Iowa is considered one of the 11 “battleground” states in the presidential race.
Iowa’s “toss-up” status is one reason Donald Trump made stops in Cedar Rapids and Davenport last week and is due to hold a rally in Des Moines on Friday. Iowa’s Republican governor, Terry Branstad, offers this advice to Trump: “It’s not rocket science. He needs to connect with the people, which I think he’s doing effectively and he needs to be very focused and disciplined at getting the message across that America’s at a critical crossroads.”
Tom Vilsack, the former Democratic governor of Iowa, says it’s important for Hillary Clinton and her supporters to “draw contrasts” with Trump.
“And I think it is important in this particular context, with Mr. Trump’s resume being as thin as it is that people understand and appreciate exactly what he is and what he has done and who he is,” Vilsack says.
Clinton and political action committees that support her plan to run advertising in Iowa this month. Trump’s campaign has no advertising planned for August in Iowa. A “super PAC” that backs Trump is advertising in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.
Clinton is scheduled to campaign this afternoon in Omaha.
The presidential race is overshadowing a pitched battle for partisan control inside the state legislature.
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake is the top Republican in the legislature and she was a delegate at the Republican National Convention last month. She says the event revealed the “messaging” Trump intends to use for the fall, but that’s not necessarily going to impact legislative candidates.
“There’s a lot of discussion about the presidential, but it doesn’t immediately move then to down-ballot,” Upmeyer says.
Republicans hold a firm majority in the Iowa House and Republicans have focused on trying to win control of a majority of seats in the Iowa Senate. Democrats currently have a 26-to-24 seat advantage. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs is the top Democrat in the legislature and he was a delegate at last month’s Democratic National Convention. Gronstal offers this advice to legislative candidates: “Your future doesn’t depend on the top of the ticket, the national mood. It depends on what you do in your own race.”
Gronstal is up for reelection this November. Gronstal’s Republican opponent is Dan Dawson, a state employee who is special agent in the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Gronstal told reporters last week he has so far personally knocked on 8000 doors in his district. Each state senator represents about 60,000 Iowans.