Joni Ernst’s challenger’s ties to Chuck Schumer-linked PAC questioned
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, continues to face a tough fight from her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, who raised $28.7 million in the campaign’s third quarter, Greenfield’s campaign reported.
But the news came as Greenfield faced allegations that her campaign was improperly coordinating with a political action group linked to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Ernst is one of several GOP senators facing serious challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed Ernst trailing Greenfield 50% to 45%, with Greenfield showing a 5% average lead in other recent polls, Real Clear Politics reported.
The same Quinnipiac poll showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading President Trump 50% to 45%. A slight majority of likely voters in the state say they disapprove of the president’s handling of the pandemic, the poll showed, according to KCCI-TV in Des Moines.
“This record-shattering haul is more proof that as Iowans begin early voting, they’re ready for change in the U.S. Senate,” Izzi Levy, a Greenfield spokesperson, said in a statement. “While Senator Ernst struggles to defend her failed record of selling out Iowans for her corporate PAC donors, Theresa’s grassroots momentum continues to grow – all without accepting a single dime from corporate PACs.”
Meanwhile, a local-level Republican politician filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Greenfield’s campaign, alleging the campaign was improperly coordinating with outside political action groups.
“There is reason to believe Greenfield, her campaign, and the IDP violated [campaign laws] by soliciting an illegal contribution from SMP [Senate Majority PAC],” said the complaint filed by Wes Enos, a Bondurant City councilman and former Polk County GOP chairman.
Greenfield has coordinated more than $900,000 worth of communications with the Senate Majority PAC run by the allies of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the complaint alleges.
Ernst, who is seeking a second term after being elected in 2014, hasn’t released her third-quarter fundraising numbers yet.
Ernst won her 2014 race by about 8 points, 52-44, and Trump beat 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the state by 9 points, 51-42.
Ernst had $9.1 million at the end of the second quarter, The Hill reported.