In the midst of an unexpected closure against reelection, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst may have used a strong night on a virtual debate Thursday against challenging Democrat Theresa Greenfield. Instead, he deaf question asked by his opponent The Iowa senator should know the answer to.
It started when Greenfield correctly answered a question about the “break-even” price of corn – it goes about $ 3.68 per bushel, he said, and at that amount, there may be some farmers who meet their production costs. The moderator then asked Ernst a similar question about the break-even price of soybeans. Ernst answered $ 5.50, less than the actual price of $ 10.05. He then complained to the moderator that Greenfield had not posed the same question.
Greenfield immediately took to the moment, tweeting that Ernst “should know the price of soybeans.”
The clip quickly exploded on social media, even though most in the political field were talking about the dueling town halls of the candidates.
The question may sound like a gimmick to some, but as NBC News reporter Sahil Kapur said, familiarity with local agricultural concerns has become important to Iowa voters in the past. And six years after winning an eight-point victory to secure his first term in the U.S. Senate, Ernst – who is sometimes viewed as a rising star in the Republican Party – needs those voters.
The corn / soy thing is a gotcha but it reminds me that Joni Ernst is a senator in part because his last opponent was deaf to Iowa farmers. pic.twitter.com/A0wVM6xc4P
– Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 16, 2020
Both Ernst and Greenfield grew up on the farms. Ernst spent 22 years in the Iowa Army National Guard and served in the Iowa State Senate from 2011 to 2014 before being elected to the U.S. Senate, replacing retired Sen. Tom Harkin.
In the meantime, Greenfield, has never held an election. After graduating from college, he worked as a city planner and real estate developer in Iowa. But he votes neck-to-neck with incumbent Ernst, sometimes even a few points ahead.
Iowa has been a bellwether state in recent presidential elections. Barack Obama won Hawkeye State by nearly 10 percent points in 2008 and by approximately 6 points in 2012. But Donald Trump reached victory there in 2016, winning more than 9 percent points .
Democrats, however, appear to have some momentum there now. Prior to the midterm 2018 elections, Republicans held three of the four seats in the U.S. House in Iowa, but two of those changed hands in the last cycle. Abby Finkenauer overturned the First District, which covers the northeastern part of the state and included Cedar Rapids, and Cindy Axne did the same in the Third District, which covers the southwestern part of the state and the capital city of Des. Moines.
As Vox’s Dylan Scott explains, Iowa, which is 91 percent white, appears to be permanently moving right after the Republican victory there in 2014 and 2016. But more urban and urban parts of Iowa are growing , which could cause problems for both Ernst and Trump. And Thursday did not help. As one Democratic strategist told Scott:
“What people like about Joni Ernst, he is real and relatable,” the Democratic strategist said. “Greenfield has that in spades. … Voters want to vote for someone they think they understand the life they lead.”
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