Senator Joni Ernst starts out her 2020 reelection effort in a strong position, garnering a 57% approval rating in a poll released by the Des Moines Register last night. She’s spent her first years in D.C. largely unscathed by major controversy or any sustained opposition criticism, but that mostly free ride will soon come to an end as the election year nears.
One new effort to make her a one-term senator kicked off this week, with Eddie Mauro launching a new PAC aimed at defeating Ernst and helping local Iowa candidates for the Statehouse. The Midwest Victory PAC (or “MVP”) starts out with an initial $50,000 investment to begin pressuring Ernst on votes she’s taken in the Senate.
“Joni Ernst has consistently turned her back on our MVP’s – the Most Valuable People of our communities – who work hard for a living, put food on the table, educate our children and keep us safe,” Mauro said in a press release. “She and her fellow Republicans who control the Iowa State House have robbed millions of Americans of the dignity of life and well-being.”
The organization will also help “identify, encourage and support” Democratic candidates for state legislative races in order to win back control of the Iowa Statehouse. And the PAC hopes to do some outreach to presidential candidates to talk about Iowa-specific policy issues.
“Given Ernst’s record, we know we need all hands on deck to win that seat back and put a progressive voice back in D.C. from Iowa, so we appreciate Eddie’s effort and help in that,” IDP Chair Troy Price told Starting Line.
Mauro ran in Democratic primaries for the 3rd Congressional District and Iowa House in the past two cycles. He runs an insurance agency, is a high school baseball coach, and directs a water purification project in Tanzania.
“Ernst and her fellow Republicans have advanced a reckless agenda, denying access to healthcare for countless Iowans, abandoning Iowa’s commitment to educating our children, and continuously selling out Iowa’s communities – putting special interests ahead of working families on issue after issue,” Mauro said.
Iowa’s senate race in 2020 is already looking to be one of the top-targeted contests in the country by Democrats. Even though the state moved to the right during Donald Trump’s first election, Democrats now control three of the four congressional seats. There also aren’t a lot of potential pick-ups for Democrats in other states, so Iowa will stay in focus for the party out of necessity, as well.
Ernst’s ambition has led her to steadily rise in the Senate ranks, capturing a spot last year in party leadership as the Republican Senate Conference vice chair. But in ingratiating herself to national Republicans, she’s also attached herself as close as possible to unpopular Republican legislation and a president who’s coming under increasing investigation. Ernst’s fate will likely be closely tied to how Trump does in Iowa a second time around.
Several longtime Democratic operatives and consultants will be helping with Maruo’s MVP organization, including GPS Partner Mark Langgin and veterans advocate Bob Krause.
People can learn more about the PAC by visiting http://www.midwestvictory.org/
by Pat Rynard