Dark money stains the Senate primary

Susan Nelson spoke to Mike Franken about claims made in an attack ad funded by a group supporting Theresa Greenfield. -promoted by Laura Belin

The polling must be tightening up in the U.S. Senate primary.  A tsunami of dark money is washing up on our TV screens. Women Vote!, the political arm of EMILY’s List, is spending $1 million to attack Admiral Michael Franken on behalf of the Democratic establishment favorite, Theresa Greenfield.

Their ad claims that Mike Franken is a former Republican, an accusation that was flung at Elizabeth Warren every day in the 2020 primary campaign. If true, I am not so sure that would be a bad thing in a general election in Iowa, and it did not seem to hurt Warren. Republican support and donations have not hurt J.D. Scholten either. They also attack Franken for being a defense contractor, and accuse him of being a carpetbagger, an attack Warren received during her first Senate campaign.

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Letter from disappointed Iowa Democrats to Senator Chuck Schumer

Editor’s note from Laura Belin: The Senate Majority PAC, a super-PAC aligned with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has already spent nearly $7 million to promote Theresa Greenfield, one of four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Women Vote!, a super-PAC aligned with EMILY’s List, has spent nearly $1 million, mostly on advertising attacking Mike Franken, with a small buy of negative ads against Eddie Mauro. Both EMILY’s List and the DSCC endorsed Greenfield days after she launched her campaign in June 2019.

Sent Via Fax: 202-228-3027

May 29, 2020
Senator Chuck Schumer
322 Hart Senate Office
Washington, D.C. 20510
Re: Cease and Desist Interferences in Iowa U.S. Senate Primary Campaign

Dear Senator Schumer:

We write to you as long-time Iowa political activists, asking that you, and allied groups and individuals working in concert with you, cease and desist unwelcomed interferences in the Iowa Democratic Party’s primary campaign to nominate our candidate for the United States Senate seat now held by Republican Joni Ernst.

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Theresa Greenfield respects all Iowans

Earlier this month I was honored to cast my vote for Theresa Greenfield for U.S. Senate. Theresa has common sense and she will focus on concrete, pragmatic action to solve our biggest challenges: investing in infrastructure and education, expanding health care, taking urgent climate action, protecting women’s rights and ending gun violence.

Theresa stands out because she listens and respects the hard work and dignity of all Iowans. That’s how she’s earned the endorsement of 25 labor groups and grassroots progressive organizations like Giffords and the Brady Campaign. 

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Theresa Greenfield is our choice to defeat Joni Ernst

Sue Dvorsky is a longtime Democratic activist and former state chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. -promoted by Laura Belin

About a year ago, when Theresa Greenfield announced she was running for U.S. Senate, my husband, retired State Senator Bob Dvorsky and I were proud to be a part of the very first group of nearly 20 Iowa Democratic leaders, elected officials and activists to endorse her. We were drawn to her story. We admired her grace under pressure. We clearly recognized the grit, humor, and work ethic.

U.S. Senate races aren’t like any other election. Statewide. Six years. The state of Iowa and the state of the world has changed so much in the last six years that I can barely recall what 2014 was like. But I do know this: it is imperative for the future of this state, and the future of our country, that we change the leadership and the membership of the United States Senate.

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Bleeding Heartland's coverage of U.S. Senate, House races in 2019

After the wipeout of 2016, I questioned whether Iowa’s top races of 2018 and 2020 would be foregone conclusions for the Republican incumbents. But amid unusually high turnout for a midterm election, Democratic challengers flipped two U.S. House seats and fell only a few points short against Governor Kim Reynolds and Representative Steve King.

One of my goals for 2019 was to provide in-depth reporting on Iowa’s federal and state legislative races. Thanks to our nonpartisan redistricting system, none of our four Congressional districts are considered safe for either party in 2020. While U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is still favored to win a second term, she is increasingly seen as a vulnerable GOP incumbent.

Follow me after the jump for a review of Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of the campaigns for U.S. Senate and House, with links to all relevant posts. A separate post will cover the year’s stories about battleground legislative districts.

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