The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll is one of the final pieces of information that caucus voters use to help make their final decision in determining who they will support on caucus night. It’s not that Iowans look to one singular poll on which to base their support, but viability and momentum can be persuasive in the final days of a campaign.
For those looking for the Iowa Poll to give us a new perspective on the race, it didn’t deliver. Instead, the poll basically confirmed what we have been seeing in all the recent polls of Iowa. The last six Iowa polls in the Real Clear Politics polling average all give Donald Trump a four to eight point lead over Ted Cruz.
Those same polls show Marco Rubio hovering between 11 and 18 points. The Register had Rubio at 15. Dr. Ben Carson garnered a respectable 10 percent in the Register Poll, which is also inline with what we have been seeing, but also suggests that maybe low single digits is his floor. Besides Rand Paul at five percent, the rest of the field polls at either two or three percent.
The poll confirms what we have been seeing in Iowa for most of the month of January, that this is a two-person race between Trump and Cruz. Despite favorable reviews, a heavy paid media campaign, and a more aggressive campaign schedule, Rubio continues to struggle to break through the 15 to 18 point barrier he’s been at for the past two months.
Rubio is still someone to keep an eye on. With Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Carly Fiorina at three percent or less in the poll, Rubio could still surprise on caucus night if supporters of those candidates opt to jump ship and back the more viable establishment candidate in Rubio. Still, the chatter surrounding the candidate in the past few days was that he was finally showing some serious momentum, and thus we could be looking at a real battle for second place, or better yet, a three-way battle at the top.
Four years ago, the Register’s Iowa Poll showed Santorum with a lot of late momentum. Not only was it exciting, but with the caucuses held on a Tuesday that year, he had more time to feed off the excitement before people went to caucus. This year, with the caucuses being on Monday, and no big mover in the poll, what we see is probably what we get, so long as those Trump supporters turn out on Monday night.
Like most Iowans, my mailbox is stuffed on a daily basis with campaign mail. I’ve accumulated a whole box of it all. If you were judging the Republican race solely based on the activity your mailbox has received, then Jeb Bush should win the caucuses going away. Seriously, it’s not even close.
In addition to promoting Bush, the pro-Bush Super PAC Right to Rise is busy attacking essentially anything with a pulse. In addition to attacking Marco Rubio, the group has also attacked Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and recently has started going after Chris Christie. Ironically the candidates with the lightest presence in my mailbox are the two candidates at the top of the polls Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
The Trump campaign has mailed a Christmas card and a letter, while some of the pro-Cruz Super PACs, Keep the Promise 1 and Keep the Promise 3, have just started to send mail. The Cruz presence in my mailbox is much different than what was featured in Fox News Sunday’s Power Player of the week segment that featured Cruz’s campaign manager Jeff Roe.
The Fox News segment also highlighted the Cruz campaign’s use of psychographic targeting, which means it collects data on voters and then sends them targeted messages based on that data. Yet in Iowa, I’ve yet to see this sort of micotargeted mail from the Cruz campaign. In fact, the latest piece from the Keep the Promise 3 is a classic case of poor message discipline.
The card starts out stating, “Ted Cruz is the only consistent conservative who has done exactly what he says he will do.” There is nothing wrong with that statement. Then the card rattles off his accomplishments.
Campaigned Against Obamacare.
Campaigned on a Pro-Second Amendment Platform.
Campaigned Against Amnesty for Illegal Aliens.
Campaigned for American Strength and Sovereignty.
Then the piece quotes Cruz from a Dallas Morning News article saying, “People are tired of campaign conservatives.” An odd quote to use considering they used the word “campaigned” four times to tout Cruz’s achievements.
Perhaps the Cruz effort in Iowa is more substantial than what my mailbox indicates. The Fox News piece indicates that the Cruz campaign is playing chess while others play checkers. I guess we will find out on caucus night.
“Four months ago, at the very first debate, I said that any candidate who did not understand that we need more American troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria to defeat ISIL was not ready to be commander in chief,” said Graham. “At that time, no one stepped forward to join me. Today, most of my fellow candidates have come to recognize this is what’s needed.”
However, instead of reporting on Obamacare accurately, at least one local TV station plagiarized their news story on today’s enrollment deadline STRAIGHT from Healthcare.gov and other government mouthpieces.
From WHO: “Coverage could be more affordable than most think. About eight out of 10 people who enroll in health coverage through HealthCare.gov qualify for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. Most people can find plans with premiums for less than $75 a month after tax credits.”
From Healthcare.gov: “This year, 8 out of 10 people who enroll in health coverage through HealthCare.gov qualify for savings that lower the cost of their monthly premiums. In fact, most people can find plans with premiums for less than $75 a month after tax credits.”
From WHO: “Getting covered is easier than ever. Every year HealthCare.gov finds new ways to make signing up simpler. You can even apply on your tablet. During the last open enrollment period, it took most people about 10 minutes to submit an application.”
From Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: “ Every year HealthCare.gov finds new ways to make signing-up simpler. You can even apply on your smart-phone. During the last open enrollment period, it took most people about 10 minutes to submit an application.”
For months, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise and increase its proposed volume obligations for renewable biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014, 2015 and 2016. After hearing from Grassley and other senators, the EPA released a final rule today that improves the volume requirements over its last proposal but still underestimates the capacity for farmers and ethanol and biodiesel producers to generate enough renewable fuel to meet higher goals. Grassley made the following comment on the final rule.
“This rule is a slight improvement but it still sells biofuels short. The EPA just doesn’t appreciate that farmers and biofuels producers can generate enough renewable fuels to meet the goals set by Congress. The EPA doesn’t seem to appreciate that the law on the books requires strong biofuels targets and that consumers like the chance to use alternate fuels. Instead, the EPA took a flawed approach that seems to buy into Big Oil’s rhetoric. The new rule is not only more than two years late, but it also sets back the development of next generation biofuels. This rule undermines the efforts to commercialize the next generation of biofuels. It’s unfortunate that this Administration, which claims to be for renewable and clean energy, would stand in the way of the production and use of more renewable fuels.”
Branstad, Reynolds release statement on EPA’s final Renewable Fuel Standard rule
(DES MOINES)– Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today released statements upon learning of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligation levels for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“I am extremely disappointed that the EPA’s final decision failed to follow the renewable volume levels set by Congress,” said Branstad. “Unfortunately, today’s decision shows the lack of interest in providing consumers choice at the pump, creating jobs and increasing incomes in Rural America, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This rule falls far too short of a robust RFS and short of the standards set by Congress.”
“This entire process has negatively impacted Iowa families through reduced commodity prices, farm incomes, and farmland values,” said Reynolds. “We were hopeful that the EPA would fully recognize the importance of renewable fuels after years of regulatory uncertainty. However, the EPA’s decision only marginally improves volume levels in a step that will hurt Iowa families, businesses, and farmers.”
The State of Iowa has supported both the production and use of biofuels, including renewable fuel infrastructure development through the Fueling Our Future Program and the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, to ensure that consumers have true choices at the pump.
Branstad and Reynolds have been engaged in calling for a strong and robust Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) over the past two years.
Highlights of Iowa leaders’ engagement on the RFS include:
State and Federal elected officials, including Gov. Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, participated in a “Defend the RFS” event.
Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Secretary Bill Northey and the entire Iowa congressional delegation sent a joint letter to Federal leadersadvocating for the many benefits that flow from the RFS.
Gov. Terry Branstad and Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) penned an op-ed in support of a strong Renewable Fuel Standard.
Gov. Terry Branstad brought together a bipartisan group of six governors to sign on to a letter to President Barack Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing their support for a strong RFS.
Leaders from across the Midwest joined Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds for their “Hearing in Heartland,” which was open to all interested citizens; 83 panelists from across the Midwest Region spoke from the heart about the importance of the RFS to their livelihoods and a healthy rural economy while only two individuals expressed opposition to a robust RFS.
State of Iowa leaders submitted formal comments to the EPA with current data and analysis that provides Federal leaders the opportunity and obligation to revise their initial volume obligations upward.
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds underscored the importance of the RFS at the grand opening of Dupont’s cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa in October.
IOWA FARM BUREAU DISAPPOINTED BY JUST-ANNOUNCED ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY BIOFUEL TARGETS
Farm Leaders Equate Ruling to a ‘Win’ for Big Oil, at the Expense of the American Farmer
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – November 30, 2015 – The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Iowa’s largest grassroots general farm organization, expressed disappointment in the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) just announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The long-awaited and overdue 2014, 2015 and 2016 targets are years behind schedule and fall short of the agreed-upon levels farmers anticipated. “While an increase of biofuels from the original proposed rule is welcome news, the simple truth is, this falls far short of promises made to Iowa farmers by Congress in 2007. We know the EPA is using a flawed methodology to calculate the biofuels targets, which amounts to a win for Big Oil,” says IFBF President Craig Hill. “What’s worse is this makes it apparent that the EPA under this administration is continuing its pattern of ignoring and violating Congressional intent, at the detriment of farmers and our economy, which is especially troubling in Iowa, where one out of every five jobs comes from agriculture.”
Critics have long argued that lowered RFS/RVO targets translate to a boom for Big Oil, because the industry stalled on distribution solutions which were carefully spelled out in the Energy and Independent Security Act (EISA) passed by the President and Congress in 2007. “Production is there; the technology and innovation to grow biofuels is there, but once again, the EPA continues to disappoint the American farmer,” says Hill, a longtime corn, soybean and livestock farmer. “Just know that IFBF’s support for innovation and energy independence is steadfast. Our work continues.”
Santorum responds to Obama’s biofuels ruling
VERONA, PA – Republican presidential candidate, and proud supporter of the Renewable Fuels Standard, Rick Santorum (R-PA) issued the following statement in response to the Obama Administration’s regulatory overreach targeted at the biofuels industry.
Rick Santorum said: “Today’s decision by the Obama Administration is yet another example of this President using his regulatory power to ignore a clear congressional mandate, and break the law in the process. Let’s be clear, President Obama does not have the authority to change a congressional mandate. I support the ethanol and biofuels industry and stand by the mandate remaining the same because of the importance of supporting domestically produced energy. But regardless of what someone thinks of the RFS, conservatives and all Americans alike, should not stand by this President’s continued abuse of power.”
King Comments on Final RFS Volume Requirements
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Steve King released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the final volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2014 through 2016:
Got $2,700 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, Hillary Clinton’s campaign would love to take it off your hands. Susan and Bill Knapp are hosting a fundraiser for Clinton’s campaign on December 9th at their home in Van Meter. Below is the email invite for the event.
Senator Ted Cruz landed a coveted Iowa endorsement on Monday when Congressman Steve King, the conservative standard bearer, backed the Texas Senator’s presidential bid. King’s endorsement of Cruz should come as no surprise. Both are firebrands who, at times, take slings and arrows from members of their own party. They also don’t mind returning the favor.
Beyond the fact that the two are cast from the same ideological mold, King’s endorsement was also somewhat telegraphed. King’s son, Jeff, signed on a to one of the pro-Cruz Super PACs back in July, and the Cruz campaign has publically stated that they would be shocked if King didn’t endorse. King also took the stage at Cruz’s religious freedom rally in August and an earlier rally following the disappointing Supreme Court decisions this past June. Still, King’s endorsement of a presidential candidate is like a conservative seal of approval for a candidate, but in this instance, a candidate like Cruz probably didn’t need someone to certify that he’s a conservative.
What does Cruz get from a King endorsement?
If there is one endorsement that really carries weight in Iowa, it’s King’s. Not only is he the most outspoken conservative high-profile elected official in the state, but King will actually want to be integrally involved in the campaign he’s endorsing. This was noticeable the last time he endorsed a presidential candidate in 2008. King’s choice that year was former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson. The knock on Thompson was that he wasn’t all that into retail campaigning, but once King got involved, he energized the campaign.
Thompson would go on to finish third in Iowa in the 2008 caucuses, but had it not been for King, Thompson would have surely finished behind John McCain, who finished a close fourth. Part of King’s calculus that year was to halt McCain’s comeback, and keeping him out of the top three in Iowa was an accomplishment, but McCain was still able to overpower the field in New Hampshire.
The Cruz campaign should know how to best utilize King. Cruz’s Iowa campaign manager is Bryan English, who was a congressional staffer for King in Iowa in 2008. Trust me, King and Cruz are going to be attached at the hip when the candidate is in Iowa. One knock on Cruz is that he doesn’t meet people all that well, so having someone like King who has spent years getting to know the GOP faithful from every corner of the state should help Cruz over come one of his main weaknesses.
What does this tell us about King?
Iowa activists are often branded by who they support in presidential campaigns. For example, I’ll probably be a “Forbes guy” until the day I die or choose to work for another presidential candidate. This is only the second time that King, as a member of Congress, has endorsed a presidential candidate in a contested caucus campaign. It’s important to note that in endorsing Thompson and Cruz, King has forgone endorsing some of the more socially conservative candidates and instead backed two 10th Amendment state rights advocates.
King’s endorsements also give us an indication of how he ranks the importance of issues. In the past, two factors – a candidate’s position on immigration policy and their ability to win the Republican nomination for president – have weighed heavily on King’s decision-making process. In recent cycles, King has opted not endorse his personal friends and colleagues Tom Tancredo and Michele Bachmann, despite being in lock-step with them on most issues.
Even though a candidate like Mike Huckabee has been the only presidential candidate in history to champion the FairTAX, a proposal King passionately supports, Huckabee has never really been under consideration for getting King’s support. King also lines up with Rick Santorum on virtually every issue, yet King refused to endorse Santorum’s candidacy because he valued the friendships of the other candidates in the race in 2012.
King is at odds with Cruz at least two critical issues.
King’s number one issue is immigration, and he takes a very strict conservative approach to the issue. In fact, last week, King described amnesty to Fox News contributor Brit Hume saying, “Any reduced penalty not provided by current law is amnesty whether it’s a million dollar fine or a dollar.” This puts King at odds with Cruz’s 2013 amendment to the Gang of Eight bill because, while it eliminated a pathway to citizenship, it still granted undocumented immigrants RPI (Registered Provisional Immigrant) status, and they would eventually be eligible for LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) status under Cruz’s proposal.
At his press conference in Des Moines on Monday morning, TheIowaRepublican.com pressed King on this issue. King said that he was aware of Cruz’s amendment while it happening and that he didn’t have any problem with it. King believes Cruz’s motives where to “pry out” the main priorities of the Gang of Eight bill, namely the pathway to citizenship.
King also noted that he was pleased with the immigration proposal the Cruz campaign released last week after coming under fire for the amendment he proposed to the Gang of Eight bill back in 2013. When TheIowaRepublican.com pointed out that Cruz’s proposal doesn’t mention anything about what he would do with the undocumented immigrants already in the country, King said he is confident that he and Cruz are on the same page when it comes to amnesty.
King is clearly giving Cruz the benefit of the doubt, because if you go back and watch or read how Cruz advocated for his amendment, it’s pretty clear to see that instead of inserting a poison pill to derail the bill, it sure looked like he was attempting to find a compromise solution.
Two weeks later, King endorsed a candidate who is probably the biggest threat to the RFS of all the candidates, Republican or Democrat, running for president. There is little doubt, that if Cruz is president, there will not be a continuation of the RFS, and he probably would end it before it’s set to expire like the Obama administration has attempted to do in recent years.
King’s all in for Cruz, but he better hope Cruz returns the favor.
King has benefited greatly from all the candidates who have sought his endorsement for the past eight years. When he calls, candidates agree to headline fundraising events or participate in whatever event King is involved in. Doing so is mutually beneficial, but it’s not just the conservative candidates that have come to King’s aide.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie traveled to Iowa to headline an early fundraising event when King was being challenged by former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack for his Fourth District Congressional Seat. Donald Trump also headlined an event for King before his 2014 re-election, another campaign where King was being outspent by his Democrat opponent.
King represents the most Republican-leaning district in the state, and he has easily withstood the Democrats’ general election challenges in recent years, but King doesn’t make things easy for himself. As of September 30th, King had just $128,000 in the bank, and that’s after raising $123,000 for the quarter. King’s endorsement of Cruz seems like a no-brainer if you over-look Cruz’s immigration position in 2013 and his position on the RFS, but when King starts looking for some financial assistance, his Rolodex just shrunk exponentially.
The Iowa GOP is hosting their first ever Growth and Opportunity Party this coming Saturday, October 31. It’s an event for the entire family, bring the kids along and enjoy a day of good Iowa politics at the State Fair grounds.
Come watch the post-debate fireworks. Almost immediately after the next GOP debate wraps up, most candidates will fly to Iowa hoping to capitalize on their success or do damage control after a lackluster performance. Don’t miss the potential for on-stage fireworks as candidates scramble to solidify gains or perform damage control.
It’s the starting gun for the final sprint toward caucus night. October 31 will be exactly 93 days before the February 1 caucuses. Any campaigner knows that the final 90 days are when you bid your family goodbye, kiss your kids one last time, and prepare to set up shop in the campaign office. Candidates are quickly running out of time to make an impact in Iowa, especially when you consider the political lull you can expect between Thanksgiving and New Years. The Growth and Opportunity Party will be a fitting start to the final frantic sprint toward February 1.
Smokey D’s! There are many great BBQ joints in Des Moines, but Smokey D’s has got to be one of the best. For only $15 you get general admission into the event and a delicious BBQ meal. The meal alone probably runs you nearly $15 at Smokey D’s.
Candidate booths. Candidates were given the opportunity to do exciting things with their booth, and we’ve heard some are taking advantage of the opportunity. One candidate will be hosting a tailgate so people can keep their eye on college football. Come see who brings their ‘A’ game.
Turnout. Speaking of ‘A’ game, let’s see who ensures their candidates are well represented at the event. At this point each campaign should be able to identify and turnout their supporters for events like this. Who will go the extra mile and ensure their candidate gets a rousing reception on Saturday.
The candidates! Yes, the grind is officially on as candidates stump through the early states continuously for the next three months. These multi-candidate events serve a useful purpose: You put candidates on the same stage, in front of the same audience, and you see who can connect the best. The best campaigns use point #5 to ensure it’s their guy/gal who gets it done.
NRA gun raffle. The NRA tells me they’ll be raffling of a rifle at the event. I’ll be throwing my hat into the ring. Why wouldn’t you?
Who can compete with Hillary? Last weekend the Democrats gathered for their Jefferson Jackson Dinner. Hillary Clinton’s campaign in particular showed strong organizational acumen and delivered a solid, albeit pedestrian, stump speech. It’s looking more clear now that Clinton will be the nominee and the Republicans will need someone who can compete with her team. Who can play that role?
What: Iowa GOP’s Growth and Opportunity Party
When: October 31, doors at 9 a.m., program starts at 10:20 a.m.
Where: Varied Industries Building – State Fair, 3000 E Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA
Confirmed Guests: Carly Fiorina, Senator Rick Santorum, Governor Bobby Jindal, Governor Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, Governor Chris Christie, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Lindsey Graham, and Governor Mike Huckabee
Invited Guests: Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Governor George Pataki, and Governor John Kasich
Republican presidential candidates often solicit Governor Terry Branstad’s advice when it comes to campaigning in Iowa, and the Governor eagerly obliges. This is especially true when it comes to offering advice to a fellow governor. These candidates are wise to let Branstad bend their ear, because not only has Branstad mastered the art of governing the state of Iowa, he’s quite astute when it comes to political campaigns in Iowa.
But now, we’ve witnessed the rare occurrence when one of Branstad’s Republican collegues offered to assist him when it comes to defunding Planned Parenthood.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal penned a letter to Branstad on September 23rd at the behest of The FAMiLY Leader. The letter explains how a governor can legally cut off taxpayer dollars flowing to Planned Parenthood.
Jindal explained that, after watching the first of the gruesome videos that exposed Planned Parenthood’s practice of harvesting organs and tissues from aborted babies, he directed the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to investigate the organization.
Jindal also requested that the FBI and Louisiana Inspector General’s office investigate the alleged wrongdoing of Planned Parenthood. Following the investigation, Jindal directed DHH to notify Planned Parenthood of the termination of their Medicaid contract in his state for cause. Jindal then made it clear that if Branstad had any questions, Jindal would welcome his call.
Jindal’s letter was made public after multiple Iowa newspapers quoted Branstad stating that it was not within his power to strip Planned Parenthood of the federal dollars. Branstad cited an opinion by the Iowa Attorney General, which is currently Tom Miller, a liberal Democrat.
This comes weeks after Branstad stated that Planned Parenthood receives no money to pay for abortions. While accurate, it seems that Branstad doesn’t really understand what exactly the activists in his party are advocating for, which is that any organization that is participating in the illegal selling of body parts should not receive ANY financial support from American taxpayers.
With the anti-establishment sentiment permeating the Republican presidential race, Branstad should be concerned about any backlash that may come his way. The FAMiLY Leader is also putting pressure on Branstad with a new TV ad that calls out the governor for his lack of action on this issue.