Republicans running negative radio ads in key Iowa Senate and House races

Radio commercials appeared in several competitive Iowa Senate districts during the last week of September, coinciding with the start of early voting. This week, the Republican Party of Iowa has launched the first negative radio spots I’ve heard in state legislative races this year. After the jump I’ve enclosed the transcript of the ad attacking Chaz Allen, the Democratic candidate in the open Iowa Senate district 15. Allen’s own positive ad, which Bleeding Heartland transcribed here, is still in rotation and promotes the former Newton mayor’s record of recruiting businesses. The new Republican spot blames Allen for high property taxes that allegedly discouraged companies from coming to Newtown after “Maytag pulled out on Chaz Allen’s watch.” The ad also plays up Governor Terry Branstad’s support for Crystal Bruntz, the Republican candidate in Senate district 15. While the ad asserts that Bruntz “understands job creation,” it fails to mention anything substantive she has ever done to create jobs.

In Iowa Senate district 41, a leading pickup opportunity for Democrats, Republican State Senator Mark Chelgren’s new radio spot highlights flippant and sarcastic responses Siegel mailed in response to a survey Chelgren circulated in 2010. More details on that commercial are after the jump.

In the open Senate district 39, another seat targeted by both parties, a Bleeding Heartland reader tells me that the new Republican radio spot attacks Democratic nominee Kevin Kinney over his support for “Common Core” educational standards. I have not heard the ad yet and would appreciate any further details. It seems like an odd angle for an attack, but I guess Kinney’s background as a deputy sheriff and family farmer didn’t give them easy targets. Politics-watchers generally believe that education is a campaign issue favoring Democrats. As far as I can tell, fear-mongering over Common Core only resonates with social conservatives who would already be voting for Kinney’s opponent, Michael Moore.

I have not yet heard details on radio spots attacking State Senators Daryl Beall or Rita Hart, the Democratic incumbents in Senate districts 5 and 49, respectively. Nor have I heard of any attack ads against three-term Democratic incumbent Amanda Ragan in Senate district 27, although anecdotally, Republicans have supposedly given up on taking back that seat. I always appreciate tips from Bleeding Heartland readers, so please let me know if you’ve heard radio ads in the Fort Dodge, Clinton, or Mason City area.

In the open Iowa House district 55 (northeast Iowa), Republican Daniel Branhagen started running a commercial this week calling his Democratic opponent Rick Edwards a big spender. I haven’t heard attack ads against any Iowa House Democrats yet on Des Moines area radio stations.

Any comments about the state legislative races are welcome in this thread.

This radio spot started running in the Des Moines area on October 13 or 14:

Male voice-over: Under Mayor Chaz Allen, Newton set its property tax rate to the maximum amount allowed by law, a heavy burden for those in Newton.

When Maytag pulled out on Chaz Allen’s watch, the city needed new business development. But property taxes discouraged new companies from locating into [sic] Newton. When a business owner in Kellogg tried to move his company to Newton, according to the Daily News, the high property taxes kept him away, because they significantly increased his cost of doing business.

Now, Chaz Allen wants to go to the state Senate. Let’s tell him we can’t afford his way of doing business. Governor Branstad’s leadership has helped drive Iowa’s unemployment rate to one of the lowest in the nation. Let’s send him a partner in job creation and keeping government spending under control. Governor Branstad endorsed Crystal Bruntz, because she understands job creation. Crystal Bruntz for state Senate. She’ll work hard for us.

Bruntz’s voice: Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa. Approved by Bruntz for Senate.

From the October 14 edition of the Ottumwa Evening Post:

Iowa State Senator Mark Chelgren recently released a radio advertisement stating that his opponent made a radical statement about abortion. According to Chelgren, when asked his stance on abortion Wapello County Supervisor and Iowa State Senate Candidate Steve Siegel (D) wrote “Kill them all & let God sort it out.” The Post contacted Siegel about the claim made in Chelgren’s advertisement.

Siegel issued a written statement to The Post:

“In September of 2010, I received a candidate questionnaire from Iowa Senate candidate Mark Chelgren. I responded to what I perceived as an outrageous survey with outrageous responses.

These are obviously not what I truly believe and I regret giving them. I apologize to the voters of District 41 and to Senator Chelgren.”

The survey included the following questions from Chelgren’s campaign and written responses from Siegel:

Question: Regarding abortion, do you typically consider yourself…

Answer Options: Pro-life, Pro-choice, Undecided

Siegel’s Response: Kill them all & let God sort it out

Question: Do you agree with my opponent, Keith Kreiman, voting to spend over 2 BILLION in taxpayer dollars during the last Session of the General Assembly?

Answer Options: Yes, No, Undecided

Siegel’s Response: No, why didn’t he spend more on me

Chelgren’s campaign has posted the entire survey here. Reading the whole thing, it’s clear that Siegel was using the form as a vehicle to express his contempt for Chelgren, not as a statement of sincere beliefs. However, as a Wapello County supervisor, Siegel should have had enough political experience not to mail back a survey with a bunch of sarcastic responses. Chelgren told the Ottumwa Evening Post he was “disappointed” that Siegel “trivialized” the abortion issue.

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