October 25, 2014

Huckabee campaigns for Republican Senate candidate Ernst

Joni Ernst and Mike Huckabee in Sioux City.

Joni Ernst and Mike Huckabee in Sioux City.

The winner of the 2008 Iowa Republican Caucuses was in Iowa Tuesday campaigning for US. Senate candidate Joni Ernst.

Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee campaigned in Sioux City, where he says electing Ernst to the Senate is not only important for Iowa, but also for the whole nation.

“She’ll be the first woman to be elected as any member of the Congressional delegation in all of Iowa. But it’s not just because she is a female that she deserves to be elected,” Huckabee says. “That’s important, I think women should have far greater representation in the House and Senate and executive offices across the land. This isn’t about electing her just because of her gender. This is about electing her because of her superior ideas and qualifications.”

Huckabee says if Republicans gain control of the Senate that means legislation will actually make it through congress. “Harry Reed has created nothing less than the Roach Motel of the U.S. Senate, where bills go in but they never come out,” Huckabee says. He says some 360 bills have passed, but they have never left Reed’s office for discussion, debate or a vote.

It was the first of two stops for Huckabee and Ernst, as they also campaigned in Council Bluffs. Ernst is running against Democrat Bruce Braley.

(Reporting and photo by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)


Michelle Obama in for Braley, Mike Huckabee in for Ernst today

First Lady Michele Obama returns to Iowa today to campaign for Democrat Senate candidate Bruce Braley.

First Lady Michele Obama returns to Iowa today to campaign for Democrat Senate candidate Bruce Braley.

Prominent party voices continue to stream into Iowa to campaign with the two major party candidates for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat.

First Lady Michelle Obama will headline a rally at the University of Iowa today with Democrat Bruce Braley. Last week Republican Joni Ernst’s campaign sent out video links of late-night comics who’ve made fun of the first lady for misstating Braley’s name seven times during an event at Drake University. Ernst herself brought it up with reporters on Monday.

“This is kind of her ‘Mulligan’ event, I think, to try and get things right after she messed up so badly the last time she was in town,” Ernst said.

On Wednesday evening, Ernst will be on the University of Iowa campus for a rally with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will make stops in Sioux City and Council Bluffs today with Ernst.

During her solo stops, Ernst is stressing her work as a Republican state senator. Braley’s been traveling the state focusing attention on issues like retirement security. On Sunday during a rally in Des Moines, Braley got a big crowd reaction with this statement: “Unlike Joni Ernst, I will never ever vote to privatize your Social Security.”

Ernst has said it might be an option for younger workers. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a rising populist voice in the Democratic Party, campaigned alongside Braley on Sunday. A dozen current members of the U.S. Senate have flown to Iowa this year to campaign on behalf of either Braley or Ernst and that pace will continue through Election Day.

Donald Trump to headline King for Congress fundraiser in Iowa Saturday


Donald Trump

Businessman Donald Trump — the star of the reality TV series “The Apprentice” — is coming to Iowa this Saturday to headline a private fundraiser for Republican Congressman Steve King.

“I’ve known Steve for a long time and I’ve respected him and I respect his views very greatly,” Trump said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “He’s very, very strong on repealing and replacing ObamaCare and ISIS and so many other things — stopping flights in from west Africa, with the Ebola crisis, which is just common sense.”

Trump said “any and all flights” arriving and departing from west Africa should be halted.

“Ebola’s a disaster if it gets into the country,” Trump said. “…At this moment, over 150 people a day are coming into the United States from what they call ‘hot spots’…the areas that are really most strongly affected and you see what’s happened with just a couple of people in Dallas and it’s like turmoil and panic in Dallas and then you have a nurse that goes flying back and forth from Cleveland and now so many people could be — and maybe they won’t and hopefully they won’t — but they could be affected.”

Trump fueled speculation that he might run for president in 2012 by dispatching an aide to Iowa for a “fact-finding” mission in May of 2011. Trump on Thursday told Radio Iowa there’ll be a “big discussion” about the GOP presidential field for 2016 right after November’s election.

“We’re going to have some very good people…and lots of people, including me, will be making a decision after January, I would say, and it’ll be very interesting to see what happens,” Trump said. “I don’t see Mitt Romney because he had it won. I mean, it should have been won and something happened to him in the last moments of that campaign and he lost a race that absolutely should have been won, so, you know, that was very unfortunate, but he had his chance and, unfortunately, he blew it.”

AUDIO of Trump’s Radio Iowa interview, 4:45

Congressman King has had other possible 2016 presidential candidates like Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie campaign on his behalf and King considers Trump’s trip a signal Trump is “testing” the idea of running for president.

“When people of that profile come to Iowa, they’re not telling us that they’re taking it off the table,” King told Radio Iowa.

King and Trump were both featured speakers at an event in New Hampshire this past April and King said that’s when Trump offered to headline a “King for Congress” fundraiser.

“He’s one of those absolutely unique American personalities,” King said. “He’s got a flair and a pizzazz for everything he does. He’s got an eye for what the market wants. He’s got an eye for what people want, so I’m looking forward to just watching him operate in the room.”

King’s fundraiser will be held late Saturday afternoon at a private home in West Des Moines.

Santorum ‘concerned’ by how GOP leaders have steered 2014 races


Rick Santorum

The presidential candidate who won Iowa’s Caucuses in 2012 is back in Iowa today to encourage Christian conservatives in eastern Iowa to vote. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said he’s “concerned” by how leaders in the Republican Party have steered the 2014 election.

“You’ve seen Republican leaders scolding the Tea Party, distancing themselves from social conservative issues — doing things which make absolutely no sense, but make even less sense in an off-year election where your base turnout is everything,” Santorum told Radio Iowa.

Santorum said in a year when President Obama is so unpopular, Republican candidates around the country should be farther ahead than they are and, according to Santorum, this divide he sees in his party is the reason why.

“You see a lot of Republicans who are just simply disaffected and are not going to come out because they feel like neither party is standing for them,” Santorum said.

Early this afternoon, Santorum joined a group of conservatives who’ve embarked on a bus tour of the state for an event in Dubuque. This evening Santorum will speak at “house parties” in Davenport and Dubuque that have been organized by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition. Santorum said his message to Christian conservatives in Iowa and throughout the country is that the Republican Party’s platform “still stands squarely” on the issues they care about.

“You know, I’m sorry we have (party) leaders who don’t understand that the Republican platform says what it says nor do they necessarily want to stand by it,” Santorum said. “But we do have a broad swath of the Republican Party and members of the House and Senate who do believe those things and they’re the ones that have to be empowered.”

A new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” testing the ground for the 2016 Republican presidential race has found Santorum is the first choice of just three percent of likely Republican Caucus goers. Santorum, who is “seriously” considering another bid for the White House, doesn’t find that “daunting.” Santorum said that’s probably three times better than where he started last time around.

“I don’t worry very much about polls,” Santorum said, “particularly given the fact that it’s not like I’ve been out there in the public eye a whole lot in the past two and a half years.”

Santorum spoke with Radio Iowa as he was driving through Maquoketa and he noted Jackson County was the 99th stop on his 99-county tour of Iowa back in 2011 when he was running for president.

Romney back in Iowa to campaign with Ernst (AUDIO)

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney — the 2012 Republican presidential nominee — campaigned in Iowa today with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst.

“She’s going to be an extraordinary breath of fresh air in Washington,” Romney said. “I can’t wait ’til she goes there and makes ‘em squeal, can you? It’s going to be wonderful.”

Romney, of course, is referring to Ernst’s primary campaign ad in which she talked about her farm roots and castrating pigs.

Romney campaigned with Ernst in eastern Iowa on May30th, right after he endorsed Ernst as she was competing against five other Republicans for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination. On Sunday Romney was in central Iowa, headlining an Ernst campaign rally at the Iowa Farm Bureau heaadquarters in West Des Moines. Both Ernst and Romney referred to remarks President Obama made last week about this year’s election.

“(Obama) said in this race that his policies are on the ballot,” Romnney said. “but Iowa voted for President Obama twice, but Iowa is not going to vote for Bill Braley and vote for him a third time, that’s for sure.”

That “Bill” Braley reference was Romney’s way of highlighting First Lady Michelle Obama’s verbal missteps last Friday when she called Braley “Bailey” seven times at a rally for Braley in Des Moines before the crowd yelled out Braley’s name. Ernst, who spoke three times as long as Romney did this evening, urged the crowd of 150 to vote early and volunteer to seek out other voters.

“Iowa is excited about the opportunity to have not just one Republican United States Senator, but two Republican United States Senators,” Ernst said, to cheers.

Romney and Ernst plan to rally with supporter Monday in Cedar Rapids.

AUDIO of event in West Des Moines, 33:00

O’Malley urges Iowa Democrats to ‘sing a song of hope…better days’ (AUDIO)

Martin O'Malley

Martin O’Malley

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, is back in Iowa this weekend to rally with Iowa Democrats. He started his Saturday in Ottumwa and spoke to about two dozen party volunteers gathered at a get-out-the-vote office in Des Moines early this afternoon.

“The work that you’re about to do when you go out there and knock on those doors and go into what a lot of people are feeling kind of down about, the state of their democracy, you have an opportunity to sing a song of hope and a song of better days,” O’Malley said.

AUDIO of O’Malley’s remarks, 5:00

This is O’Malley’s fourth trip to Iowa this year, but beyond that investment of his personal time, O’Malley has invested money from his political action committee to hire nearly a dozen staff members who’ve been working on campaigns for Iowa Democratic candidates since early September. Brad Anderson, the Democratic candidate for Iowa Secretary of State, said “there are few people” who have been more helpful to Iowa Democrats in 2014.

“He’s been an enormous help to me personally and he has been an enormous help to Democrats across the state,” Anderson said. “He has traveled from the Missouri to the Mississippi River firing up Democrats.”

O’Malley’s pep talk, though, included an acknowledgment that despite the nation’s economic recovery, middle class wages seem to be “flat-lining.”

“We need more people to get their heads and their hearts around the problems we face as a people and let’s be honest, there’s a fair amount of pessimism out there for good reason,” O’Malley said. “I mean, there’s a lot of darkness in this world. You only need to turn on the TV to see that.”

During an interview afterwards, O’Malley said if Democrats “are going to lead” they have to address “the essential issue” that worries voters: the economy.

“We have to be honest about the challenges we face and the reality of our present is we are going to have any credilibity for offering better choices that move us forward,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley is a two-term Maryland governor who has signed into law an increase in his state’s minimum wage. He also signed a bill into law that grants same-sex couples the right to marry in Maryland. O’Malley, though, didn’t talk today about his work as governor. He briefly mentioned his tenure as mayor of Baltimore and hinted at his affinity for music. O’Malley, who carries a guitar pick in his billfold, plays and sings in his own band and he sent the party volunteers on their way with lyrics written by a British folk band.

“I leave you with the words of that great chorus from the band /Passenger.: ‘So sing and sing at the top of your voice; love without fear in your hearts,” O’Malley said, drawing chuckles from some and an “Amen” from one of the volunteers. “And feel — feel like you still have a choice. If we all light up, we can scare away the dark.’ Go knock on doors.”

O’Malley later noted that he had merely recited the lyrics and refrained from singing them. O’Malley does plan to play at the Braley fundraiser later this weekend.

Three potential 2016 presidential candidates rally with Iowa Christian conservatives

A trio of GOP prospects for the 2016 presidential campaign rallied with 700 Republicans Saturday night in Iowa, with messages sometimes exclusively focused beyond this November’s election.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz opened his speech at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition banquet with a shot at the woman expected to seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

“In the news today, somebody else was stopped climbing the White House fence,” Cruz said. “They said: ‘I’m sorry Hillary. Not yet.”

At the end of his speech, Cruz said Republican victories in 2014 set the stage for a Republican president who, in 2017, will repeal the Affordable Care Act. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal offered the audience a long critique of the Obama presidency, too.

“There are many things that worry me about President Obama and what he is doing to our country…but a lot of that could be reversed with a conservative leader in D.C.,” Jindal said.

Jindal and Cruz were scheduled speakers at the event, but Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan also stopped by after he appeared at a private fundraiser in Des Moines for Joni Ernst, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa. Ryan, too, hinted that Republican victories in 2014 could be a harbinger for 2016.

“The world is watching, which way will America go,” Ryan said. “Will this be eight years of a pause of going in the wrong direction, or an exception, or will this be a trend of things to come? Posterity’s being made right now.”

Listen to all three speeches here.