Ernst's words don't match actions on COVID-19 relief for fossil fuels industry

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst told members of the Iowa Farmers Union in June that she’d prefer for fossil fuel companies not to be eligible for COVID-19 relief funds.

However, months earlier she was among only two farm state senators to sign a letter aimed at ensuring that oil, gas, and coal companies would have access to federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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Joni Ernst picks a strange fight with Theresa Greenfield

“You know, I haven’t heard Theresa Greenfield say one thing that Chuck Schumer hasn’t told her to say,” Senator Joni Ernst declared today on her Twitter feed. “And that’s not what Iowans expect in a leader.”

Several political reporters quickly noted the role reversal in Ernst’s call for six debates with her Democratic opponent. Usually challengers want more debates in order to raise their profiles before the general election. An incumbent making that demand is likely trailing, as the three most recent published polls on Iowa’s Senate race suggest.

Other endangered Republican senators have similarly called for frequent debates this fall, a sign of justified fear that President Donald Trump’s sinking approval will drag them down in November.

Another thing about Ernst’s taunt struck me as more strange, though. If she wants to make the election about who slavishly follows her party’s leader, Iowa’s junior senator is on exceptionally weak ground.

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IA-Sen: New Des Moines Register poll confirms Joni Ernst is vulnerable

Iowans haven’t voted a sitting U.S. senator out of office since 1984, but a third poll taken since the June 2 primary shows Senator Joni Ernst slightly trailing Democratic nominee Theresa Greenfield.

One poll might be dismissed as a fluke. Two polls might be explained away by the fact that groups supporting Greenfield commissioned the surveys. But Selzer & Co, which conducts the Iowa Poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom, has no dog in this fight.

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Two polls show Greenfield leading Ernst, Iowa in play for Biden

The 2016 elections were so devastating for Iowa Democrats that I thought Iowa had probably relinquished swing-state status and would not have a targeted U.S. Senate race in 2020.

However, Senator Joni Ernst’s approval numbers have been sliding for some time. The first two polls published following last week’s primary election show Democratic Senate nominee Theresa Greenfield slightly leading Ernst.

The same surveys point to a highly competitive race between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden for Iowa’s six electoral votes.

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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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