The mood was joyous Saturday night in Muscatine when word spread the new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll showed Republican candidates leading in nearly every federal race.
Sen. Joni Ernst’s campaign RV was en route from Davenport to Muscatine when the poll’s Senate results dropped at 6 p.m., showing Ernst leading Theresa Greenfield 46% to 42%, within the 3.4% margin of error. The presidential results were unveiled at 6:30 p.m., which showed Donald Trump leading by seven points, as Ernst, Gov. Kim Reynolds and congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks rolled into the Hy-Vee parking lot in Muscatine. And by 7 p.m., polling of the four U.S. House races was available, too.
Jeff Kaufmann, chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, riled up the crowd gathered under a tent in the Hy-Vee parking lot, reveling in results of the “very, very liberal, pro-Democratic pollster.” (The Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll is conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines and sampled 814 likely Iowa voters.)
“Oh, it’s got to just cause them pain,” Kaufmann said of the poll results.
“They’re crying! They’re crying!” Reynolds replied, momentarily pulling down her face mask to yell out to the crowd.
Reynolds has spent days on the campaign trail with Ernst as the senator holds events around the state for her “Fighting for Iowa” RV tour. As the governor campaigns, Iowa continues to hit records related to the coronavirus pandemic, with 630 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Saturday. In front of Republican crowds, Reynolds is able to get positive affirmations from supporters telling her how well she has handled the crisis, rather than the scrutiny she would face taking questions at a town hall or during a press conference.
“I am fired up,” Reynolds said. “We have been criss-crossing the state. I’ve had so much fun having the opportunity to support Joni. I believe in her, she’s a great friend. I love what she’s done, and to be able to have the opportunity to travel the state with her over this last week … to Jeff’s point, we have to turn that momentum and that energy and that enthusiasm into votes.”
Ernst held seven events on Saturday, beginning in Independence, in Eastern Iowa, and ending along the Mississippi River in Muscatine. Ernst had another full day planned for Sunday, but several afternoon and evening events were canceled so she can attend President Trump’s rally in Dubuque.
Unlike at other events she has held this fall, on Saturday the senator kept her remarks relatively positive, telling voters how she went from a county-level position to the state Senate, all while serving in the Iowa Army National Guard. Ernst’s primary dig against Greenfield was the tens of millions of dollars she has raised this year, decrying how Iowa’s Senate race had become the second-most expensive in the country.
“At the end of the day on Tuesday, there will have been over $200 million invested in this race alone,” Ernst said on the floor of a classic car shop in Davenport. “It is the second-most expensive race in the United States for the race for Senate. We have a target on our back. I have a target on my back. It is because we are one of those swing states. It is a purple state. We need to show them that this is a red state.”
By Elizabeth Meyer
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