Democrats believe they can repeat the Blue Wave from 2018 this November and take back not just the White House but the Senate. Although Iowa has grown redder since Barack Obama won the state in 2012, there's a possibility that Democrats can defeat first-term Sen. Joni Ernst with ... someone. Her likely opponent is Theresa Greenfield, who has never held elected office and who no one knows.

Greenfield is a real estate executive who previously ran for the House of Representatives in Iowa's third Congressional district. She dropped out of the primary after her campaign manager, Noah Wasserman, admitted faking signatures on petition paperwork required to get her name on the ballot. When Greenfield learned the truth, she fired Wasserman and scrambled to collect new signatures from Iowans not named "I.M. Fake" but fell short. Cindy Axne eventually won the primary and defeated Republican incumbent David Young, helping Democrats flip the House. It's unclear why Axne isn't the one running for Senate given her proven record of collecting real signatures.

According to a pre-primary report cover April 1 to March 13, Greenfield raised $1.5 million, slightly more than Ernst's $1.2 million -- although the senator has almost twice as much money in the bank.

Greenfield describes herself as a “scrappy farm kid," and while I can't verify the extent of her puppy power, she did grow up on the conveniently named Greenfield Farm, where she did honest-to-God farm work such as driving tractors, baling hay, and feeding hogs. Greenfield promised to "bring her farm-kid values and plain-spoken, get-it-done attitude" to Congress.

GREENFIELD: Iowans know it will take Iowa values – mixed with a heavy dose of can-do common sense – to overcome the problems we face here and in Washington.

John Mellencamp - Small Town

A May survey from Public Policy Polling showed Ernst just a single point ahead of Greenfield. Donald Trump won the state by almost 10 points. Almost three out of four Iowans have no opinion of Greenfield, but she's still effectively tied with an incumbent senator. Ernst's 37 percent approval rating isn't helping matters, and she can't even blame the bleach-boosting president because Trump's approval in the state is significantly better.

Ernst's politics are as awful as your average Republican, but she's cranked up the scuzziness lately. She's suggested that Republicans would impeach a President Joe Biden out of spite, which is consistent with how they impeached President Bill Clinton and obstructed President Obama. Spite is their jam.

She also tried to shamelessly interfere in the Iowa Democratic caucus, as if it wouldn't have its own problems with technology and math-related vote counting. During Trump's impeachment trial for actual crimes, Ernst announced that she was “very interested" to see whether Republicans' baseless smears and hackneyed conspiracies would “inform and influence" how voters viewed Biden. Because the true point of a presidential impeachment is to show the world how corrupt his political opponent is.

So, yes, Ernst needs to go, and while we'd support any Democrat who made that happen, it's worth pedantically noting that there are other candidates running in the Democratic primary: Michael Franken, Kimberly Graham, Eddie Mauro, and Cal Woods. A leading Democratic super PAC has gone all in on Greenfield, spending $6 million on TV ads intended to remind Iowans that Greenfield exists, and another has spent $1 million attacking Franken, a former three-star Navy admiral who actually grew up in Iowa. EMILY's List, which supports Greenfield, has labeled Franken a "Washington, D.C. defense contractor." Politicians regularly decry Washington but will sell their souls for a one-way ticket to the Capitol.

Mauro, a Des Moines businessman, is also tied in head-to-head polls with Ernst. It looks like anyone can take her, which explains the circular firing squad leading up to the June 2 primary. Mauro's campaign has polled general election voters about his opponents' perceived negatives, including Greenfield's campaign manager pleading out to felony election misconduct and Franken's million-dollar home in Virginia. People who serve in the armed forces tend to move around a lot and even spend extended periods in the D.C. area. I can't explain attempted voter fraud. That seems like something Republicans will bring up.

[Politico / The Hill / The Gazette]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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