Races to Watch: Ernst’s Climate Change Doubts Could Put Greenfield Over the Top

Senator Joni Ernst won her way into the Senate in 2014 on a conservative platform and a boast about the ability to cut through the red tape in Washington (she would make the pigs in Washington squeal).  But now her ties to big oil and gas in D.C. are putting her at odds with Iowa farmers who make biofuels.  In addition, Ernst does not believe that the destructive droughts, floods, and the derecho Iowans have suffered through recently are tied to climate change, according to Inside Climate News. But according to Yale’s 2020 climate opinion surveys, 67% of Iowans believe climate change is real, so Ernst may be out of touch.

Why This Matters:  While it is not her top issue, the Democratic, Theresa Greenfield, does not shy away from climate change.  Greenfield says Iowans can’t “afford to have Senators who question and deny the science, who refuse to act when the future of our kids and grandkids are on the line, and who consistently put the needs of Big Oil over Iowans suffering.”  Inside Climate’s take on the race is that after the “continued beating by natural disasters, Iowans could be fed up with Ernst’s position on climate change.”  And we think students in the state could tilt is Greenfield’s way.

Most Expensive Iowa Race Ever

With control of the Senate hanging in the balance and Ernst unpopular, Democrats have poured $100M into the race, The New York Times reported this week. Suburban women are another key demographic — and Ernst’s support of President Trump is proving a drag on her campaign, especially running against another female Iowa farmer like herself.  So it will come down to issues and that is why fossil fuels and climate change are on the ballot in Iowa.  Attacks on Earnst’s support for Trump administration officials tied to oil and gas, as well as the large contributions she has received from the industry, are having an impact.  The Cook Political Report calls the race a Tossup, and The Hill reported last night that the latest polls have Earnst narrowly ahead but within the margin of error.

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