Summer Politics Kickoff

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The Associated Press released a summary of the Iowa primary races over the Memorial Day weekend and tomorrow the voting will end, framing the summer and fall campaign. Going into election day, here is what to watch for:

The front window race is for U.S. Senate, between Rep. Bruce Braley and whoever emerges from the field of five Republicans. State Senator Joni Ernst of Red Oak is leading former business executive Mark Jacobs in the polls. Both of them are ahead of the remainder of a field that includes Sam Clovis of Sioux City, Mark Whitaker of Ankeny and Scott Schaben of Ames.

“My opponents will be tripping over themselves to see who can come up with the most extreme ideas to get their base riled up,” said Braley in a recent statement. “Iowa could very well determine control of the Senate this year. We are the force that could stop extreme Republicans from taking over.”

Considering the Iowa electorate and our relatively close margins in recent presidential years, an Ernst nominee from the Republicans would be better for Braley’s campaign because of the need to appeal to voters in the middle of the political spectrum. Ernst would polarize, Braley would draw from the middle. As Braley’s recent television commercial indicates, his appeal is to the middle.

It is not clear any Republican Senate candidate could garner the required 35 percent to win the nomination during the primary. For those with the stomach for it, the Iowa Republican’s Kevin Hall discusses this Republican issue here. Blog for Iowa will cover Braley’s race closely.

Here is a breakdown of the other primary races for federal office:

First Congressional District:

Democrats: Swati Dandekar of Cedar Rapids, Anesa Kajtazovic of Waterloo, Pat Murphy of Dubuque, Dave O’Brien of Cedar Rapids and Monica Vernon, also of Cedar Rapids. Blog for Iowa believes Swati Dandekar belongs in the Republican primary due to her close ties with conservative business interests. This is not a new opinion.

“Dubuque businessman Ron Blum leads a Republican field that includes Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje, who has run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate and House, and Marshalltown lawyer Gail Boliver,” according to the Associated Press.

Second Congressional District:

Democrat Dave Loebsack will face the winner of a Republican field that includes Mark Lofgren, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and Matthew Waldren. Miller-Meeks seems convinced she will win. A MMM primary win would be welcomed by Team Loebsack because there is nothing new to see there, except ferreting out the extend of her involvement in the settlement scandal.

Third Congressional District:

Former Democratic State Senator Stacey Appel of Ackworth will face the winner of a Republican field that includes six candidates: Bob Cramer, Joe Grandanette, Monte Shaw, Matt Schultz, David Young, and Brad Zaun. The Republican nomination seems unlikely to be decided tomorrow, and may go to convention.

Fourth Congressional District:

Democrat Jim Mowrer will face incumbent Steve King in the general election, as both are unopposed in the primary.

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~ Written for Blog for Iowa

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