Where things stand in Iowa's second Congressional district

Part of a series catching up on Iowa’s 2020 races for federal offices.

Republicans and GOP-aligned interest groups did not make a serious play for Iowa’s second Congressional district in the 2016 or 2018 elections, but this seat covering 24 counties in southeast Iowa is expected to be much more competitive this year, due to U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack’s retirement.

As the filing period for state and federal candidates approaches, both parties still have two declared candidates in IA-02, but the front-runners–former State Senator Rita Hart for Democrats and State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks–have further consolidated their positions.

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Ernst, Grassley become active participants in Trump's obstruction

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst told Iowa reporters in October that if articles of impeachment were referred to the Senate, she would “evaluate the facts” as a “jurist.”

Senator Chuck Grassley voted to allow deposition of witnesses in President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, explaining at the time he was supporting “a tightly disciplined legal process to get the information needed to help clear up important discrepancies on the record. Witnesses will not be called simply for the sake of calling witnesses. Seeking this information is important to a process that is judicious.”

Yet Iowa’s senators joined all of their Republican colleagues on January 21 to prevent senators from examining any documents the White House is withholding and from hearing any witness testimony about President Donald Trump’s conduct.

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Joni Ernst: Trump withholding Ukraine aid "moot," no need to hear witnesses

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has brushed off as “moot” a new finding that the Trump administration broke federal law by withholding security assistance to Ukraine during the summer of 2019.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a January 16 report that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) violated the Impoundment Control Act when it withheld funds from the Defense Department. “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.”

Ernst has long advocated increasing our country’s military support for Ukraine. But speaking to Iowa media this morning (audio), she suggested the GAO findings were not relevant, since Ukraine eventually received the assistance Congress approved.

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Steve King's against tying a president's hands on war--unless it's Obama

The U.S. House voted on January 9 to block further military action against Iran without express authorization from Congress.

In a written statement, Representative Steve King (IA-04) thundered against what he called “bad legislation that seeks to tie the President’s hands,” adding,

I stand with letting President Trump, our Commander-in-Chief, make the tough calls and take the swift and certain actions that he determines are necessary to protect our nation, our citizens, and our interests from Iranian acts of hostility.

King was singing a different tune when House members of both parties passed a similar resolution in 2011 to limit President Barack Obama’s military engagement in Libya.

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