United States Senate elections in Iowa, 2014

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U.S. Senate, Iowa General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Bruce Braley 43.8% 494,370
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJoni Ernst 52.1% 588,575
     Libertarian Douglas Butzier 0.7% 8,232
     Independent Rick Stewart 2.4% 26,815
     Independent Ruth Smith 0.4% 4,724
     Independent Bob Quast 0.5% 5,873
     Write-in Other 0.1% 1,111
Total Votes 1,129,700
Source: Iowa Secretary of State Official Results



CongressLogo.png

2014 U.S. Senate Elections in Iowa

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
June 3, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Joni Ernst Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Tom Harkin Democratic Party
Tom Harkin.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Toss Up[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Toss Up[2]


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2014 U.S. House Elections

Flag of Iowa.png
Voters in Iowa elected one member to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 4, 2014. Republican nominee Joni Ernst (R) defeated Bruce Braley (D) in the general election.

The election filled the Senate seat held by Tom Harkin (D). Harkin was first elected in 1984. On January 26, 2013, Harkin announced that he would not seek re-election once his current term expires. Upon his retirement, he will have served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. He said of his retirement, "I have mixed feelings. You know what, it's somebody else's turn. To walk away from this position and this power is not an easy thing. But I think it's the right thing."[3]

The political environment in Iowa made the outcome of the U.S. Senate race hard to determine. Both candidates had been actively attacking each other with accusations of missed committee meetings and votes.[4] The Cook Political Report designated the state as a "Toss Up" and most other polls showed each candidate gaining or losing leads by slim margins. Polls released in mid-October revealed that both candidates were in a dead heat for the seat.

Harkin, the retiring incumbent, withheld his campaign finances that totaled around $2.4 million. He refused to accept requests from top Democrats, such as Harry Reid, to transfer the money to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The refusal shocked Iowa Democrats who struggled to keep Harkin's seat from switching over to the Republicans. Harkin stated that he intended to donate the money to the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University. A Democratic aide stated: “It is ridiculous that Bruce Braley is getting outspent by Republicans when Tom Harkin is sitting on over $2 million in his campaign account."[5]

Absentee ballots played an important role in the general election as Republicans showed a strong turnout in early voting. There were 134,124 Republicans and 143,588 Democrats who requested absentee ballots. The numbers helped bolster Ernst's campaign and turned out strong voter enthusiasm among Republicans.[6]

Braley often voted within party lines and was strongly supportive of Democratic issues, such as Obamacare and reproductive rights. He received key endorsements from Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Financially, Braley proved himself as a competitive fundraiser having grossed over $3 million cash-on-hand.[7]

The establishment and tea party wings of the Republican party both rallied behind state Sen. Joni Ernst.[8] She was the Lieutenant Colonel of the Iowa National Guard and had spent most of her life in military service. She was a strong supporter of conservative issues, such as repealing Obamacare. She eventually became the first woman from Iowa to represent her state in the U.S. Senate. She received key endorsements from figures such as Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.[9][10]

Braley ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and easily secured his nomination. Ernst had to face four other opponents in a congested Republican primary. She defeated her opponents by securing 56.2 percent of the preceding votes, more than the simple majority.

Libertarian candidate Douglas Butzier successfully made it onto the ballot. Butzier, however, died in a tragic plane crash on the night of October 13, 2014. He was flying solo in a single-engine airplane that crashed one mile north of Dubuque Regional Airport. Butzier's name still appeared on the ballot.[11]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 14, 2014
June 3, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Iowa is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. The primary is closed, but voters are allowed to change their political party affiliation on election day.[12]

Voter registration: To vote in the primary voters were required to register by either May 26, 2014, to pre-register, or on election day. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 25, 2014 (10 days before election day).[13]

See also: Iowa elections, 2014

Incumbent: The election was for the seat held by Tom Harkin (D). Harkin was first elected in 1984. On January 26, 2013, Harkin announced that he would not seek re-election. He served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years. Prior to this, he served in the U.S. House for ten years. He said of his retirement, "I have mixed feelings. You know what, it's somebody else's turn. To walk away from this position and this power is not an easy thing. But I think it's the right thing."[14]

Candidates

General election candidates


June 3, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Failed to file

Rumored candidates

Declined

Race background

Most vulnerable seats

The FiscalTimes compiled a list of the seven most vulnerable Senate seats up for election in 2014. The seven included in the list are: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. Going into the 2014 election, all seven seats were held by Democrats.[49]

Elections

General election results

The state of Iowa held an election for the U.S. Senate on November 4, 2014. Joni Ernst (R) defeated Bruce Braley (D), Douglas Butzier (L), Rick Stewart (I), Ruth Smith (I) and Bob Quast (I) in the general election.

U.S. Senate, Iowa General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Bruce Braley 43.8% 494,370
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJoni Ernst 52.1% 588,575
     Libertarian Douglas Butzier 0.7% 8,232
     Independent Rick Stewart 2.4% 26,815
     Independent Ruth Smith 0.4% 4,724
     Independent Bob Quast 0.5% 5,873
     Write-in Other 0.1% 1,111
Total Votes 1,129,700
Source: Iowa Secretary of State Official Results

Primary results

U.S. Senate, Iowa Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJoni Ernst 56.2% 88,535
Sam Clovis 18% 28,418
Mark Jacobs 16.8% 26,523
Matt Whitaker 7.5% 11,884
Scott Schaben 1.4% 2,233
Total Votes 157,593
Source: Iowa Secretary of State

Key votes

Below are important votes the incumbent cast during the 113th Congress.

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Yea3.png During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[50] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Harkin voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[51]

Issues

See also: Energy and the 2014 election: the ballots and beyond

Campaign issues

Braley

Braley's campaign website listed the following issues:

Jobs & Economy: Protecting the right to organize for better and safer working conditions is important to Bruce. He took a strong stance against attempts to curb collective bargaining rights and had voted for legislation in Congress to improve worker safety in numerous fields of work.

Bruce also understands that Iowa’s small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. By helping to strengthen small businesses, we can strengthen job opportunities for every Iowan.

Healthcare: All Iowans deserve quality, affordable healthcare that provides families with health security. Iowans can’t afford to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny people insurance based on pre-existing conditions, or kick people off their insurance when they got sick, or increase premiums with no justification.

Veterans: Bruce Braley believes that our country should support our troops not only when they’re fighting abroad, but when they return home. That’s why he’s worked so hard for America’s military veterans. Braley introduced and passed a law to give tax breaks to companies that hire veterans returning from duty, unemployed veterans, and wounded warriors. Braley also successfully took on the Pentagon to secure overdue combat pay for 800 Iowa National Guard troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and helped secure full GI Bill education benefits that were initially denied to 600 Iowa National Guard soldiers[52]

Ernst

Ernst's campaign website listed the following issues:

Creating Jobs: Joni supports pro-growth tax and economic policies that will unleash the full potential of America’s free market economy and create new, better paying jobs so that more of our neighbors have jobs to go to each day in order to support their families. Joni believes the free market is the greatest job creating machine ever built, but only when the government gets out of the way. She supports rolling back Washington-created job-killing regulations that are crushing small business.

Real and Meaningful Health Care Reform: Joni is staunchly opposed to the Obamacare law. Joni supports immediate action to repeal Obamacare and replace it with common sense, free-market alternatives that put patients first, and health care decisions back in the hands of each of us rather than Washington bureaucrats.

Keeping America Strong in the World: Joni believes in a strong national defense because she knows the world is a safer place when America is the strongest nation on the planet. She believes that military readiness cannot be allowed to fall victim to Washington politics or bureaucratic maneuvering. Joni also believes that American foreign policy must be consistent and strong – never giving our enemies hesitation as to America’s resolve to defend herself and her interests across the globe, whether by diplomatic means or use of force.[52]

Debate: October 11

The October 4, 2014 debate helped clarify positions each candidate took on key issues leading up to the general election.

The Environment: Addressing the purview of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was one of the most prominent issues discussed during the debate, due to each candidate's stance on the issue. Ernst, who had previously campaigned to end the EPA, stated that her stance was logical because she advocated for allowing states to decide how to utilize their natural resources. Braley countered her position with the argument that the agency was originally created by a Republican president to prevent pollution in a time where state cooperation on the issue saw minimal success.

Gun Control: Braley, who advocated for increased background checks, went on the offensive stating that “Sen. Ernst doesn’t think you should even need to go through a permit process to carry a concealed weapon and should be able to carry guns in churches and bars.” He stated that the second amendment should be treated as a "balancing act" between having gun rights and providing equal protection for everyone. Ernst expressed her concern with gun violence but indicated that she would rather focus on improving mental healthcare and enforcing existing laws.

Foreign Policy: The discussion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) dominated the debate of America's position in the world today. Both candidates were strongly in favor of combating the Islamic militants, but differed slightly in approach. Braley stated that more deliberations in Congress needed to take place in order to better coordinate strategy against ISIS while Ernst criticized that approach as unresponsive. Ernst was in favor of arming the Free Syrian Army, and other moderate rebel groups, to help combat ISIS while Braley noted about the uncertainty of providing weapons to groups we know little about.

Healthcare: "Obamacare" dominated the discussion when a voter asked Ernst if he would lose his medical coverage if the law was repealed. Ernst announced that she supported affordable access to healthcare, but Obamacare was not the way to implement it. Braley emphasized that coverage was less extensive before the law went into place and that the initiative had improved the quality and access to healthcare for millions of Americans.

Immigration: Ernst took a moderate stance on immigration through supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Though opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants, Ernst said she recognized that it was not fair to punish children who arrived in the United States not acting on their own will.


America's Biggest Hypocrite

Campaign Finance: Both candidates agreed that more transparency was needed for campaign finances and outside group spending during elections. Braley called for banning "dark political money" being spent to sway voters in election. Ernst agreed and noted that Braley's campaign outspent her own during the course of the election. The two also debated each others' financial allegiances. Braley referenced the support Ernst received from David and Charles Koch. Ernst defended her support saying she never signed any pledges or promises to her donors to which Braley quickly pointed to her signing of the "no-new-taxes" pledge. Ernst would later connect Braley to the Senate Majority PAC and Tom Steyer's Super PAC, both of which have spent significant money on the election in Iowa.[53]

One day before the debate, the group American Commitment released an ad questioning Braley's attacks on Ernst's outside donations, specifically the money Braley received from Tom Steyer, a billionaire based out of California.

Debate: October 16

The candidates held their third debate on October 16, 2014. Both candidates took similar positions on previously discussed issues along with new issues being brought up by the moderator.

Healthcare: As in previous debates, both candidates sparred over the issue of Obamacare. Ernst attacked Braley for saying he previously was in full support of the new healthcare legislation, only to now support changing some aspects of it. She said this proves he either did not know the full extent of the legislation or he purposely mislead Iowa's voters when supporting it. Braley countered Ernst's claims through stating that when dealing with needed changes in our healthcare system, there are bound to be issues with implementation. He defended his support for changes by emphasizing that they will improve the bill and its ability to expand coverage to Iowans. Moreover, he opposed repealing the bill saying that it will cause premiums to increase for Americans, including Iowans.

Ebola: A new issue brought to both candidates was the spread of the Ebola virus throughout Africa and the danger that a global outbreak that could affect the United States. Ernst criticized Braley for supporting the Obama administration's action on Ebola, which she labeled as "reactive" instead of "proactive." Braley rebutted the statement by stating that the Obama administration took steps to protect the United States and that the Republicans, through control of the U.S. House, were in control of setting the hearing times on the matter. Both candidates indicated they would support some type of travel ban to curtail the spread of the virus.

Internal Revenue Service: As with many other federal programs, Ernst stated she was in support of dismantling the International Revenue Service and starting over with a "better tax code." Ernst emphasized that the system was too bureaucratic and adds unnecessary burdens to the lives of average Americans. She said, "Let's make life better for hardworking Americans. We can't tax them to death. And my opponent, Congressman Braley, that seems to be the answer for everything — is higher taxes and more spending." Braley attacked her position through pointing out her continued support for scrapping federal programs. He emphasized that removing the current infrastructure for existing federal initiatives would cause dismay and harm towards the citizens that benefit from them. He stated that: "Every solution she has is throwing darts at the board, trying to get rid of programs that have had significant impacts and made a difference in the lives of Iowans."[54]

Race ratings

WaPo top races

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate election in Iowa was considered one of the top 10 Senate races of 2014. By late 2013 Republican candidate fundraising had not put up impressive fundraising. However, Rep. Braley had been continuing to put up high numbers.[55]

Polls

General election

Braley v. Ernst (August 2014-Present)
Poll Bruce Braley (D) Joni Ernst (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen
October 28-30, 2014
47%48%3%+/-3.0990
CNN/ORC
October 27-30, 2014
47%49%1%+/-3.01,005
Marist
October 24, 2014
46%49%4%+/-3.01,093
Loras College
October 21-24, 2014
45.3%44.2%8.2%+/-2.931,121
Quinnipiac University
October 23, 2014
46%48%4%+/-3.2964
Monmouth University
October 18-21, 2014
46%47%2%+/-4.8423
Public Policy Polling
October 15-16, 2014
48%47%5%+/-3.6714
Selzer's
October 3-8, 2014
46%47%5%+/-2.91,107
Quinnipiac University
September 10-15, 2014
44%50%6%+/-2.91,167
CNN/ORC
September 8-10, 2014
49%48%1%+/-3.51,013
Public Policy Polling
August 28-30, 2014
43%45%12%+/-3.2816
Suffolk University/USA Today
August 23-26, 2014
40%40%15%+/-4.4500
Public Policy Polling
August 22-24, 2014
41%40%14%+/-3.2915
AVERAGES 45.25% 46.32% 6.17% +/-3.36 909.85
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


Braley v. Ernst (July 2013-August 2014)
Poll Bruce Braley (D) Joni Ernst (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
August 11-12, 2014
43%43%8%+/-4.0750
CBS/NYT/YouGov
July 5-24, 2014
47%48%4%+/-3.02,007
Human Events/Gravis Marketing
July 17-18, 2014
44%43%13%+/-3.01,179
NBC News/Marist
July 7-13, 2014
43%43%14%+/-2.51,599
Quinnipiac University
June 12-16, 2014
44%40%14%+/-2.71,277
Vox Populi
June 4-5, 2014
49%44%7%+/-3.8667
Rasmussen Reports
June 4-5, 2014
44%45%9%+/-4.0750
Loras College
June 4-5, 2014
42%48%10%+/-4.0600
Public Policy Polling
May 15-19, 2014
45%39%16%+/-3.3914
Suffolk University
April 3-8, 2014
38%30%32%+/-3.5800
Rasmussen Reports
March 24-25, 2014
40%37%23%+/-4.0750
Quinnipiac University
March 5-10, 2014
42%29%29%+/-2.61,411
Public Policy Polling
February 20-23, 2014
41%35%23%+/-3.3869
Harper Polling
November 23-24, 2013
42%36%22%+/-3.12985
Public Policy Polling
July 5-7, 2013
45%33%22%+/-3.8668
AVERAGES 43.27% 39.53% 16.4% +/-3.37 1,015.07
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted June 12-16, 2014, men supported the female candidate and women supported the male contender. Women supported Bruce Braley (D) 47 percent to 36 percent, while men backed Joni Ernst (R) by a narrower 44 percent to 40 percent margin.[56]


Possible match-up: Braley v. Whitaker
Poll Bruce Braley (D) Matt Whitaker (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
May 15-19, 2014
43%36%21%+/-3.3914
Suffolk University
April 3-8, 2014
38%27%33%+/-3.5800
Rasmussen Reports
March 24-25, 2014
40%36%24%+/-4.0750
Quinnipiac University
March 5-10, 2014
42%30%28%+/-2.61,411
Public Policy Polling
February 20-23, 2014
40%34%26%+/-3.3869
Harper Polling
November 23-24, 2013
41%38%22%+/-3.12985
Public Policy Polling
July 5-7, 2013
43%34%23%+/-3.8668
AVERAGES 41% 33.57% 25.29% +/-3.37 913.86
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


Possible match-up: Braley v. Clovis
Poll Bruce Braley (D) Sam Clovis (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Polling
May 15-19, 2014
43%34%21%+/-3.3914
Suffolk University
April 3-8, 2014
38%25%35%+/-3.5800
Rasmussen Reports
March 24-25, 2014
44%31%25%+/-4.0750
Quinnipiac University
March 5-10, 2014
42%27%31%+/-2.61,411
Public Policy Polling
February 20-23, 2014
42%34%24%+/-3.3869
Harper Polling
November 23-24, 2013
40%35%25%+/-3.12985
Public Policy Polling
July 5-7, 2013
43%31%25%+/-3.8668
AVERAGES 41.71% 31% 26.57% +/-3.37 913.86
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


Possible match-up: Braley v. Jacobs
Poll Bruce Braley (D) Mark Jacobs (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Suffolk University
April 3-8, 2014
37%31%32%+/-3.5800
Rasmussen Reports
March 24-25, 2014
41%38%21%+/-4.0750
Quinnipiac University
March 5-10, 2014
40%31%29%+/-2.61,411
Public Policy Polling
February 20-23, 2014
41%35%24%+/-3.3869
Public Policy Polling
July 5-7, 2013
44%32%24%+/-3.8668
AVERAGES 34% 25.33% +/-3.39 913.83
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


Possible match-up: Braley v. Young
Poll Bruce Braley (D) David Young (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Harper Polling
November 23-24, 2013
41%35%24%+/-3.12985
Public Policy Polling
July 5-7, 2013
45%32%24%+/-3.8668
AVERAGES 43% 33.5% 24% +/-3.46 826.5
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


Possible match-up: Braley v. Schaben
Poll Bruce Braley (D) Scott Schaben (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Suffolk University
April 3-8, 2014
38%25%36%+/-3.5800
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Republican primary

Republican primary
Poll Bob Vander Plaats Sam ClovisMatt WhitakerMark JacobsDavid YoungScott ShabenPaul LundeJoni ErnstSomeone elseUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Des Moines Register
May 27-30, 2014
0%11%13%18%0%2%0%38%0%16%+/-4.9400
Public Policy Polling
May 15-19, 2014
0%14%6%18%0%1%2%34%0%26%+/-3.3914
Loras College
May 12-13, 2014
0%10%7%19%0%2%0%31%0%29%+/-4.0600
Harper Polling
April 30-May 1, 2014
0%14%0%23%0%0%0%33%0%0%+/-4.4500
Loras College
April 7-8, 2014
0%7%4%19%0%3.5%0%18%0%46.5%+/-4.0600
Suffolk University
April 3-8, 2014
0%7%4%23%0%1%0%25%0%40%+/-3.5800
Public Policy Polling
February 20-23, 2014
0%8%11%20%0%3%3%13%0%42%+/-3.3869
Hill Research Consultants
February 12-13, 2014
0%6%8%22%0%0%0%11%3%50%+/-4500
Kellyanne Conway
November 22-23, 2013
28%8%7%5%4%1%1%0%0%39%+/-4.9400
AVERAGES 3.11% 9.44% 6.67% 18.56% 0.44% 1.5% 0.67% 22.56% 0.33% 32.06% +/-4.03 620.33
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Campaign donors

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season.

Bruce Braley (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[57]April 15, 2013$0.00$1,035,875.92$(31,259.28)$1,004,606.64
July Quarterly[58]July 13, 2013$1,004,606.64$1,258,495.47$(257,324.01)$2,005,778.10
October Quarterly[59]October 15, 2013$2,005,778.10$2,906,320.60$(582,969.55)$2,323,351.05
Year-end[60]January 31, 2014$2,323,351$1,020,227$(732,786)$2,610,791
April Quarterly[61]April 15, 2014$2,610,791$1,258,283$(756,501)$3,112,574
July Quarterly[62]July 15, 2014$2,336,719$1,268,724$(882,492)$2,722,951
October Quarterly[63]October 15, 2014$2,722,951$2,839,203$(4,318,146)$1,244,008
Running totals
$11,587,128.99$(7,561,477.84)
Joni Ernst (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
October Quarterly[64]October 15, 2013$0.00$252,397$(28,112)$224,285
Year End[65]January 31, 2014$224,285$202,774$(137,544)$289,514
April Quarterly[66]April 15, 2014$289,514$285,664$(147,978)$427,201
July Quarterly[67]July 15, 2014$351,849$1,334,633$(620,317)$1,109,044
October Quarterly[68]October 15, 2014$1,109,044$6,022,042$(3,492,115)$3,638,970
Running totals
$8,097,510$(4,426,066)
Scott Schaben (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
October Quarterly[69]October 15, 2013$0.00$8,291.00$(4,489.32)$3,801.68
Year End[70]January 31, 2014$3,801$4,297$(2,158)$5,940
April Quarterly[71]April 15, 2014$5,940$5,903$(4,627)$7,215
Running totals
$18,491$(11,274.32)
Sam Clovis (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
July Quarterly[72]July 15, 2013$0.00$14,132.48$(2,328.62)$11,803.86
October Quarterly[73]October 15, 2013$11,803.86$78,426.98$(51,660.18)$38,570.66
Running totals
$92,559.46$(53,988.8)
Matt Whitaker (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
July Quarterly[74]July 15, 2013$0.00$115,332.07$(4,087.66)$111,244.41
October Quarterly[75]October 15, 2013$111,244.41$104,557.61$(34,977.49)$180,824.53
Year End[76]January 31, 2014$180,824$111,071$(59,803)$232,092
April Quarterly[77]April 15, 2014$232,092$107,334$(50,340)$289,087
Running totals
$438,294.68$(149,208.15)

Outside spending

In August 2013, the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced a new effort that targeted representative Bruce Braley called, “batting for Obamacare.”[78] The group planned on releasing seven billboards in Des Moines accusing Braley of hurting Iowans by supporting Obamacare.[78] The billboards had a baseball theme, with four versions of a scoreboard that cited families, farmers, seniors and small businesses as the losers when it comes to the federal healthcare law.[78] As part of the effort the group launched a website, WrongTeamBraley.com, which showed Braley wearing a baseball cap with the Obama campaign logo.[78]

Media


Bruce Braley's May 2014 ad, "Mom."

Bruce Braley's May 2014 ad, "Equal Justice."

Bruce Braley

  • Even though he faced no primary challenger, Bruce Braley came out a week before the primary with a biographical ad touting his resume as a lawyer, describing it as one of fighting for people and helping them solve their problems.[79]
    • “Equal justice under the law is what this country is built upon, is one of the things that motivated me to want to become a lawyer, and fight for people,” Braley said in the ad.[79]
  • Just before Mother's Day, the second television ad of Bruce Braley's campaign highlighted the impact Marcia Braley--Bruce's mom--had on his life.[80]
    • Braley said in the ad, “My mom is an incredible inspiration to me, and she's had a big impact on my life. She grew up in the Great Depression and taught us to work hard, put family first, and spend money wisely. But most importantly, she taught me to never give up no matter how tough things were. I’m running for Senate because I’m determined to fight for working families like the one I grew up in.”[80]

Mark Jacobs


May 19, 2014, ad, "The wrong direction."

May 20, 2014, ad, "Outsider."

Mark Jacobs' first ad buy of the campaign, "Jobs and Opportunity."
  • Mark Jacobs released two ads in May 2014. One, "The wrong direction," focused on Obamacare and the other, "Outsider," showed Jacobs as a Washington outsider.[81]
  • Jacobs (R) released the first ads of the campaign with a $138,000 December 2013 ad buy and another $75,000 ad buy in January 2014.[82][83] He also released a radio ad in early December 2013.[84]

Joni Ernst


Joni Ernst's March 2014 ad, "Squeal."

Joni Ernst's March 2014 ad, "Shot."

Joni Ernst's May 2014 ad, "Never."

Joni Ernst's May 2014 ad, "Long Way."

Joni Ernst's June 2014 ad, "Values."
  • Joni Ernst released a 30-second ad on March 24, 2014, "Squeal." The ad began with Ernst saying, "I can castrate pigs so I am the perfect conservative for Iowa to send to the Senate."[85][86] She also said in the ad, "I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork. Washington’s full of big spenders. Let’s make ’em squeal.”[86]
  • Ernst's second ad, "Shot," was released on May 4, 2014.[87]
    • "Conservative Joni Ernst: mom, farm girl and a lieutenant colonel who carries more than just lipstick in her purse. Joni Ernst will take aim at wasteful spending. And when she sets her sights on Obamacare, Joni's going to unload," the narrator said in the ad.[87]
  • Ernst's third ad, "Never," criticized challenger Mark Jacobs.[88]
    • "Why is Mark Jacobs falsely attacking Joni Ernst? Because Jacobs is from Texas, not Iowa. Jacobs supported this guy's cap and trade and Mark Jacobs gave thousands to Democrats, even the guy who cast the deciding vote for Obamacare," the narrator said.[88]
  • A week before the Republican primary, Ernst released another ad, "Long Way."[89]
    • In the ad, Ernst said: "I'm Joni Ernst and I approved this message, because this is home. I grew up walking beans on our family farm. The church I grew up in is the church where our daughter was baptized. Hard work. Love of country. This is where I learned America's greatness comes from people, not government. It's a long way from Red Oak to Washington. But I'm asking for your vote, because I'll take our values there, instead of the other way around."[89]
  • Ernst released an ad on June 16, 2014, that went after Rep. Bruce Braley for running a negative campaign.[90]

Outside groups


ConcernedVets' July 2014 ad, "AWOL."

American Heartland's May 2014 ad, "When Nobody Was Looking."

Priorities for Iowa's March 2014 ad, "Not for Sale."

Marco Rubio's PAC Reclaim America's May 2014 ad for Joni Ernst, "Leader."

Americans for Prosperity's January 2014 ad, "Tell Congressman Braley: Obamacare is Hurting Iowa Families."

Americans for Prosperity's June 2014 ad, "Bruce Braley Supports Special Interests."

American Crossroads' August 2014 ad, "Braley's War on Chickens."

NextGen Climate Action's July 2014 ad, "Joni Ernst's Pledge."

Ending Spending Action's October 2014 ad, "Wrong."

American Crossroads

Following a May 2014 incident involving chickens, American Crossroads, a Karl Rove-backed conservative super PAC, released an online ad referencing the confrontation between Braley and his neighbor and attempted to portray him as "an arrogant trial lawyer-turned-politician who is anything but 'Iowa nice.'"[91]

NextGen Climate Action

The NextGen Climate Action released an ad in July 2014 that targeted state Sen. Joni Ernst for signing Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge to oppose "any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses."[92] The commercial was part of a five-week, $2.6 million ad buy and aimed to tie Ernst to oil companies and the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers.[92]

ConcernedVets

The Koch-backed group ConcernedVets released an ad, "AWOL," that attacked Bruce Braley (D) for missing Veterans Affair Committee hearings to attend campaign fundraisers in July 2014.[93]

Americans for Prosperity

  • On January 27, 2014, Senate Majority PAC launched its $225,000 television ad buy for Bruce Braley (D), in an effort to fight back against a $500,000 ad campaign by Americans for Prosperity.[95]
    • In the ad, the narrator addressed the new healthcare law, “You’ve seen the ads – out-of-state billionaires playing politics with health care. The truth? Bruce Braley knows we need to fix the health care law, make it work for Iowa and hold insurance companies accountable. He knows we can’t go back to letting insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and kick people off their coverage when they get sick.”[95]

American Heartland

A new Republican super PAC launched an ad attack against Mark Jacobs in May 2014. The ad accused Jacobs, the former CEO of Houston-based Reliant Energy who put more than $1.6 million of his own money into the race, of being a “Texas millionaire” who waffled in his political views. The PAC, which was incorporated in 2013, had not previously been active.[96]

Senate Majority PAC


Senate Majority PAC's January 2014 ad, "Oil Billionaires."

Senate Majority PAC's April 2014 ad, "Roots."

Priorities for Iowa

  • The Director of Priorities for Iowa, Sara Craig, said in a statement: “Bruce Braley was caught on video saying what he really thinks, and his apology doesn’t really hold up. His comments have created a national firestorm, but now all Iowans need to understand the full context. He isn’t just insulting Sen. Grassley, Iowa farmers, or people without law degrees, he is trying to sell a seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, telling Texas trial lawyers he’ll be their ‘voice’ on the Committee. We need our next Senator to be Iowa’s voice, not the voice of trial lawyers.”[97]

Reclaim America

  • Sen. Marco Rubio's PAC, Reclaim America, launched a $121,000 ad, "Leader," that described Joni Ernst (R) as "exceptional."[98]
    • "This year, an exceptional Iowan is running for the U.S. Senate. Joni Ernst served our country in Iraq and led the largest battalion in the Iowa National Guard. Joni Ernst fought for, and won, the largest property tax cut in Iowa history. But most importantly, Joni Ernst is a mother, grandmother and Sunday school teacher - Iowa values to the core. Joni Ernst - she'll make us proud," the narrator said.[98]

Endorsements

Joni Ernst

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Joni Ernst on May 13, 2014.[99]
    • "Joni understands that big government is an impediment to job creation, and that the best way to turn the economy around and create jobs is through pro-growth economic policies. The U.S Chamber is proud to stand with Joni and highlight her work removing regulatory barriers and encouraging competition in Iowa. In today’s economy, that’s the type of leadership we need in Washington," Chamber Political Director Rob Engstrom said in a statement.[99]
    • The group launched an ad that emphasized her farm-family upbringing and military credentials the week before the Republican primary.[100]
  • The National Rifle Association gave Joni Ernst an "A" rating and endorsement on May 13, 2014.[101]
    • “Joni Ernst has consistently opposed all attempts to restrict gun rights and has been a true friend of the Second Amendment,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA’s Political Victory Fund.[101]
  • Sen. Marco Rubio endorsed Ernst on May 5, 2014.[102][103]
    • Rubio spent $210,000 in independent expenditures for Ernst prior to the primary.[103]
  • Sarah Palin endorsed Joni Ernst on March 26, 2014.[9]
    • In a Facebook post, Palin wrote: "If Nebraska’s Deb Fischer can see through the bull in Washington, then Iowa’s Joni Ernst can help her cut through the pork. Growing up on a hog farm in Southwest Iowa, Joni has taken her 'pork cutting' skills to the Iowa State Senate where she has been a champion for life, small government, and lower taxes – voting for the largest tax cut in Iowa history. In Washington, she has pledged to defund Obamacare, limit the size of government, and protect life. As a concealed weapon license holder, she will fight to defend our Second Amendment rights – the NRA has given her an A rating."[9]
  • Mitt Romney endorsed Ernst in an email sent to a substantial number of his backers in Iowa on March 5, 2014.[10] In the email he wrote, "...Now, more than ever, we need someone who will demand fiscal responsibility in Washington and will put up a strong fight against Obamacare. Mother, soldier and proven conservative, Joni Ernst, is ready to do just that. Join our efforts by making a contribution to Joni’s campaign today. Any and every contribution will make a difference."[10]
  • Republican activist David Oman endorsed Ernst (R) on March 3, 2014.[104]

Matt Whitaker

Bruce Braley

  • At Tom Harkin's 36th Annual Steak Fry in September 2013, the proceeds of which went toward To Organize a Majority PAC, several key Democratic members endorsed Bruce Braley for Harkin's seat.[107]
    • “Folks, you have been so kind and generous to me in all of the years I have represented you in both the House and 30 years in the Senate,” Harkin said. “I want you to know there is only one person I want to pass that baton to, and that’s our next United States’ senator, Bruce Braley.”[107]
  • Vice President Joe Biden also endorsed Braley.[107]“I’ve gotten to get to know Bruce,” Biden said. “Tom admires him, and it’s why I think he is going to be a great senator. He is absolutely authentic. I told Bruce I would come campaign for him or against him, whichever would help him most.”[107]
  • Gabrielle Giffords, and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, took part in a fundraiser in Des Moines on October 27, 2013.[108]

Debates

Republican primary

The Iowa Broadcast News Association sponsored a 90 minute debate for Republican candidates on May 3, 2014. The debate was part of the group’s annual convention.[110]

Election history

2014

U.S. Senate, Iowa General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Bruce Braley 43.8% 494,370
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJoni Ernst 52.1% 588,575
     Libertarian Douglas Butzier 0.7% 8,232
     Independent Rick Stewart 2.4% 26,815
     Independent Ruth Smith 0.4% 4,724
     Independent Bob Quast 0.5% 5,873
     Write-in Other 0.1% 1,111
Total Votes 1,129,700
Source: Iowa Secretary of State Official Results

2010

On November 2, 2010, Grassley won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Roxanne Conlin (D) and John Heiderscheit (L) in the general election.[111]

U.S. Senate, Iowa General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngChuck Grassley Incumbent 64.4% 718,215
     Democratic Roxanne Conlin 33.3% 371,686
     Libertarian John Heiderscheit 2.3% 25,290
Total Votes 1,115,191

2008

On November 4, 2008, Tom Harkin won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Christopher Reed (R) in the general election.[112]

U.S. Senate, Iowa General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTom Harkin incumbent 62.7% 941,665
     Republican Christopher Reed 37.3% 560,006
Total Votes 1,501,671

See also

External links

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