Ernst Joins Vulnerable GOP Senators In Requesting Multiple Debates

By Elizabeth Meyer

June 22, 2020

In a move unusual for an incumbent senator, Iowa Republican Joni Ernst challenged Democrat Theresa Greenfield to six debates between now and Election Day, a tactic other at-risk senators are employing across the country as Mitch McConnell fights to maintain his narrow hold on the U.S. Senate.

On Monday morning, a short video was posted on Ernst’s campaign Twitter account accusing Greenfield of parroting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. She then proposed two debates per month, beginning in August, so Iowans can “hear what we have to say.”

The call for more debates is a time-honored tactic typically used by candidates challenging an incumbent, not the sitting politician.

In response, the Greenfield campaign said she “looks forward to debates this fall — just like how she participated in three televised debates and six public forums in the primary.”

[inline-ad id=”2″]

“After a new poll showing her trailing, Sen. Ernst continues to follow Mitch McConnell’s desperate playbook for other failing senators around the country,” said communications director Sam Newton, in a statement.

Multiple political journalists took to Twitter this morning to point out the parallels between Ernst’s video and statements from Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Steve Daines of Montana and Cory Gardner of Colorado, all of whom are considered vulnerable in November.

At the start of the year, Tillis challenged North Carolina’s Democratic nominee to five general election debates. And on June 1, he still was hammering that message on Twitter.

[inline-ad id=”3″]

In Montana, one day after former presidential candidate Gov. Steve Bullock won the Democratic nomination, Sen. Daines’ campaign sent a letter to Bullock’s campaign manager alerting her to the four debate invitations the Republican senator already had accepted.

And in Colorado, where Cook Political Report has designated Gardner’s race as one of “Republicans’ biggest worries,” he proposed five debates before knowing the winner of the Democratic primary, which takes place June 30.

[inline-ad id=”1″]

Republicans hold a 53-45 advantage in the Senate. Two senators are Independents. In 2020, Republicans are defending 23 seats compared to Democrats’ 12.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 6/22/20

Iowa Starting Line is an independently-owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.



Local News

Related Stories
Share This