Government

Iowa Democrats launch website tracking Joni Ernst's words vs. actions

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks to reporters Feb. 4 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Amanda Voisard/Washington P
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks to reporters Feb. 4 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Amanda Voisard/Washington Post)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa Democrats are launching a one-stop shop for voters to learn about what they call Sen. Joni Ernst’s six years of political corruption and failure to fight for Iowans in Washington.

The first-term Republican promised to “make Washington squeal,” but instead put her special interest donors first, according to the Iowa Democratic Party.

“Ernst quickly fell into Washington’s corrupt ways as a rubber stamp for corporate bailouts and Mitch McConnell’s partisan agenda — no matter the cost to Iowans,” the party said in announcing Monday’s launch of ElectionYearErnst.com to hold Ernst accountable for her record.

“Sen. Ernst made Iowans a promise to cut big spending in Washington, but all she’s done is send working families the bill for bailouts for Big Oil, Big Pharma and the corporate special interests bankrolling her campaign,” said Jeremy Busch, Iowa Democratic Party spokesman. “The truth is, Iowans are sick and tired of their senator putting Mitch McConnell and corporate special interests first. They’re ready for a new leader who will never stop fighting for them.”

Democratic businesswoman Theresa Greenfield is challenging Ernst in the November general election. The race is seen as key to control of the Senate, which now has 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats.

Polls have shown the race to be tight, with Greenfield holding a lead within the margin of error nearly three months until Election Day.

The race is on the receiving end of an outpouring of money from special interest groups. Democratic and Republican senatorial campaign committees have reserved $35 million of television ad time, according to RollCall.com.

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Among the claims made by Democrats on ElectionYearErnst.com is that she’s taken nearly $600,000 in campaign contributions from political action committees tied to Big Oil and Big Pharma.

That’s in contrast to Greenfield’s claim that she’s not taking “one dime of corporate PAC money.” She does, however, accept contributions from party leadership PACs that do accept donations from corporate PACs.

Iowa Republicans suggested it’s appropriate Democrats are launching another website in support of a candidate who, they say, has been campaigning from a “windowless basement” to avoid meeting with voters.

“While Joni Ernst has continued her 99-county tour, traveling the state and taking Iowans’ concerns to Washington, Theresa Greenfield is still nowhere to be found,” Republican Party of Iowa spokesman Aaron Britt said. “It has been 40 days since Greenfield became the Democratic nominee, and she still hasn’t weighed in on (Nancy) Pelosi’s radical climate change plan that would decimate Iowa’s ethanol industry or apologized to small businesses for personally signing notices that kicked them to the curb for a multinational corporation. What is she hiding? The longer she dodges, the more Iowans know they can’t trust Theresa.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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