Tags: | Iowa | Senate | Joni Ernst | Bruce Braley

Iowa Senate: Cash-Flush Joni Ernst Takes 6-Point Lead on Braley

By    |   Friday, 10 Oct 2014 12:26 PM

Just as poll numbers are starting to swing Republican Joni Ernst's way in the Iowa Senate race, the Ernst campaign has announced that she raised a whopping $6.01 million in the third quarter, more than double the amount raised by her Democratic opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley.

The race, which had been close in polls, is beginning to open up, with the Des Moines Register now awarding Ernst a 6-point lead in the race, at 44 to 38 percent. Other polls are likewise showing Ernst beginning to pull ahead.

Braley, in the third quarter, gathered in $2.8 million in a race both parties consider crucial in deciding who will control the U.S. Senate after the November midterms.

Ernst's campaign noted she intends to spend $5.71 million of the windfall on her Senate campaign and $302,000 to retire her primary debt. The new income adds to the $3.2 million the campaign already has on hand.

"I'm incredibly thankful for the substantial outpouring of support," Ernst, a state senator and National Guard lieutenant colonel, said on her website. "People are joining our campaign because they know the status quo in Washington isn't working. As we enter the final stretch, we have the momentum we need to take the Iowa way to Washington."

The campaign noted that Ernst has received donations from each of Iowa's 99 counties and the average donation was $195, with 86 percent of donations under $200.

Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics wrote, "We have long thought that Ernst's folksiness could pay off here if Democratic attacks on some of the more conservative parts of her rhetoric and record did not pan out. With a month to go, she seems to be staying out of trouble, and the Republican lean of this year's midterm combined with Braley's much-derided campaign suggests to us that Ernst really is leading here. We're moving the Iowa Senate race from 'Toss-up' to 'Leans Republican.'

"Very interesting, and good news not just for Ernst but also for the GOP's chances of taking the U.S. Senate."

The RealClearPolitics round-up of polls gives Ernst an average 1.5 percent lead over Braley.

Political consultant Frank Luntz  told the Des Moines Register, "Iowa is a slightly more Democratic state, so all else being equal, Braley would have the advantage. But all else is not equal, and the fact is he committed probably the worst blunder of the entire Senate campaign by criticizing Chuck Grassley and making fun of farmers."

Braley slammed popular six-term U.S. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, calling him, "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school," and later apologized, but the gaffe cost him dearly, Politico reported.

"The reason Braley is getting all the attention is that Iowa was in the safe Democrat column for the Senate. It's his to lose," Steffen Schmidt, a political analyst at Iowa State University, told the DesMoines Register.

"Ernst has gone from 'Joni who?' to beating Braley, which is quite an achievement."

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Just as poll numbers are starting to swing Republican Joni Ernst's way in the Iowa Senate race, the Ernst campaign has announced that she raised $6 million in the third quarter, more than double the amount raised by her Democratic opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley.
Iowa, Senate, Joni Ernst, Bruce Braley
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2014-26-10
Friday, 10 Oct 2014 12:26 PM
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