ELECTION 2020

Joni Ernst, Theresa Greenfield tour state as competitive campaign nears end

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DES MOINES — With control of their race apparently still up in the air, the candidates in Iowa’s critical U.S. Senate race spent the weekend barnstorming the state to give their closing arguments and appeal to what undecided voters remain ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Republican incumbent Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield both crisscrossed the state and kept busy campaign schedules: Greenfield held or participated in 11 events and Ernst 10.

Polling has showed a close race from the start, and continued to do so down the home stretch, albeit with some fluctuations. But the consensus among pollsters and political forecasters remains that the race is a toss-up.

And it remains a critical race on the national stage. The outcome of Iowa’s race will play a significant role in determining whether Republicans retain an agenda-setting majority in the U.S. Senate or if Democrats earn the majority.

At an event Sunday night in Des Moines with fellow Republican candidates, Ernst decried the money that has poured into the race — largely because of the national stakes — and warned against what Democratic control of the Senate would mean for policy.

Speaking with reporters after her remarks, Ernst said her message to undecided voters is that she has dedicated her life to service. Ernst served in the U.S. Army National Guard and has been a county auditor, state senator and now U.S. senator.

“That’s important to me because Iowa’s where I was born and raised. These are my neighbors. These are my friends. These are my family members. And it just makes it that much more important that I protect their lives and their livelihoods,” Ernst said. “If they are undecided, I’m asking them to take a look at my record of service, put it up against Ms. Greenfield’s record of service, and that will help make up their mind.”

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At Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on Friday, Greenfield said her message to undecided voters is that she would work with anyone of any political background in Congress, and that she would focus on issues that matter to Iowans.

She repeated the line, which she has used in her campaign ads, that growing up on a farm she was taught that there were no “boys’ jobs” and no “girls’ jobs,” just jobs that needed to be done.

“And (in the Senate) those jobs include health care for all of us, working our way out of this COVID crisis, rebuilding our economy,” Greenfield said. “And I will work with anybody to get those jobs done, because I don’t see those jobs as Republican jobs or Democratic jobs. They’re just jobs that need to get done.”

On Wednesday, a RABA Research Poll showed Greenfield ahead by 6 percentage points, and on Sunday, an Emerson College Poll showed Greenfield ahead by four points.

Between them, a Selzer & Co. Iowa Poll showed Ernst ahead by 4 points.

FiveThirtyEight’s forecast has the race at 50/50.

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