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Tags: Iowa

GOP Expected to Continue Quadrennial Stimulus Program for Ames, Iowa



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Great news, Ames, Iowa–area vendors, caterers, and local power-brokers:

The Republican Party of Iowa’s governing board will vote on [the Ames Straw Poll's] future at 11 a.m. Saturday, but GOP insiders said the decision will almost certainly be to proceed with planning for an event in August as usual.

Just think, Republican aspiring presidents, with enough time, money, and effort, you can follow the path of past Ames Straw Poll winner Michele Bachmann, who went on to spend $15 million and finish with 5 percent in the Iowa caucuses! Or 2007 winner Mitt Romney! Or 1995 co-winner Phil Gramm! Or 1987 winner Pat Robertson! Or 1979 winner George H. W. Bush!

(You may have noticed that none of those figures went on to win the nomination, nor even the Iowa caucus the following year.)

Okay, every once in a while, the straw-poll winner goes on to win the nomination: co-winner Bob Dole in 1995, George W. Bush in 1999.

As the Des Moines Register noted:

The straw poll, in fact, proved to be a substantial drain on candidates’ finances. In addition to the fees paid to the party, candidates spent big bucks on food, entertainment and transportation. Pawlenty dropped nearly $27,000 on Famous Dave’s barbecue to feed the straw poll crowd before finishing third and exiting the race the next day. Bachmann spent more than $40,000 renting buses to transport supporters to the poll — and another $7,000 on golf carts to shuttle folks around the grounds.

Tags: Ames Straw Poll , Iowa

Ernst: Harkin’s Comments Show Dems Believe ‘You Can’t Be A Real Woman If You’re Conservative’



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Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst took issue with retiring Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s suggestion that her good looks are the reason for her strength in recent polling.

“I was very offended that Sen. Harkin would say that, I think it’s unfortunate that he and many in their party believe that you can’t be a real woman if you’re conservative and female,” Ernst said on Fox. ”I believe if my name had been Jon Ernst attached to my résumé, Sen. Harkin would not have said those things.”

Harkin, an elder statesmen of Iowa politics, tried to boost Representative Bruce Braley’s campaign to succeed him by saying that Ernst’s attractiveness doesn’t qualify her for the Senate.

“And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Joni Ernst. She is really attractive, and she sounds nice,’” Harkin said last week, per BuzzFeed. “Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa.” 

Ernst leads Braley by seven points in the latest Des Moines Register poll.

Tags: Joni Ernst , Tom Harkin , Iowa , Bruce Braley , 2014 Midterms

Iowa Pollster: ‘This race looks like it’s decided.’



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Good Sunday morning, Iowa voters!

Joni Ernst has charged to achieve a 7-point lead over Democrat Bruce Braley in a new Iowa Poll, which buoys the GOP’s hope that an Iowa victory will be the tipping point to a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate.

Ernst, a state senator and military leader, enjoys 51 percent support among likely voters. That’s a majority, and it’s her biggest lead in the three Iowa Polls conducted this fall. Braley, a congressman and trial lawyer, gets 44 percent, according to The Des Moines Register’s final Iowa Poll before Tuesday’s election.

“This race looks like it’s decided,” said J. Ann Selzer, who conducted the poll for the Register. “That said, there are enormous resources being applied to change all that.”

Some Republicans have been concerned about the early vote trending in favor of Democrats — a 7,000-vote lead, compared to an 18,000-vote lead four years ago, with less competitive races — and various other polls showed a close race.

For what it’s worth, the Iowa Poll’s final results have been strikingly close to the margins on Election Night the past two cycles. The final Iowa Poll in 2012 gave Obama a 5-point lead. He won by 5.2 points.

The final Iowa Poll in 2010 showed heavily favored incumbent senator Chuck Grassley head by 31 points. He won by . . . 31.3 points.

The final Iowa Poll in 2010 for the governor’s race showed Terry Branstad winning by 12 points. He won by 9.7 points.

Tags: Iowa , Bruce Braley , Joni Ernst

Condoleezza Rice Jumps Into Iowa



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Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has jumped into the Iowa Senate race, endorsing Republican state senator Joni Ernst.

“We need more leaders, like Joni, who understand America’s role abroad and the threats posed against us,” Rice said, noting that Ernst would be the first female combat veteran in the Senate.

Rice has previously backed Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, who worked in the Bush administration, in his bid to upset Senator Mark Begich (D., Alaska).

Her endorsement of Ernst comes as Republicans are trying to hammer Representative Bruce Braley (D., Iowa) over his record as a Veterans Affairs Committee member — he skipped the majority of hearings, including sessions on the VA backlogs — in the final days of the campaign.

Ernst leads Braley by four points, according to the latest poll, and by 2.1 points in the Real Clear Politics polling average.

Tags: Iowa , Joni Ernst , Condoleezza Rice

Republicans Doing Just Fine in Early Vote in N.C., Iowa, Florida



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Rmmember when the rest of the country laughed at Floridians for not being able to correctly fill out a ballot? A lot of Floridians — particularly Republicans — have gotten the early-voting part down:

More than 683,000 absentee ballots were cast as of Thursday morning, and Republicans continue to hold a solid lead over Democrats in returns, 48-35 percent.

That’s not huge news, in that Republicans typically overperform in absentee-ballot casting while Democrats do the same when it comes to early in-person voting. But Democrats have been expected to close the gap with Republicans in ballots cast. Instead, the margin has increased, to 13.7 percent.

Throw in the news from Iowa . . . 

. . . and North Carolina . . . 

. . . and it looks like reports of the Republican demise in early voting have been greatly exaggerated. Love it or hate it, early voting is a big part of the process now:

Tags: Early Voting , Iowa , North Carolina , Florida

New Ad: ‘Bruce Braley Insulted a Lot of Iowa Farmers.’



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Today Freedom Partners Action Fund unveils another ad in Iowa, hitting Democrat Bruce Braley for comments he made at a fundraiser that insulted farmers by suggesting to the donors that without his election, they might have to deal with “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school” as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. FPAF states the ad purchase is approximately $1.2 million.

Tags: Bruce Braley , Iowa , Joni Ernst

Is Joni Ernst No Longer the Underdog Candidate in Iowa?



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In addition to Colorado, Iowa is another state where the conventional wisdom may need to change. The political media treats it as a neck-and-neck race or Republican candidate Joni Ernst as a slight underdog. But this morning Quinnipiac finds her up 2, which may not sound like much, and indeed, Quinnipiac’s last poll in late September showed her ahead by 6. But she led in five of the last seven polls over Democrat Bruce Braley, and one of the other two was tied.

And note this detail in Quinnpiac: “By a 47 – 41 percent margin, Iowa likely voters have a favorable opinion of Ernst. Braley gets a split score, with 42 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.”

The favorite?

Tags: Joni Ernst , Bruce Braley , Iowa

Iowa GOP Candidate Releases Two New Ads



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Republican candidate for Iowa attorney general, Adam Gregg, has released a new radio and a new television ad for his campaign.

The television ad, “Fighting for Iowa” keeps to Gregg’s positive message of protecting “Iowa families, Iowa farmers, and our Constitutional freedoms.”

The radio spot titled “Voice” features Iowa farmer Mark Kenney who states he was “disappointed” in current Attorney General Tom Miller for refusing to join a lawsuit challenging a California law that, according to the ad, “would severely harm Iowa’s egg producers.”

Gregg is running against Democrat Tom Miller.

Tags: Iowa

Doesn’t the Panic Over the Early-Voting Totals Look Silly Now?



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Remember in late September when Democrats were giddy and Republicans were despondent over “the early-voting totals”? Even though only about 2,000 ballots had been returned in Iowa and North Carolina? Even though about 1 million votes will be cast in Iowa’s statewide races, and about 2 million in North Carolina’s? You may recall my observation, “This is kind of like that moment a half-hour or so after the polls close, when a handful of precincts have reported, and some people freak out with 1 percent of the vote counted.”

A couple weeks later, the outlook for Republicans is considerably brighter. University of Florida professor Michael McDonald tracks the data and sees Republicans rapidly making up ground and catching up with Democrats in Iowa . . . 

. . . and Republicans have now caught up in North Carolina:

This does not mean Republicans are certain to win the high-profile Senate races in these states; polling still shows an exceptionally tight race in Iowa and a slight lead for Senator Kay Hagan in North Carolina. But it confirms that it’s silly to draw a conclusion about who’s going to win based upon the registered party affiliation of the first few thousand absentee ballots returned.

Tags: Early Voting , Iowa , North Carolina

A Tiny Bit of Law-Breaking by Iowa Democrats



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Also in today’s Jolt:

A Tiny Bit of Law-Breaking by Iowa Democrats

Out in Iowa, the state Democratic party released a web video of Senator Tom Harkin filling out his early-vote ballot:


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According to this news report in Iowa, “taking photos or video of your own marked ballot is illegal in Iowa.”

The law declares: “The use of cameras, cellular telephones, pagers, or other electronic communications devices in the voting booth is prohibited.” The Iowa Democratic party may argue that because Harkin isn’t inside a voting booth, they’re in the clear. But if the law aims to prevent taking pictures of completed ballots, and it’s illegal to take picture of the ballot in the booth on Election Day . . . why is it okay to take a picture of the completed ballot for absentee voting?

Tags: Tom Harkin , Iowa , Democrats

Bruce Braley, Pants on Fire



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A sneak preview of Monday morning’s Jolt . . . 

Bruce Braley, Pants on Fire

In the Iowa Senate debate Sunday night, Republican Joni Ernst mentioned Democrat Bruce Braley’s threat to sue a neighbor over a dispute over chickens wandering into his yard: “You’re talking about bipartisanship, how do we expect, as Iowans, to believe that you will work across the aisle when you can’t walk across your yard?”

Braley’s response: “It’s just not true. I never threatened to sue anyone. It’s just not true.”

How else would one define a message demanding action to “avoid a litigious situation”?

The story of the chickens suggests the Braleys are neighbors from Hell:

This spring, Pauline Hampton’s chickens roamed onto Bruce and Carolyn Braley’s vacation property on tranquil Holiday Lake. Hampton said she did not know this until she walked over one day to offer Carolyn a dozen fresh eggs. To which she said her neighbor replied, “We aren’t going to accept your eggs — and we have filed a formal complaint against you.”

Oh, by the way, the Des Moines Register poll puts Joni Ernst up by 6 points.

Tags: Bruce Braley , Joni Ernst , Iowa

NRA Endorses GOP AG Candidate



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The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) has endorsed Iowa’s Republican Attorney General Candidate Adam Gregg in the 2014 general election.

 “We can count on Adam Gregg to stand up for our constitutional freedoms in Iowa,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA-PVF. “In clear contrast, Gregg’s opponent has earned an ‘F’ rating from the NRA for publicly supporting extreme gun control measures.  He even went so far as to join a brief in support of New York’s SAFE Act, one of the most anti-gun laws in the country.”

Gregg’s opponent, sitting Democrat attorney general Tom Miller, has been endorsed by the Iowa chapter of the AFL-CIO.

Tags: Iowa

A Quick Point About the ‘Early Voting Totals’...



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

A Quick Point About the ‘Early Voting Totals’ in Iowa and North Carolina

You’re seeing a bit of giddiness among Democrats about “the early voting numbers.”

A little perspective, please.

In Iowa, Democrats can boast 68,000 registered members of their party have requested absentee ballots, and only about 35,000 registered Republicans.

But 1,295 registered Democrats have returned an absentee ballot; 1,129 registered Republicans have done the same.

For perspective, in the last midterm election Senate race in Iowa in 2010,  Iowans cast more than 1.1 million votes.

In North Carolina, 2,236 ballots have been returned. 44.7 percent registered Democrats, 35.6 percent registered Republicans. Back in 2010, 2.6 million votes were cast.

This is kind of like that moment a half-hour or so after the polls close, when a handful of precincts have reported, and some people freak out with 1 percent of the vote counted.

Would Republicans prefer to be ahead in this very early indicator? Sure. But it’s a waste of brain cells to spend time worrying about the early vote totals on the first couple days.

Tags: Iowa , North Carolina , Early Voting

New Poll Puts GOP’s Ernst Ahead in Iowa, 50–44



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Remember when I said Republicans should be a bit more concerned about the Senate race in Iowa? Never mind, apparently:

Neutralizing the traditional Democratic lead among women voters, Republican State Sen. Joni Ernst leads U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democrat, 50 – 44 percent among likely voters in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin in Iowa, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Ernst leads among men 56 – 39 percent, while Braley leads among women by a smaller 50 – 44 percent margin, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. This survey of likely voters can not be compared with earlier surveys of registered voters.

That likely-voter screen is a real pain for Democrats, huh?

Cheer up, Congressman Braley. Ernst’s hog had a worse morning.

Tags: Joni Ernst , Bruce Braley , Iowa

Adam Gregg Releases First TV Ad



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Iowa attorney general candidate Adam Gregg’s first television ad of the campaign, “Fighting for Iowa,” has him touting his “passion and the energy to fight every single day or Iowa families, Iowa farmers, and our Constitutional freedoms.”

Gregg, a Republican, is facing Democrat Tom Miller, the longest serving attorney general in the country.

Gregg has criticized Miller for accepting campaign contributions from lawyers in the finance, insurance and real estate industries during a time when Miller was actively investigating their role in possible improper foreclosure practices.

Gregg has the support of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad who is polling more than 20 points ahead of his opponent in his reelection campaign.

Tags: Iowa

Iowa Republicans: We’re Happy With the Senate Polls



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The Republican party of Iowa e-mails:

CNN: GOP Remains Happy About Iowa

CNN’S JOHN KING: “There’s a big senate race, Tom Harkin, the senator hosting the steak fry, he’s retiring. In the race to succeed him, another brand new poll that we are releasing now. Look at this dead heat. Bruce Braley is the Democrat, he’s a congressman. You see him on the right of your screen there, 49 percent. Joni Ernst, 48 percent the Republican candidate. If you are the Republicans, you are happy here, because Iowa is a blue state. President Obama carried it comfortably twice and you have a dead heat in Iowa. Republicans slightly ahead in some of the red states that has to be a cause of concern.”

THE WASHINGTON POST’S JACKIE KUCINICH: “Well, Joni Ernst came out very strong from a five-way primary and I think it’s helped her and Bruce Braley has suffered from some unforced errors, with his comments about Grassley not being a lawyer. Right now if you look at the number this is a fight over the middle. Democrats are voting for Bruce Braley and Republicans are voting for Joni Ernst. It’s that middle they’ll be fighting for and it’s a very soft middle, because they don’t know where they’re going to go yet.”

CNN’S JOHN KING: “Do these numbers shock you? This was the state that launched President Obama, we’ve been making little jokes about it, but this is where he beat Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. It was his launching ground into the national politics. Look at the president’s approval rating right now in Iowa: 37 percent approve and 56 percent disapprove. Again in a normal midterm year that would tell me if that number holds and that race is still that close on Election Day, that tells me the Republican is going to win because of voter intensity and the anti-president sentiment.” (CNN, Inside Politics, 09/12/14)

“If you’re a Republican, you’re happy here.” Ernst is keeping it close, sure. But if she loses a close one — a distinct possibility — then no, Republicans won’t be so happy on Election Night. Note that the race is tied, or a slight Braley lead, with the president’s approval rating so abysmal in Iowa. Braley is running 12 percentage points ahead of Obama’s approval rating.

Tags: Iowa , Republicans , Joni Ernst , Bruce Braley

Morning AG Roundup



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Wisconsin AG candidate Democrat Susan Happ is under fire for a plea deal her office made with a defendant accused of child sexual assault. Records show Happ sold Daniel Reynolds property prior to his being charged with first and second-degree sexual assaults of a child. Reynolds agreed to plead guilty to single reduced charge of disorderly conduct, stipulating to requirements including no trouble with the law for 12 months.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, has filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals which would allow him to enforce a provision in a new state law requiring all abortion clinics to meet the same safety standards as ambulatory surgery centers. A federal judge last week threw out the provision. “Abbott criticized Yeakel in his motion to the appellate court, saying the district judge ‘failed even to mention (much less follow) precedent’ from the appellate court and U.S. Supreme Court,” reports the Houston Chronicle.

Michigan’s Republican AG Bill Schuette has joined with Gov. Rick Snyder to remind Saginaw voters state law takes precedence over a proposed city ordinance decriminalizing marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, but recreational use or possession is still a criminal offense.

Iowa GOP attorney general candidate Adam Gregg has received the endorsement of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

Tags: Wisconsin , Texas , Michigan , Iowa

Morning AG Roundup



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New Mexico attorney general candidate Susan Riedel is making her case to voters with an op-ed in today’s Albuquerque Journal.

Wisconsin attorney general candidate Brad Schimel took to the airwaves in a detailed, televised interview to discuss why voters should elect him.

Adam Gregg, Iowa’s GOP attorney general candidate is zeroing in on the growing cyber-crime epidemic.

New York AG candidate, John Cahill, is continuing to call out sitting Attorney General, Democrat Eric Schneiderman, for accepting campaign contribution from groups and individuals under subpoena from his office.

Tags: New Mexico , Wisconsin , Iowa , New York

Morning AG Roundup



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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is leading his Democrat opponent, Mark Trotten, 40 to 34 percent a newly released poll shows.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office is being investigated for the management of grant money distributed from of the Crime Victim Assistance Division.

Texas GOP candidate Ken Paxton, running to fill the AG seat vacated by Greg Abbott, has racked up another significant law enforcement endorsement.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is far outpacing his challenger, Democrat David Pepper, maintaining a 29-point lead according to internal polling from the Ohio GOP.

A rundown of the primary win challenger Mark Brnovich pulled out over current GOP Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne notes that despite outspending Brnovich, the charges against Horne and investigations into alleged misconduct proved too much for him to hang on.

John Cahill, GOP challenger to sitting New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, blasted his opponent yesterday for accepting campaign contributions from law firms currently under investigation by the AG’s office.

Tags: Michigan , Iowa , Texas , Ohio , Arizona , New York

Ice Buckets in Iowa



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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken over the Internet in recent weeks and has now made its way into the race for Iowa attorney general.

Republican candidate Adam Gregg nominated his opponent, incumbent Attorney General Tom Miller, to either dump a bucket of ice-cold water on his head or donate $100 to the ALS Association, which raises money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — research and helps provide funding for patient assistance and services.

Because it has become common practice for participants to both subject themselves to the freezing water and donate to the cause, the ALS Associate has reported raising more than $22 million since July 29. (Some pro-life leaders have raised concerns over their funding of embryonic stem-cell research.)

In response to Gregg’s nomination, Miller responded, posting to his Facebook page, “Thanks for the nomination Adam Gregg for Iowa Attorney General, but we opted to go with ‘or’ in the #icebucketchallenge and donated to the cause.”

Looks like we won’t be seeing the Iowa attorney general’s name added to the growing list of elected officials who have participated in the viral trend.

Reacting to the post, Gregg replied, “I guess his bucket of ice will have to come from Iowa voters in November.”

Tags: Iowa

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