Nothing signals that Election Day is near like when you start talking about the final debate between two candidates. Republican State Senator Joni Ernst and Democrat Congressman Bruce Braley will debate for a final time tonight in Sioux City. Ernst easily won the first meeting of the candidates, but Braley responded by winning the second debate in Davenport last weekend.
Both candidates have now seen each other at their best, so the third and final debate will likely been a barnburner. Even though Ernst and Braley would love nothing more than to beat the other up, they shouldn’t forget that coming off as a reasonable and likeable person is also incredibly important.
Ernst should have a friendly crowd with the debate being in northwest Iowa, but that also could invite a questioning on social issues like gay marriage and abortion. With the “Standing for the American Family” bus tour by the Family Research Council and The FAMiLY Leader concluding in Sioux City tomorrow, I’d be shocked if there is a not some discussion on those issues.
Steve Siegel is a Disgusting Democrat
There are 3,000 more registered Democrats in the Senate District represented by State Senator Mark Chelgren than Republicans. Needless to say, he’s in the midst of a difficult re-election campaign. Chelgren’s opponent this year is Wapello County Supervisor Steve Siegel.
Siegel finds himself in hot water after Chelgren used Siegel’s responses to a 2010 constituent survey in recent campaign advertisements. In 2010, Siegel responded to a question that asked whether he was pro-life, pro-choice, or undecided on the issue of abortion. Siegel, who held elected office at the time, responded, “Kill them all & let God sort it out.”
Not only does Chelgren’s ads about Siegel clearly show how little he values life, but it shows what type of person he really is. I thought Chelgren’s comments about the statement that appeared in the Ottumwa newspaper were excellent.
“When you look at this decision by Steve Siegel to send this information, whether you believe his responses or not, what you really have to question is his decision making capabilities. I think it was a poor choice on his part to send the information and if it’s truly how he believes, I’m disappointed,” said Sen. Chelgren.
“I have no idea why he said the things that he did, but as somebody who lives in Wapello County I was quite disappointed that my county supervisor would respond in that way,” said Chelgren. “He trivialized the issue by saying, ‘Kill them all and let God sort it out,’ I don’t think that he gets how important that this issue is to people; whichever side of the political spectrum they are from.”
Polls, Polls, Polls
There has been no shortage of U.S Senate polls. It seems like there is new polling being released everyday. Lately the Des Moines Register has been releasing different polls in conjunction with different partners. There goes the credibility of their vaunted “Iowa Poll.”
USA Today/Suffolk – 47 Ernst, 43 Braley – Ernst +4
Quinnipiac – 47 Ernst, 45 Braley – Ernst +2
Rasmussen – 48 Ernst, 45 Braley – Ernst +3
Des Moines Register – 47 Ernst, 46 Braley – Ernst +1
Here is my thought on all these polls:
1. We all know this is going to be a close race, but it’s a good sign for Ernst that she repeatedly leads in the polls regardless of who conducts the poll.
2. Braley has only led in five polls during the general election, Ernst has now led eleven.
3. If I were Braley, I’d be nervous seeing Ernst consistently come in at 47 or 48 percent. There is no margin for error if Braley wants to pass Ernst in the polls in the final weeks of the campaign.
4. Recent polls have shown that Ernst has a positive favorable/unfavorable rating, while Braley is under water. It’s amazing how well Ernst has withstood the onslaught of negative ads that Democrats have run against her. It’s also clear that Braley’s repeated gaffes continue to dog him, plus he’s just not a likeable person.
Money, Money, Money
First Congressional District
Rod Blum – Republican
$244,345.55 spent in last three months.
$226,842.20 cash on hand.
Blum has loaned his campaign $100,000. The First District race is getting a lot of late action. Blum has a real chance, and he is probably running the best congressional campaign in the state. His campaign team is excellent, and there is always a ton of activity.
Pat Murphy – Democrat
$309,071.72 spent in last three months.
$179,414.06 cash on hand.
Second Congressional District
Mariannette Miller-Meeks – Republican
$498,917.66 spent in last three months.
$142,088.80 cash on hand.
Miller-Meeks is a excellent candidate, but running against an incumbent is always difficult. As I watched her debate Loebsack last Saturday two things came to mind. First, Miller-Meeks has made Loebsack a much better politician. Her campaigns against him in 2008 and 2010 really made his raise his game. Second, if Miller-Meeks were the incumbent, I don’t think Loebsack would have what it takes to unseat her. Unfortunately, Loebsack is the incumbent, and he is going to be difficult to knock off.
Dave Loebsack – Democrat Incumbent
$478,426.98 spent in last three months.
$604,427.80 cash on hand.
Third Congressional District
David Young – Republican
$591,410.54 spent in the past three months.
$295,193.91 cash on hand.
Staci Appel – Democrat
$947,648.54 spent in the last three months.
$369,055.22 cash on hand.
Appel is outspending Young by a substantial amount, and her TV ads do a good job of making her come across as a likeable and normal individual. The NRCC has spent a lot of money on this race, which means Young’s still in it. Early voting numbers look good for Republicans in the district, so if Young can keep the air wars competitive, he can hold on to this seat for Republicans.
Fourth Congressional District
Steve King – Republican Incumbent
$302,770.63 spent in the past three months.
$736,871.19 cash on hand.
Jim Mowrer – Democrat
$1,070,317.16 spent in past three months.
$242,752.09 cash on hand.
Mowrer continues to be a good fundraiser, however the number to look at in the Fourth District is the difference between how much they spent, not how much they raised. No congressional candidate in Iowa has spent more than Mowrer, yet the NDCC decided to cut bait on the race last week. King might not be a prolific fundraiser, but he campaigns hard and represents the most Republican district in the state. Democrats have thrown everything they’ve got at this guy, and you know what? He will still be standing after Election Day.