, because Theresa Greenfield always gets by with a little help from her liberal Washington friends. Actually, a lot of help," Ernst campaign spokesperson Brendan Conley said in a statement. 

Ernst, a staunch ally of President Trump, began her first term in the Senate in 2015. During her 2014 campaign, Ernst released a noteworthy ad comparing her experience castrating pigs to cutting “pork” in Congress. 

Greenfield, the president of a Des Moines-area real estate and development company, won the Iowa Democratic Senate primary in June. She has centered her campaign around protecting public safety net programs such as Social Security.

Although the Senate race was originally expected to be an easy win for Ernst, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and her ties to Trump have hurt her reelection campaign. The RealClearPolitics average shows Greenfield with a one-point lead over Ernst.