IA-Sen: Joni Ernst (R) Really Wishes She Could “Rub A Little Iowa Nice Off On Trump”

This is what Republican social distancing looks like:

Iowa's junior senator, Joni Ernst, said Wednesday that while she would “love to rub a little Iowa nice off” on President Donald Trump, his leadership style is different from hers and if he changed it, he may not get as much attention from the media.

Ernst, a Republican seeking a second term, said she “would respond very differently” than Trump, but “he leads is a very different way” when asked about the president's recent tweets about unfounded conspiracy theories about MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough and controversial retweets he made attacking prominent female politicians, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, over their appearances.

“I'd love to rub a little Iowa nice off, but certainly it gets media attention, and negative or positive, it's obviously getting media attention,” she told ABC News' “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. “Certainly when he's speaking out, he's drawing attention to certain situations, and if he were really Iowa nice in those situations, (he) probably wouldn't get the the media attention that he does.”

Yeah, good luck with that. Meanwhile, Theresa Greenfield (D. IA) is showing voters that she is authentic “Iowa Nice”:

Six years after Sen. Joni Ernst became the first woman elected to federal office in the Hawkeye State, thanks in part to a campaign that put personality over policy, Democrat Theresa Greenfield is leaning into her own story as she seeks her party’s nod to take on the first-term Republican incumbent this fall.

Greenfield, a businesswoman and mother who became a widow at 24 when her husband, an electrician and union member, was killed in a workplace accident, is tapping into her narrative to push broader themes on health care, Social Security, labor unions and the struggles of the agrarian economy. Her biography doubles as a pitch to the wider electorate in a state where the Democratic Senate nominee will likely need to win over at least some of the people who will ultimately vote for President Donald Trump in November.

“We don’t have to win the presidency to win the Senate and keep the congressional seats we have,” said Norm Sterzenbach, a Democratic strategist based in Des Moines. “We just need to knock him down.”

In an interview this month, Greenfield said, “I would not be here today without union benefits and Social Security.” That message has been featured in TV ads from her campaign and prominent national Democratic groups such as the Senate Majority PAC ahead of Tuesday’s primary election, where the first-time candidate for statewide office is the favorite against less-funded rivals including Michael Franken, a retired Navy vice admiral who was endorsed by the Des Moines Register, and businessman Eddie Mauro.  

The focus on biography from Greenfield, who describes herself as a “proud farm kid,” evokes memories of Ernst’s successful 2014 campaign, when she was elected on a promise to “make ’em squeal” in Washington. One reporter at the time dubbed Ernst’s campaign pitch as “biography over ideology” — a tack that focused on her as a mother and soldier, and helped her defeat Democrat Bruce Braley by 6 percentage points as she brought together the Republican establishment and a powerful tea-party wing.

What’s clear is that Democrats and Republicans see Iowa as super competitive and are investing big time in this race:

Both parties’ Senate campaign committees and aligned super PACs have reserved a combined $35.6 million in airtime in the Hawkeye State for after the nominees are chosen, a sign that Iowa will be one of the top contests in the battle for the Senate. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Lean Republican.

The flood of outside money won’t be new for Iowans who remember Ernst’s first race in 2014, when outside groups spent almost $63 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Nearly $6.7 million of the $9.7 million spent in the Senate primary so far has been to support Greenfield, a real estate executive endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Greenfield also has endorsements from a long list of Iowa Democratic leaders and labor organizations.

And Joe Biden has a good shot at flipping Iowa blue again according to Public Policy Polling’s May 4th poll:

PPP’s newest Iowa poll finds that both the Senate race and the Presidential race in the state have tightened since the winter.

In the Senate race Joni Ernst leads Theresa Greenfield just 43-42, an indication that Iowa could make for another tough hold for Republicans on a map that’s been expanding for Democrats. When PPP previously polled the race in December Ernst had a 6 point lead at 47-41. Ernst has taken a hit in her popularity- only 37% of voters now approve of the job she’s doing to 43% who disapprove.

The Presidential race looks like a toss up as well. Donald Trump now leads Joe Biden just 48-46 in a state that he won by 9 points in 2016. Mirroring a trend seen in other polls of Biden polling surprisingly well with older voters, he leads Trump 52-44 with seniors.

70% of Iowans think every registered voter in the state should be mailed an absentee ballot so that they can vote from home in the fall, to only 22% who oppose that. There’s bipartisan consensus on the question of letting everyone vote by mail- Democrats (89/6), independents (65/26), and Republicans (54/36) are all in favor of it.

53% of voters in the state think meatpacking plants should be closed until health officials deem it safe for workers to return, to 36% who think they should be open now to ensure there’s no disruption to the national food supply.

Let’s help Greenfield and Biden win Iowa. Click below to donate and get involved with their campaigns:

Theresa Greenfield

Joe Biden