Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 30, 2015

Posts in "Iowa"

April 2, 2015

Grassley Strives for Seventh Term, Always Wanting More

Grassley has never won re-election with less than 64 percent of the vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grassley does a 99-county tour every year in Iowa. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:35 a.m. | He has never won re-election with less than 64 percent of the vote. His approval rating is 67 percent.

This is not some senator from a deep red or deep blue state. He is, in fact, a Republican representing a swing state in a presidential year, and Democrats would quite like to unseat him.

So why does Sen. Charles E. Grassley seem almost politically invincible?

Full story

March 4, 2015

Democrats Have Early Favorite House Pickup Opportunity

rod blum

Blum, right, is a top Democratic target in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In one of the party’s best pickup opportunities this cycle, Democrats have zeroed in on second-time candidate Monica Vernon to win Iowa’s 1st District.

Freshman Rep. Rod Blum, a Republican, holds the seat. But the district’s composition is competitive, if not left-leaning: In 2012, President Barack Obama won it with 56 percent. That makes it a ripe target for Democrats, who must net 30 seats on a GOP-friendly map to win the majority. Full story

January 21, 2015

Grassley Preps 2016 Re-Election

chuck grassley

Grassley talks on the phone in his Hart Building office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley doesn’t plan to be caught flat-footed if he faces a competitive, expensive re-election battle in 2016.

In a Wednesday interview with CQ Roll Call, the Iowa Republican said he began work on his campaign last year, and there will be more involvement from the national party than in his past efforts, given the exploding costs of campaigns. Full story

January 20, 2015

Joni Ernst’s Next Move

joni ernst

Ernst is a first-term Republican from Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, will have been in the Senate for just two weeks before she delivers the GOP’s response to the State of the Union Tuesday — and Republicans already predict her influence in the party will extend well beyond that in the coming months.

“I think she’s going to play a very important role,” Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a Monday phone interview. “No. 1, Republicans need more female leaders, so she falls into that category. Another thing is she’s got a commanding personality, and it’s backed up by her military experience as a commander. So she’s been a leader in a previous life and that is gonna be natural for her to lead in Iowa.” Full story

November 1, 2014

Reid: Iowa Loss Would Mean Republican Senate Majority (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:27 p.m., Nov. 1 | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may have just unwittingly given Minority Leader McConnell something to smile about.

“What Joni Ernst would mean, coming to the United States Senate, is that Mitch McConnell would be the leader of the Senate, someone who agrees with her on virtually everything. Think what that would mean to our country,” Reid told progressives Saturday, when asked about Ernst’s chances in the open-seat race in Iowa.

That sure sounds like Reid believes his Republican leadership counterpart is going to win in Kentucky on Tuesday.

Reid then reprised familiar lines about the increase in the number of cloture motions and the history of the filibuster.

(Join us on Election Night: Live Stream With Analysis, Results and More at RollCall.com)

Full story

October 31, 2014

The Recount Rules Guide for 2014

recount rules
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After the polls close Tuesday, it’s likely at least a handful of House and Senate races will be too close to call.

What would happen next for these tight contests? In most cases, once all the votes are collected and counted, it’s a pesky procedure that keeps candidates and canvassers up at night for days or weeks: the recount.

Recount laws vary by state, so we’ve rounded up what triggers one and any notable fine print in states with anticipated close contests.

ALASKA

Sen. Mark Begich (D) vs. Dan Sullivan (R)
Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Tilts Republican

Trigger: Only an exact tie triggers a recount in the El Dorado of the North. But if the race does not end in a tie, a losing candidate or 10 qualified voters can still request a recount.

Fine Print: In a statewide election, the recount requestor must deposit $15,000 with the recount application, unless the margin is less than 0.5 percent, at which point the state covers the cost. The deposit is refunded if the recount changes the election results.

Full story

October 28, 2014

New Ad Attacks Joni Ernst on Education

joni ernst

The National Education Association will start airing a new ad Tuesday attacking Joni Ernst on education.

The ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, features voters speaking directly to camera as a narrator attacks Ernst’s record on education.

Joni Ernst is leading the fight to take funding from public school students and give it to wealthy private schools instead,” a male narrator says. Full story

September 16, 2014

NRSC Ad Hits Bruce Braley on Congressional Attendance (Video)

bruce braley

Braley is the target of another NRSC ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a TV ad in Iowa Tuesday that criticizes Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley for his attendance record on the House floor and a committee he served.

The NRSC Independent Expenditure Committee ad, shared first with CQ Roll Call, is at least the second one to slam Braley for missing a significant number of committee hearings.

This one hits the congressman for his time on the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, as well as for missing more votes than any other Iowa member. A previous spot from GOP-aligned Freedom Partners hit Braley for skipping Veterans’ Affairs hearings. Full story

September 10, 2014

DSCC Blasts Ernst on Social Security Comments in New Ad

Ernst is in one of the cycle's tightest races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going up with a new ad in Iowa attacking Republican Joni Ernst for talking about privatizing social security and tying her to the Koch Brothers.

Ernst faces Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in one of the most competitive races this cycle. The two are vying for the open seat currently held by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

In the ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, a male narrator attacks Ernst as “too extreme.”

Joni Ernst is talking about privatizing Social Security. Risking it on the stock market,” the narrator says. Full story

September 9, 2014

John McCain Boosts Joni Ernst in Iowa Senate Race

john mccain

McCain is an Arizona Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blasted a mailer from a group supporting Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, for a “disgusting attack” on Republican Joni Ernst’s military service.

Braley and Ernst are running for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat in one of the cycle’s most competitive contests. The mailer, from NextGen Climate, an environment-focused group backed by Tom Steyer, says, “Joni Ernst is putting her big oil backers ahead of national security.”

“American troops have spent years fighting terrorists overseas,” the mailer reads. “But politicians like Joni Ernst are undercutting that battle here at home.”

In a statement provided first to CQ Roll Call, McCain blasted the mailer, calling it “beyond offensive” to say that about Ernst, who is a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard and would be the first female combat veteran in the Senate, if elected. Full story

September 8, 2014

Democrat Leads in New Iowa Senate Race Poll

iowa senate race poll

Braley is an Iowa Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll shows Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat, has opened up a lead over his Republican opponent Joni Ernst in the battle for Iowa’s open Senate seat.

The Loras College poll of likely voters found Braley at 45.3 percent and Ernst at 40.5 percent. Just over 14 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The race for retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat is one of the most hotly contested in the country, and the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates it as a Tossup. Senate Republicans must pick up a net of six seats this November to win control of that chamber, and Iowa plays a prominent part in the GOP’s math to accomplish that.

Full story

August 21, 2014

Once a GOP Staffer, Candidate Now Vies to Be Main Event

Young, left, and Grassley, right, campaign at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ADEL, Iowa – When David Young first became Sen. Charles E. Grassley’s chief of staff seven years ago, the senator sat him down for a talk. Young thought he was in for the riot act or a long list of rules.

Instead, as he tells it in the parking lot where people are shucking corn for the Adel Sweet Corn Festival, Iowa’s beloved senior senator recounted some advice he received when he first came to Washington.

“He said, ‘[whatever] your constituents want, anything and everything, you do it,'” Young recalls. “‘If they want you to cut their toenails, you cut their toenails.’”

A few weeks later, Young went out and bought enough toenail clippers for the entire staff as a reminder of their mission. Today, Young recounts that tale as a candidate for Iowa’s open 3rd District. Grassley tells the same story in Young’s first general election radio ad.

Young jokes that he probably needs to start carrying around toenail clippers. “Undoubtedly, someone’s going to come up to me and say, ‘Cut ‘em Dave,'” he jokes, saying he might also need “a 5 gallon Purell pump” to finish the job.

Full story

August 13, 2014

It’s the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Grassley hams it up in the pork tent at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — At the Iowa State Fair, the walk from the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building to the swine barn should take about five minutes.

But with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, it takes 45.

Since the Republican was first elected to the Senate in 1980, Grassley, the Hawkeye State’s senior senator, has never been re-elected with less than 64 percent of the vote. At the Iowa State Fair, it is easy to see why.

On Friday, Grassley could not travel more than 10 feet without people stopping to shake his hand, get a picture or tell him how he great he is. GOP candidates agree with that sentiment: He was at the fair to campaign with Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for Senate to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

“I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Joni Ernst, she’s running for Senate,” Grassley says, time and time again. Full story

August 12, 2014

In Iowa Senate Race, It’s Personality Versus Policy

Ernst embraces a young supporter at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Joni Ernst is a hugger.

At the Iowa State Fair, the GOP’s nominee to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is hugging people she knows, people she’s meeting for the first time, and people who are excited to see her. On Friday, Ernst stops to hug and chat up someone else while Iowa’s three most senior Republican state officials — Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey — wait for her at a podium 10 feet away.

Ernst’s strong suit as a Senate candidate is that people seem to want to hug her back.

“Joni, we love you, honey! Keep up the good work!” shouts a man as she walks the fair with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa.

Six months ago, Ernst was a second-tier candidate with little money in a four-way Republican primary. Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley had cleared the field, raised money, and seemed likely to keep the seat in his party’s hands.

Then, Ernst made a splashy ad about castrating hogs and a video emerged of Braley derisively referring to Grassley as just “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” Suddenly, Ernst was a contender, and Braley was back on his heels, trying to apologize to the state’s beloved senior senator.

Ernst rode that momentum to a resounding primary victory two months later, and since then, the race has been counted among the most competitive of the cycle. Ernst could well be Iowa’s first female senator if the Hawkeye State voters prefer her farm girl charm over Braley’s record in Congress.

It’s why walking the fair with Braley and Ernst is like experiencing night and day.

Full story

August 6, 2014

House Candidate Launches First Ad in Open Seat Race

Iowa Democrat Staci Appel is airing her first TV ad Wednesday in a highly targeted, open-seat race for House Democrats.

Appel is squaring off with Republican David Young, a former staffer for Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, in one of the most competitive House races. The two are vying for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Tom Latham.

The ad, a positive bio spot provided first to CQ Roll Call, is the first from either major party nominee. It will run district-wide on cable and network TV, though the campaign did not provide the size of the buy.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pskhoYUWaY Full story

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