ELECTION 2020

Ernst and Greenfield trade last-minute barbs

Senate candidates both on campaign trail

Candidates in Iowa’s crucial and competitive U.S. Senate race were on the move Tuesday as they kicked off the final sprint to the Nov. 3 election.

Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield embarked on a statewide bus tour that will continue to Election Day, and Republican incumbent Joni Ernst was on her way to Omaha, where she was set to appear at a campaign event with President Donald Trump.

Ernst and Greenfield are locked in a close race, according to polling data. The most recent polls show a tossup.

Greenfield spoke with reporters Tuesday in Des Moines before hopping on her campaign bus; she was scheduled to make stops Tuesday in Marshalltown, Clear Lake, Ames and Rippey.

“We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing from Day 1, which is go out there, reach out to Iowans, ask for and earn every single vote in our effort to take back this seat,” Greenfield said. “We’ve done over 350 events so far around the state, and we’re going to keep traveling and keep earning every vote.”

Greenfield said she has heard on the campaign trail that Iowans want an end to “divisiveness” in the Senate, and she stated her desire to work “with anyone” on ensuring access to health care, investment in infrastructure, leadership in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding the economy, especially for farmers.

“That’s what this tour is all about,” she said.

Ernst did not make any public appearances before the late Trump rally, but she was represented Tuesday afternoon by Republican Party state Chairman Jeff Kaufmann.

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Addressing reporters in Davenport, Kaufmann argued Iowans can’t trust Greenfield to represent them in the Senate. He said Greenfield, who was endorsed Sunday by progressive lawmaker U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, would be a proxy vote for far-left Democrats “to force their dangerous agenda.”

Greenfield has balked at progressive issues like single-payer health insurance, defunding the police and adding seats to the Supreme Court.

Kaufmann insisted Greenfield “will not take a stand on court packing” by creating new seats, arguing she’s repeatedly hedged on the issue. He called Greenfield “the linchpin” for a Democratic Congress to increase the number of seats on the court for liberal justices.

“She is being managed by out-of-state money that’s being funneled through (Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.), who does want to do that,” Kaufmann argued.

Greenfield reiterated Tuesday she is opposed to “packing the court.”

“I’ve been really clear all along that I don’t support packing the court. I think that kind of conversation is divisive. It’s what people hate about Washington. They want that to end,” she said.

According to the nonprofit and nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, roughly $147 million has been spent on this race, with outside spending favoring Greenfield. Groups supporting the Democratic candidate spent nearly $81 million, while groups supporting Ernst have spent nearly $64 million, according to the center.

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