The Ernst equation

In the race for Iowa’s open Senate seat, Republican candidate Joni Ernst has held a slight lead over Democratic contender Bruce Braley for a while. Ernst is a terrific candidate and one of our Power Line Picks.

The big political news today is that the last pre-election Iowa poll conducted on behalf of the Des Moines Register shows Ernst opening up a 7-point lead over Braley among likely voters. Jennifer Jacobs reports on the poll results here and adds 10 interesting takeaways from the poll here. The poll’s margin of error is 3.7 percent. Ernst’s lead is still within the poll’s margin of error, but the movement seems to be significant and in her direction.

You have to wonder if the late movement doesn’t signify such movement in other similar races around the country. In October the Democrats pulled out all the stops for Braley. They kept Barack Obama away from the state. They threw Michelle Obama out to prop up Braley, not once (hey, give it up for her good friend “Bruce Bailey”), but twice. They threw out Hillary Clinton.

They even threw out the Big Dog himself. They brought in Bill Clinton to argue on Braley’s behalf that we would “grow together” with Bruce.

Am I the only one who recoils at metaphors of tumescence from Bill Clinton? Lord, let us grow apart from him.

The race has had two defining moments. First was Joni Ernst’s advertisement of her experience on the farm castrating hogs as a credential for what she could get done in Congress. The Washington Post’s Phil Rucker and Dan Balz noted in May that the ad had transformed the race. The ad propelled Ernst to victory with an outright majority of the vote in a four-way Republican primary. Let’s take another look at this one and remind ourselves of the issues she ran on.

The second defining moment was Braley’s. In it he was caught disparaging Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley as an ignorant farmer lacking the accessory of a law degree. Braley was pitching himself behind closed doors to his trial lawyer buddies in Texas (video below). He has tried to talk his way out of it, but the damage has lingered.

The ad below takes off on Paul Harvey’s “God gave us a trial lawyer” and Braley’s revelation of his his inner self to his trial lawyer buddies.

That last video is via Glenn Reynolds/InstaPundit.

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