Theresa Greenfield (D-IA)
Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Project Guardrail: Iowa 2020 Theresa Greenfield vs Joni Ernst
Fresh off a four-way primary race that drew millions in outside spending, Democrat Theresa Greenfield leads Republican Sen. Joni Ernst by 3 percentage points in Iowa’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race, a new September 20th Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows.
“This is definitely a competitive race,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. She said the poll contains other “warning signs” for Ernst and noted that this is the first Iowa Poll conducted since Ernst first ran in 2014 in which she has trailed her general election opponent.
Democrats need to win a net of three seats to tie the Senate (control would depend on who wins the White House — the vice president determines a 50-50 split) or four seats to take it outright. The party has very promising pick-up opportunities in Colorado and Arizona. Democrats have a tough seat to defend in Alabama.
Should Democrats retake the seat that Tom Harkin once held, there’s a good chance it will be the final piece to a Democratic majority.
We are all in for Theresa Greenfield!
Key Target Counties:
Iowa Senate Election
How we beat Joni Ernst: remember Tom Harkin?
Greenfield has her work cut out for her. Joni Ernst is a darling of a formidable Iowa GOP, and is proving to be a shrewd campaigner, willing to distance herself from Donald Trump when necessary. A successful Iowa strategy will build on those gains, focusing on at least the following areas:
First, Iowa has "no excuse mail-in voting" election which provides Democrats ample opportunity to run up the score with an aggressive absentee and vote-by-mail program targeting liberal strongholds like Johnson County as well as building on gains Democrats made in 2018 across the state.
Second, Democrats need to maximize turnout among voters of color and suburban women in Iowa City and the Des Moines metro area, in particular.
Third, 2018 showed signs of a resurgence of support in rural farm communities located in areas like Worth, Mitchel, and Howard counties. These communities once reliably voted for Democrats like Tom Harkin and have been hit hard by the economic recession. Greenfield needs to build on those gains.
Finally, Democrats need to persuade a significant share of 2016 third-party voters who voted in 2018. Especially, targeting those living in areas with substantial populations like Scott, Linn, Clinton, and Dubuque County.
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Joni Ernst has a dangerous record on healthcare for Medicaid expanded Iowa, voting to end coverage for 187,000 Iowans, including thousands of farmers and ranchers at a time when they need the help most.