Iowa GOP Senate Primary Race Intensifies

Image: Iowa GOP Senate Primary Race Intensifies Iowa Republican senatorial candidates, from left, State Sen. Joni Ernst, retired CEO Mark Jacobs, Urbandale businessman Scott Schaben, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and college professor Sam Clovis.

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 07:21 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The Iowa GOP Senate primary race has intensified, Politico reported.

The American Heartland super PAC will place commercials charging Iowa Republican senatorial candidate Mark Jacobs with running "in the wrong state and the wrong party,"  according to the political news website. The Jacobs camp has shot back that "faceless D.C. special interests" were trying to undermine a "political outsider and a proven business leader."

Jacobs, a former Wall Street and Texas energy industry executive, is spending his own money running in the June 3 primary against Joni Ernst, a state senator and lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. Five Republicans are vying for the GOP nomination for the open seat of retiring Democrat Tom Harkin. Rep. Bruce Braley, endorsed by Harkin, is the presumptive Democratic nominee.

The new commercial claims that the "Texas millionaire" does not really belong in Iowa or in the Republican Party.

"Mark Jacobs spent his time advocating for Barack Obama's liberal cap-and-trade scheme and his fortune supporting Democrat politicians like Jon Corzine and Arlen Specter," the American Heartland ad says. "Now, Mark Jacobs is running here as a Republican, spending millions to buy himself a brand-new set of Iowa vales."

Brian Dumas, campaign manager for Jacobs, said in a statement, "Mark Jacobs does not support cap-and-trade legislation. He understands how bad it is for families and businesses and would not support such legislation in the U.S. Senate. The vast majority of Mark's political contributions — over 90 percent — have gone to Republicans, as well."

Jacobs has previously said that when he worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. he contributed to Corzine's campaign for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey because Corzine was a former CEO of the investment bank. Similarly, his support of cap and trade represented the stance of the company not his own policy views, Politico reported.

An American Heartland-backed poll shows Ernst ahead of Jacobs, 33 percent to 23 percent. Radio host Sam Clovis is in third place with 14 percent. Ernst is doing well in the Des Moines area though trailing Jacobs in the Davenport region. Clovis is strong in his Sioux City base.

The poll was conducted on April 30 and May 1 and has a 4.4 percentage point margin of error, according to Politico. If no candidate gets 35 percent of the primary vote, a convention will decide the nomination, Politico said.

Meanwhile, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio announced he was endorsing Ernst in the race. She also has the support of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, according to The Des Moines Register.

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