SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Toby Keith’s music rang from speakers when Senator Joni Ernst, an energy drinker, worked in a crowd of bikers near the Nebraska border, shaking hands and hugging.
The human-sized Trump signs stood in the parking lot of the Harley-Davidson store under a bright, almost blue sky, but gloom was heard in the voices of some of Republican Ernst’s supporters. There was one number in their heads: 100 million.
That’s how much her Democratic rival entrepreneur Theresa Greenfield’s allies are pumping into the most expensive antique race she’s ever seen. The attacks, which bombard the airwaves – through college football matches and conservative talk radio shows – paint the senator a villain to abolish social security and medical benefits for the population.
Six years after taking over Republican Senate control as perhaps the highest member of the ghost class, Ms Ernst, 50, is in a difficult re-election race to symbolize her party’s struggle to keep the Senate majority and the weakened President at the top of the ticket.
Ms. Ernst, who hugged the president harshly, even when his situation fell, has tracked down Mr. Greenfield and in a recent New York Times-Siena survey, both Iowa negatively rated her as well as those who had a positive opinion. The poll highlighted the bitter reality when the first woman represented Iowa in Congress: D. Trump’s troubles, especially over female voters, do real damage to Republicans during the vote.
The party in the Senate has an advantage from 53 to 47, but as many as eight of its current officials are in danger of losing in hot competition. This includes other 2014 Class stars that are believed to have been part of a promising new generation of Republicans, including Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, Steve Daines of Montana, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, and David Perdue of Georgia.
Ms. Ernst is widely regarded as a bell candidate who will rise or fall along with her party and with D. Trump. Almost no one believes Republicans can retain Senate control if Ms. Ernst loses.
2016 The president has won Iowa by more than 9 percentage points, but is now lagging behind or statistically tied to state polls with former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democrat candidate.
Although Ms. Ernst occasionally parted ways with the president, she opposed, for example, Trump’s tariffs and supported the removal of the confederate military leaders’ names from military bases, she more often embraced him.
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At the Harley-Davidson event in Sioux, Ms Ernst, who addressed a Republican national convention this year and was once seen as a potential friend of Mr Trump, called on her supporters to draw a “red line in the sand”. “Before attacking liberalism, supporting the president, reiterating the message of his campaign.
Later, speaking to reporters, Ms Ernst said she did not believe Trump’s declining popularity in Iowa would not hurt her, and said he could still conquer suburban women who turned against him. However, she hurried to add that she was “running my own campaign” and even suggested that several Iowa residents could cross party lines by voting for Mr. Biden and her.
“There may be questions when people disagree with the president, but they will support me,” Ms Ernst said. “So really those Iowaians have to make and make a decision, but I hope they recognize that Iowa is where I was born and raised, and Iowa is the people I care about.”
Karen Chapman Catt, a professor of political science at Aien State University and director of the Center for Women and Politics, said Karen M. Kedrowski said Trump had become “toxic” in some parts of the state, which could affect Republicans who were not isolated enough from him.
“Their destinies are intertwined,” Mr. Ernst and Mr. Trump spoke about. Kedrowski. “There is such dissatisfaction with the Trump administration that it is detrimental to the Republican vote.”
Ms Ernst entered the Senate on the basis of a compelling Make ‘Em Squeal announcement, promising to reduce wasted spending castrating pigs on her family farm. She soon became the only woman on Senator Mitch McConnell’s leadership team and spoke powerfully about the rape and violence she was experiencing in the immediate environment.
Ms. Ernst’s Ms. Greenfield presents a much bigger challenge than Bruce Braley, a former gaff-inclined former congressman whom she easily defeated more than 8 percentage points six years ago.
In her biography, which resonates with Iowa, Ms. Greenfield proved to be a disciplined messenger when she saw Ms. Ernst in pocket books, for example, in health care, emphasizing her origins as a military mother and “orphaned child” who grew up in the nearby south. Minnesota.
She wears a flannel shirt on TV commercials. Sit in front of your Des Moines house with logs of wood, Ms. Greenfield says she is chopping herself. “I grew up pretty poor, I had to tell you,” she likes to say.
The roots of her farm were demonstrated during a televised debate on Thursday night when she answered the question about the price of corn in the state correctly, and Ms Ernst was shocked by the follow-up to the price of soybeans.
“You grew up on a farm,” Ms. Ernst said Ron Steele, head of knowledge in Hungary, who was the host of the discussion. – You should know that.
Last weekend, Ms. Ernst rode a motorcycle across the state, Ms. Greenfield was on a Smith family farm in downtown Buffalo, near Iowa’s northern border, talking about health care, crossing out on fresh pig manure and shooting bugs from her neck.
“It’s complete bias, but she’s a farm girl,” said farmer Jody Smith, 65, explaining why she decided to support Ms Greenfield. “I know she has learned to work hard. In Washington, she can oppose anyone. “
Ms. Greenfield led the thorough competition, introducing herself as a centrist. She does not belittle Trump’s supporters and criticizes the Democratic Party for not focusing enough on community colleges.
She also has her own compelling history of overcoming personal tragedies. Her first husband died at the scene of an accident when she was 24 years old and was pregnant with her second child. The family survived on Social Security benefits.
“Becoming a young widow changed my life,” she said. – I had no way to pay the bills.
After receiving a united democratic message from party leaders in Washington, Ms. Greenfield continued to focus on the health care issue, re-hitting Ms. Ernst for her votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its acceptance of a false claim stemmed from the conspiracy theory that the number of coronavirus victims had been increased.
Political action committees involving Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat and minority leader, poured tens of millions of dollars into the race, targeting Ms Ernst.
“Senator Ernst cannot be trusted with health care,” he says. Greenfield, calling it the most important race issue.
Mrs. Ernst tried to answer. When Mr. Sumer forced a recent vote to ban the Trump administration from arguing for the repeal of the health care law, Ms Ernst stopped her party from voting with Democrats. She repeatedly apologized for a comment questioning the number of coronavirus victims.
“I am very sorry that my words may have offended you,” Ms Ernst spoke to healthcare professionals during a recent debate. “You are a huge employee. You are a necessary worker. “
In an attempt to save the place, the Republican Senate campaign unit began publishing records of its attacks on Ms Greenfield’s business, accusing her of “poor work” and “breach of contract” – accusing property developers of disputes.
Ms Ernst also highlighted Ms Greenfield’s unsuccessful move into politics in 2018, when she briefly ran for Congress, but withdrew her proposal after the former campaign leader admitted to forging signatures on petition documents.
Some Iowa have said they were turned off by the negative lady against Ernst.
“The things that are being advertised against her make me want to slap them,” said Denny Gergen, 69, a grain and soybean grower from northwest Iowa and one of the bikers who appeared to support Mrs. Ernst. “Yeah, I know, hey, it’s politics, but it’s just dirty.”
Ms Ernst saw hope when Mr Trump appointed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, saying the struggle for approval would encourage the Conservatives and encourage them to vote to support it. She returned to Washington from the campaign trail to attend meetings, highlighting Judge Barretto’s status as a powerful conservative woman.
But Ms Ernst also tried to occupy a medium tone when discussing the consequences of Judge Barretto’s promotion to the Supreme Court, noting that she once supported a protest buffer zone around abortion clinics.
“I think the chances of the caviar against Wade being overthrown are very minimal,” Ms Ernst said, citing a benchmark decision establishing federal abortion rights. – I don’t see that happening.
During her motorcycle travel in Iowa, Ms. Ernst issued a report that echoed Trump’s idea as she warned voters of a bleak future if Ms. Greenfield defeats her and Democrats take over Senate control. A democratic victory, she said, stopping Des Moines would mean taking over the U.S. in terms of “extreme liberal interests,” “extreme environmentalists,” and “extreme abortionists.”
“All of these things lead us on an ugly path to socialism,” Ms. Ernst said.
She then told the bikers hanging on every word to get ready to ride. “We will show the state of Iowa that we are still standing behind President Trump,” she said. “We stand and intend to follow this red line in the United States Senate.”
At the time, Ms. Ernst pulled her hair out of her tail, jumped on the Harley, turned the engine over, and took off, leading a small biker army east of the city, American flags flying from the back of their motorcycle, many adorned with bold letters: “TRUMP.”