The race for the U.S. Senate seat in Iowa will be a tossup until Election Day, conservative pollster Matt Towery and Democratic strategist Joe Lestingi agreed Tuesday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV
While Iowa State Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican, has pulled ahead of Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in recent polls, the men said it will remain too close to call. The race has been a dead-heat for months.
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"The problem is in the state right now there's a war being waged and the message for each candidate … is very strong so … in the end is which do you dislike more?" according to Lestingi. "Do you dislike someone who has these strong right wing roots or an incumbent congressman that's a Democrat? And they both are going to be, it's going to be a war of attrition and the first one that messes up is going to be the one that loses and that's what they're going to do for the rest of this campaign is try not to screw up too much."
Ernst, who is a farmer, a mother, and a soldier, debated Braley Sunday night in a hard fought war of words. Braley repeatedly attacked Ernst for having ties to the wealthy conservative billionaire Koch brothers
while she hammered Braley for an inability to work across the aisle, and fired back about his connection to billionaire "radical environmentalist" Tom Steyer.
"They both had really good jabs at each other and in the end they drew a draw on this one," Lestingi said. "They both sort of, while mentioning who was funding each other, both said you need to run against me, but they both attacked the other person's funders. The biggest thing here was don't make a gaffe and neither one of them made big gaffes. So it was a pretty – they drew a draw on that one."
He noted that Ernst has galvanized conservative men, something he characterized as a "Sarah Palin effect."
In Colorado, Democrats started off strong but are flailing, according to Towery
"For whatever reason things have just started to drift apart and away from the Democrats in this particular state," Towery said. "Colorado as I said earlier should be a Democratic pick-up, it should be a Democratic state in which [Sen. Mark] Udall would prevail and hold onto his seat, but I see this one as one that could potentially drift over to the Republican side.
Rep. Cory Gardener, a Republican, has recently pulled ahead of Udall in polls
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