Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Republican Joni Ernst beats Bruce Braley in Iowa Senate race

Iowa senator Joni Ernst

Iowa senator Joni Ernst

NBC local news reports:

Joni Ernst has been elected as the next U.S. Senator from Iowa. The Republican, a state Senator from Red Oak, defeated Democrat U.S. Representative Bruce Braley in one of the nation’s closest watched elections.

Ernst will fill the seat currently occupied by Senator Tom Harkin. Harkin, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1985, announced in January 2013 that he would retire at the end of his term in January 2015.

Recent polls had shown Ernst pulling ahead, a poll released by the Des Moines Register this weekend showed her with a seven point lead. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday showed the race was tied at 47%.

Ernst will be sworn in to the Senate in January.

Here’s a bit of background on her:

In 1989, a teenage college student from Iowa completed an agricultural exchange on a family farm in the Soviet state of Ukraine. Not surprisingly, as Joni Ernst retells it, the experience gave her a profound new appreciation for her home country — one that has colored her career choices to this day.

“It was just such a difference between the United States and the opportunity we had and what that family had in Ukraine,” she told RealClearPolitics, citing the farm’s lack of basic utilities such as a telephone and running water. (Residents had to use an outhouse behind the chicken coop, and the family shared a single bicycle in the absence of a car. Farm work was done through manual labor, supported by horses and wagons.) “That made such an impression on me when I came back to the United States and it was a matter of ‘Oh, I love my country.’”

[…]Ernst’s campaign is putting its focus on the candidate’s varied life experiences, including 21 years in the U.S. Army Reserves and the Iowa Army National Guard and being a mother of three and grandmother of six. Indeed, Romney’s endorsement highlighted her history as a “mother, soldier and proven conservative.”

A company commander in Kuwait and southern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 (and now a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard), Ernst says the grim realities she witnessed in Ukraine long ago sparked her interest in giving back to and supporting her own country.

“I felt that the military was a great way for me to do that, to defend the freedoms and opportunities that we have here in the United States,” she explained. “I’ve loved it.”

Nonetheless, Ernst recounts the hardships of serving in the Iraqi desert, including driving convoys in 142-degree temperatures and sandstorms that would sweep over the region. The situation was “just [a] pretty difficult environment, but you just adapt and you just roll with it,” she recalled. “It was the greatest of experiences and it was the worst of experiences.”

Those experiences are what drew some of Ernst’s supporters to her side. Ruben Garza, an officer in the Iowa Army National Guard, said he sees the candidate’s service as apt preparation for the U.S. Senate. “When you’re a military leader, your actions and your words are highly scrutinized and you’re expected to do what you say. I would expect, [if] Senator Ernst says she’s going to achieve something, she’s going to put 110 percent effort into achieving that.”

Her personal story goes far beyond the Iraqi desert, of course. It can be traced back to the cornfields of Stanton, a farming town of about 700 in southwestern Iowa. The town’s premier landmark is a water tower modeled after a traditional Swedish coffeepot, complete with a colorful floral design, handle and spout. Erected during Stanton’s centennial in 1970, the tower is both a nod to the town’s 19th-century Swedish immigrant heritage and a tribute to native daughter Virginia Christine, an actress featured in 1960s television commercials for Folgers Coffee.

Joni Culver, the second daughter of a farming couple, was born the same year the water tower was erected. Ernst and her campaign like to highlight her roots as a farmer’s daughter, and she cited this aspect of her life when arguing for reduced government spending during a debate with other Republican candidates for the Senate: “As a farmer’s daughter, who grew up in southwest Iowa castrating hogs with her dad, I can go to Washington and cut pork,” she said to cheers from the audience.

Among those familiar with Ernst during those early years is her sixth-grade teacher and campaign supporter, Rick Gustafson. He compares the candidate’s upbringing to “Little House on the Prairie,” where Mrs. Culver would sew young Joni’s and her older sister’s clothes. (He still has a pillow Ernst’s mother gave him, embroidered with the names of all 23 students in his class.)  Moreover, Gustafson remembers his former pupil’s strong work ethic and that she learned to drive her father’s tractor, as well as being a model student in class.

“Joni was one of those rare students that had high intellect, very, very good academic ability, and also had a high integrity in terms of doing the right things,” Gustafson told RCP. “She had all those and showed all those qualities at that time, even though she was still in those formative years.”

Ernst first expressed that love by joining the Army Reserves and the National Guard, and she hopes to express it further by serving in the U.S. Senate. What makes her ambition especially noteworthy is that, should she win the GOP primary on June 3 and the general election in November, Ernst would become the first woman from Iowa to serve in Congress. Given the state’s long track record of moderate, independent-minded politics, one might be astonished to learn that only Iowa and Mississippi have yet to elect a woman to federal office or governor.

I think she has the background to be the first woman President one day! She is also pro-life.

Filed under: News, , , ,

Obamacare website won’t reveal plan costs until after midterm elections

Last year, they revealed all the plans on October 1st. What could cause them to delay the prices this year for over a month?

The Washington Times explains.

Excerpt:

Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased — after the Nov. 4 election.

Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that’s no coincidence. Last year’s inaugural enrollment period on the health-care exchange began Oct. 1.

“This is more than just a glitch,” said Tim Phillips, president of free-market Americans for Prosperity, in a Friday statement. “The administration’s decision to withhold the costs of this law until after Election Day is just more proof that Obamacare is a bad deal for Americans.”

[…]The Iowa insurance commissioner approved last week premium increases for three insurance carriers: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CoOpportunity Health and Coventry Health. Two of those insurers will implement double-digit hikes ranging from 11.9 to 19 percent, the Des Moines Register reports.

[…]The issue is also resonating in the Louisiana Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking re-election against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. Documents filed with the Louisiana Department of Insurance show some insurers are anticipating double-digit rate hikes, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Mr. Cassidy, who’s a doctor, issued a statement Thursday calling the higher premiums “another hurdle for families and businesses already struggling under the demands of Obamacare.”

“Premiums have gone up by 53 percent for the average Louisiana policyholder and many of these policies will again see double-digit increases,” Mr. Cassidy said. “It’s unfair to Louisianans who have to balance their budgets and their businesses.”

I can understand why the Democrats would want to keep the exchange rates private before the election. They are counting on hoodwinking the American public again – vote first, find out what’s in the bill later.

 

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Democrat Senate candidates support late-term abortion

Take a look at the views of some of these Democrat candidates for the Senate.

First, North Carolina Senate candidate Kay Hagan:

The Weekly Standard explains:

North Carolina senator Kay Hagan’s position on abortion is the target of a new $620,000 TV ad campaign that is being launched today by the Women Speak Out PAC.

In the ad, a husband and wife, Becca and Ned Ryun, tell the moving story of how doctors saved the life of their daughter Charlotte who was born prematurely at 24 weeks into pregnancy. Photos of their daughter in the neo-natal intenseive care unit flash across the screen, and it isn’t until the end of the minute-long spot that the viewer gets a political message.

“For those who are advocating late-term abortions, look at my daughter,” says Ned Ryun. The ad concludes with a narrator conveying that North Carolina’s senator thinks it should be legal to abort infants like Charlotte late in pregnancy: “Kay Hagan supports painful, late-term abortions. She’s too extreme for North Carolina.”

Hagan said in 2013 that she opposed legislation that would protect the lives of unborn children after the 20th week of gestation, when babies are old enough to feel pain and able to live long-term if born in many cases.

The bill was introduced and passed the House of Representatives in the summer of 2013 following the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist who was convicted of murder for killing infants outside the womb. When Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, was asked what the difference was between killing a 23-week-old baby outside the womb and aborting that same child in utero, she sputtered and couldn’t answer the question.

The Republican candidate in this race is Thom Tillis.

Second, Colorado Senate candidate Mark Udall:

The Weekly Standard explains:

At the outset of the Denver Post‘s senatorial debate on Tuesday night, a moderator asked Democratic senator Mark Udall the following question: “We know that you support a woman’s right to choose, but given the advances in scientific understanding of fetal development, where pregnant mothers know at which week babies grow fingernails and can swallow, would you support a ban on late-term abortions and if so at what week?”

Udall replied by citing the case of a woman who discovered during the eighth month of pregnancy that her child had a severe brain deformity. “To demand that that woman carry that child to term would be a form of government intervention that none of us want to see happen. We ought to respect the women of Colorado and their point of view,” Udall said.

Udall gave no indication that he supports any legal limits on aborting healthy infants late in pregnancy or any other restrictions on abortion, a position consistent with his voting record.

The Republican candidate in this race is Cory Gardner.

The story of the midterm elections next month is the Republican attempt to take the Senate, in order to block Obama’s plan to pack the courts with leftist judges.

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Charles Krauthammer: what the GOP should do if they retake the Senate

From National Review, a follow-up to my post yesterday about the midterm election projection.

Excerpt:

The Democratic line is that the Republican House does nothing but block and oppose. In fact, it has passed hundreds of bills, only to have them die upon reaching the desk of Senate majority leader Harry Reid. He has rendered the Senate inert by simply ensuring that any bill that might present a politically difficult vote for his Democratic colleagues never comes to the floor.

Winning control of the Senate would allow Republicans to pass a whole range of measures now being held up by Reid, often at the behest of the White House. Make it a major reform agenda. The centerpiece might be tax reform, both corporate and individual. It is needed, popular, and doable. Then go for the low-hanging fruit enjoying wide bipartisan support, such as the Keystone XL pipeline and natural-gas exports, especially to Eastern Europe. One could then add border security, energy deregulation, and health-care reform that repeals the more onerous Obamacare mandates.

If the president signs any of it, good. If he vetoes, it will be clarifying. Who then will be the Party of No? The vetoed legislation would become the framework for a 2016 GOP platform. Let the debate begin.

The risk-averse will say: Why take chances? Why not just run against the Obama legacy in 2016?

The GOP should and will do that. What has happened to economic growth, social cohesion, and America’s standing abroad will be a significant drag on Democrats. But it could very well not be enough.

[…]Memo to the GOP: Win the Senate, then enact an agenda and dare the president to veto it. Show the country what you stand for. Then take it to the nation in 2016.

So, if the GOP takes the House and Senate, they can proceed to pass every single bill that makes sense to the American people and then have Obama veto each one. Then they can run on those vetoed bills in 2016. Obama is a left-wing radical, so this is exactly who we want to represent the Democrat party in such an operation. Republicans can say “We wanted THIS and the Democrat in charge said no”. That’s one way of working around the liberal media. Now is the time to debate all the bills that they will want to pass should the GOP win the Presidency in 2016.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Poll: fewer than 1 in 3 Americans wants to keep Obamacare

The Weekly Standard reported on a recent poll by McLaughlin & Associates.

Excerpt:

A new poll finds that three-fifths of likely voters support the repeal of Obamacare. A large plurality — 44 percent — wants to see Obamacare repealed and replaced with a conservative alternative. A much smaller group —16 percent — wants to see it repealed but not replaced. Less than one in three respondents — 32 percent — would like to keep Obamacare, whether in its current form or in amended form. So, with a conservative alternative in play, 60 percent of Americans support repeal, while only 32 percent oppose it.

Repeal and replace was chosen by a plurality of every age group, every income group aside from those making over $150,000, and both sexes.  Among independents, 62 percent said they support repeal, with 46 percent backing a conservative alternative.  Only 31 percent of independents support keeping Obamacare in its current form or in amended form.  Among those who make between $20,000 and $100,000, 63 percent support repeal, with 48 percent backing a conservative alternative.  Only 30 percent of such voters want to try to salvage Obamacare.

I know what you’re thinking. This poll must have favored Republican respondents over Democrats.

NOPE:

The poll included 38 percent Democrats and 32 percent Republicans.

I was talking to a friend the other day who is from outside the United States and he was telling me how he was sure Americans just love Obamacare and that it is working really well. He must be getting that from CNN or something, because this poll is pretty clear. I think we have reason to be hopeful about the 2014 midterm elections.

The 2014 midterm elections

Here’s an article from National Review that expresses caution because of the effectiveness of Democrat voter registration efforts, but is also optimistic about the latest polls.

Here’s the rundown: (links removed)

In just about every Senate race that matters, last week brought at least one highly-regarded poll showing exactly what a Republican wants to see.

In Alaska, Dan Sullivan has led the past four polls.

In Arkansas, Tom Cotton has led 11 of the past 13 polls.

In Colorado, Quinnipiac put Cory Gardner ahead, 48 percent to 40 percent.

In Iowa, the Des Moines Register poll put Joni Ernst ahead, 44 percent to 38 percent. NBC News Andrea Mitchell is openly calling Democrat Bruce Braley.

In Louisiana, a runoff between Democrat incumbent Mary Landrieu and Republican Bill Cassidy is virtually assured. Cassidy led the last four polls of the runoff.

Those five, just right there, along with the expected GOP wins in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia, would give the GOP a eight-seat pickup. Republicans could lose in Kansas and still keep the Senate. In Kansas, voters are still digesting the fact that the Democrat dropped out and getting to know “independent” Greg Orman. No one has polled this race in ten days, and the GOP is pulling out the stops to save Pat Roberts.

And we’ve got more races to go…

In New Hampshire, CNN had Scott Brown tied with Jeanne Shaheen.

In Michigan, Republicans can be frustrated that Terri Lynn Landhasn’t led any poll recently. But Democrat Gary Peters’ share of the vote is actually declining from the mid-40s to the low 40s, with a lot of undecideds left out there.

In North Carolina, Thom Tillis can’t quite get the lead over incumbent Kay Hagan, but she’s consistently in the mid-40s or even low 40s – a very precarious spot for an incumbent.

Beyond Kansas, Democrats hopes for picking up a GOP seat are evaporating. In Georgia, David Purdue has led four of the past five polls. In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has led every poll since June.

The current poll averages from Real Clear Politics predict a 52-47 Republican Senate after the midterm elections. Eight pick-ups, with Kansas “too close to call”. I hope those polls are accurate, because otherwise Obama is going to pack the courts with more leftist judges. I hope people are doing all they can to get out the Republican vote this year, because we really need to stop the bleeding – NINE TRILLION dollars added to the national debt so far. Too much. Conscience protections and religious liberty under attack. Natural marriage struck down by activist judges, Our national security and foreign policy in a shambles. And pro-life state level restrictions on abortion threatened by Democrat legistlators. We have to do something this time.

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