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August 1, 2014

Posts in "Iowa"

June 18, 2014

Poll: Tight Iowa Senate Race

Poll: Tight Iowa Senate Race

A new poll shows Braley, above, in a tight race with Ernst for Senate in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll showed Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, with a narrow lead, 44 percent to 40 percent, over his Republican opponent, state Sen. Joni Ernst, in the competitive race for Senate.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, released Wednesday morning, comes a couple weeks after Ernst’s resounding victory in the Republican primary that local operatives say put this race in play. Ernst and Braley are vying for the seat currently held by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who is retiring.  Full story

June 4, 2014

Joni Ernst Money Chase Starts Now (Updated)

Joni Ernst Money Chase Starts Now (Updated)

Braley won the Democratic nod for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:10 p.m. | State Sen. Joni Ernst posted a resounding victory Tuesday with 56 percent of the Republican primary vote, handily winning the GOP nod for Senate in Iowa.

Now Ernst must run up a different number: Her bottom line.

After a grueling and costly primary, Ernst — who already struggled with campaign fundraising — starts a general election campaign against a cash-flush Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley. Ernst’s primary bid was heavily boosted by third-party groups — support Republicans hope will resume as quickly as possible.

For example, less than 24 hours after the Republican’s win, Braley debuted a statewide television ad attacking her for being all talk about cutting spending without having the legislative record to back it up. Full story

June 3, 2014

Primary Results: Iowa Senate, House Races (Updated)

Primary Results: Iowa Senate, House Races (Updated)

Braley won the Democratic nod for Senate and will face Ernst. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated June 4, 1:00 a.m. and 5:12 a.m. | Joni Ernst has won the Republican nominee for Senate in Iowa, boosting the GOP’s hopes of picking up this a competitive, open seat in 2014.

Ernst, a state senator, scored a decisive victory over her three major opponents, leading with 53 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race at 10:52 p.m. She easily surpassed the 35 percent threshold she needed to win the nomination outright and avoid a convention. Full story

May 31, 2014

Iowa Senate Primary Becomes 2016 Battleground

Iowa Senate Primary Becomes 2016 Battleground

Perry supports a candidate for Senate in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQRoll Call File Photo)

The campaign trail in Iowa this week might look a little familiar: As Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry stump around the state, former Sen. Rick Santorum’s face is plastered on the local airwaves.

The 2012 presidential primary is long gone, but a couple of the GOP’s future presidential hopefuls are using the Senate primary in the crucial nominating state to their advantage.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has backed the GOP front-runner, state Sen. Joni Ernst. Romney, who is not expected to run in 2016, has also given her his support. Meanwhile, Perry has endorsed former District Attorney Matt Whitaker. Santorum is supporting radio host Sam Clovis. A fourth candidate in the race, former energy executive Mark Jacobs, does not have any endorsements from likely presidential candidates.

The contest marks a rare opportunity for 2016 hopefuls: There hasn’t been an open-seat Senate race in the Hawkeye State in three decades. By backing a Senate candidate, presidential prospects can cement relationships with them and their staff that could be valuable next cycle — no matter if their chosen Republican wins or loses.

“The caucuses are an activist-driven process and activists put a premium on who stands with them,” said Republican radio host Steve Deace, who has endorsed Clovis.

“After all,” he added, “if you’re going to ask activists to stand with you, they’ll want to know if you stood with them.” Full story

May 28, 2014

Ad Deluge Intensifies in Final Week Before Iowa Senate Primary

Former energy executive Mark Jacobs has debuted two more ads in the final days before the GOP’s primary for Senate in Iowa.

Jacobs, a multimillionaire, has used his personal wealth to boost his campaign coffers, allowing him to spend more than his opponents. He faces State Sen. Joni Ernst, who is widely regarded as the front-runner, along with radio host Sam Clovis and former District Attorney Matt Whitaker.

Jacobs’ first new ad touts his position as an “outsider,” not a “Washington politician,” who has “real world, common-sense experience.”

The second trumpets his support for a balanced budget amendment, and attacks congress for “not doing the job they were elected to do.” Full story

May 27, 2014

Bruce Braley Touts Legal Career in New TV Ad (Updated)

Bruce Braley Touts Legal Career in New TV Ad (Updated)

Braley is running for Senate in Iowa. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 3:31 p.m. | Rep. Bruce Braley is up with a new ad for his Senate bid touting his career as a lawyer — a résumé that’s caused the Democrat some grief in his bid for the competitive, open seat in Iowa.

In his 30-second spot, the congressman casts his oft-maligned profession as one of fighting for people and helping them solve their problems.

“Equal justice under the law is what this country is built upon, is one of the things that motivated me to want to become a lawyer, and fight for people,” Braley says in the ad, which shows footage of him talking to a variety of people in Iowa.

“You have to get to know people to be an effective voice for what they care about,” he says. “I’ve spent my lifetime trying to be the voice for someone who has a problem that they can’t solve by themselves.” Full story

May 22, 2014

Tom Steyer’s 2014 Targets Start With Four Senate Races

Tom Steyer, the Democrats’ financial answer to the Koch brothers, has set his sights on specific Senate and gubernatorial races to spend the $100 million he’s earmarked for the midterm elections.

His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, aims to promote candidates who support action to mitigate the effects of climate change. It was active in last year’s elections for Virginia governor and a vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts.

The group has now targeted the competitive Senate races in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire, and the Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine gubernatorial contests. It will back the Democratic candidate in each case. Full story

May 21, 2014

Still No Clarity in Iowa Republican Senate Primary

Still No Clarity in Iowa Republican Senate Primary

Harkin's seat is an attractive pickup opportunity for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With less than two weeks until Iowa’s congressional primaries, it’s still unclear whether a Republican Senate candidate can clear the 35 percent vote threshold needed to win the nomination outright.

In an attractive pickup opportunity for national Republicans, there are four major candidates seeking the nomination for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. The leading contenders are state Sen. Joni Ernst, who has the tacit support of the governor and earned national attention with an ad about castrating hogs, and Mark Jacobs, a self-funding former energy executive. Radio host Sam Clovis and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker round out the top four.

A recent poll found Ernst with 31 percent support — in the lead and within striking distance of the nomination. But Jacobs, who outspent Ernst by more than 5 to 1 through March, has dominated his opponents on the airwaves, and a potential late surge by Clovis could spread the vote around and force the nomination process to a convention, where anything can happen.

“I think either Ernst or Jacobs will get to 35 percent,” said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party and editor-in-chief of The Iowa Republican politics blog. But, he continued, “Clovis has plenty of room to grow” and can improve his standing if he is more “aggressive in drawing distinctions between himself and the other candidates” and seizing the “social conservative mantle.” Full story

September 20, 2013

Grassley Planning to Run Again in 2016

Grassley Planning to Run Again in 2016

Grassley is planning to run for re-election in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley said in a local television interview that he intends to seek a seventh Senate term in 2016.

“I am making plans to run for re-election,” the Republican told “Iowa Press,” a local public affairs show, per The Des Moines Register.

“I’m making plans, but it’s not taking much of my time. I’m concentrating on doing my job for Iowans, on being there when we’re in session, doing my oversight, doing my legislation, doing my town meetings in the 99 counties every year,”said Grassley, who turned 80 this week.

Although Grassley regularly wins re-election by 2-to-1 margins, Iowa is a perennial battleground state.

And before he can run for re-election, Iowans will go to the polls in 2014 to elect a successor to retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. That race is rated Lean Democrat by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

June 26, 2013

Iowa, Illinois GOP Chairmen Form New Firm | Shop Talk

Two former state GOP chairmen announced on Tuesday they formed a new Chicago-based venture, New Generation Public Affairs Inc.

Former Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn and former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady joined with Chicago-area businessman Bob Fitzsimmons to create the new firm that will, according to a release, “have a distinctive upper Midwest focus and initial offices in Chicago and Des Moines.”

Their announcement comes about a month after Brady resigned from his post following his declaration of support for same-sex marriage — an announcement that angered some local party members. After three productive years at the state party, Strawn left his role earlier this year in the midst of continued fallout from the GOP’s handling of the Iowa caucuses.

The three principals’ portfolios will include: Full story

May 4, 2013

Steve King Will Not Run for Senate #IASEN

Steve King Will Not Run for Senate #IASEN

King will not run for Senate. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll File Photo).

Republican Rep. Steve King announced on Twitter late Friday night that he would not run for Senate:

Full story

November 4, 2012

Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day

Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day

President Barack Obama fires up supporters at a late-night rally in northern Virginia on Saturday. Obama and MItt Romney are barnstorming swing states in the last push to turnout voters on Election Day. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made their closing pitches to swelled crowds of swing state supporters in the final weekend before voters deliver their verdict, while top surrogates hit the Sunday show circuit to spin their map to victory on Tuesday.

Much of the debate in the campaign’s final hours has focused on Pennsylvania, where Romney is campaigning today and where President Bill Clinton will stump for Obama on Monday. Republicans insist their last-minute play for the Keystone State is based on polling showing it’s winnable. But Democrats charge that the move is a sign of desperation from a team whose path to 270 electoral votes is narrowing.

Later today, Romney will stop in Morrisville, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia across the river from New Jersey. The Romney team sought to expand the battleground map with a late multi-million dollar investment on Pennsylvania airwaves, vastly outspending Democrats there in the last two weeks.

“It’s a remarkable juxtaposition here that Mitt Romney will be in the suburbs of Philadelphia today, and, you know, four years ago, Barack Obama was in Indiana,” Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said on ABC’s “This Week.” “When you look at where this map has gone, it reflects the — the change and the direction and the momentum toward Governor Romney.  And the fact is that a state like Pennsylvania being in play, a poll out today showing Michigan a dead heat, you know, this — the map has expanded.” Full story

October 31, 2012

David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

Top Democratic strategist David Axelrod bet his mustache that President Barack Obama will win Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s campaign claimed today that Mitt Romney’s campaign is “flailing” in the final days, with senior strategist David Axelrod betting his mustache that Obama will win the newly minted battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.

Axelrod and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters dismissed the Romney campaign’s late charge into those states, despite persistent polling leads for Obama, as a sign that it is losing in the existing battlegrounds and is increasingly desperate to expand the map.

“It’s break glass time in Boston,” Axelrod said. “I’ve put my mustache on the line.”

Messina said Democrats are piling up big leads among early voters in key battleground states including Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado and Florida.
Axelrod dismissed a question about Obama consistently trailing significantly among independents in polling. Full story

October 16, 2012

John Boehner to Boost Candidates in Iowa, Illinois

John Boehner to Boost Candidates in Iowa, Illinois

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John Boehner will be in Iowa campaigning for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday, and he also plans to fundraise for two House challengers while he’s in the state.

Ben Lange and John Archer, who are running against Democratic incumbents in Iowa’s 1st and 2nd districts, respectively, will get a boost from the Speaker.

The Ohio Republican will start the day with a fundraising luncheon in Davenport for Archer, a lawyer who is running against Rep. Dave Loebsack (D). The event will be held at the Davenport Country Club, and donations range from $250 to $1,000 a person, according to the Quad-City Times. Full story

September 18, 2012

Potential 2016 Candidates Start Iowa Visits

Potential 2016 Candidates Start Iowa Visits

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is one of several potential 2016 presidential hopefuls — Democrats and Republicans — who have visited Iowa recently. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Forget 2012. Who’s ready for the next presidential race?

Quite a few people, actually. Several potential future presidential candidates — Democrats and Republicans —  visited Iowa in recent months, proving it’s never too early to start making friends in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. To wit:

The Democrats:

  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley headlined Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry Sunday. In previous cycles, Harkin’s event served as a proving ground for presidential prospects, including President Barack Obama in 2006.
  • In June, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was the keynote speaker for Iowa Democrats at their Hall of Fame Celebration dinner during the state party’s convention.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will headline the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Oct. 20.
  • Several oft-mentioned presidential prospects appeared at the state party’s breakfast at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.: Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Villaraigosa and O’Malley.

The Republicans:

  • Today, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum announced he’s headed back to the Hawkeye State on Thursday for an event in Sioux City with Iowa Rep. Steve King to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. In early August, Santorum headlined the Family Leadership Summit. Santorum narrowly won the 2012 caucuses after diligently working Hawkeye State caucus-goers for months on end.
  • Earlier on Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will headline a luncheon for King in Sioux City. Christie campaigned for Iowa Rep. Tom Latham earlier this year, according to the Congressman’s campaign staff. Latham and King face tough re-election fights this fall.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal campaigned last July on behalf of Mitt Romney in Iowa — one of several trips he’s made to the state as a surrogate. He also headlined an August rally to help Iowa Legislature candidates hosted by the National Rifle Association.
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry also appeared at the Family Leadership Summit in August, along with Santorum. He’s scheduled to return to the state Oct. 27 for the 12th annual Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Fall Dinner.
  • In July, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell appeared as a surrogate for Romney alongside Jindal.

The trips present a dicey situation for Republicans, who do not want to appear presumptuous about the 2016 cycle if Romney wins in November. Still, given today’s highly orchestrated campaign operations, it’s hard to see how any candidate visits the state by happenstance.

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