Sep. 14

Click for

New Senate: DEM 49     Ties 1     GOP 50

New polls:  
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: AK AR LA MT SD WV

Previous | Next

Clinton Leads in Iowa

Although she is not officially campaigning there, Hillary Clinton will speak to thousands of Democratic activists today at the final Tom Harkin steak fry. She's clearly taking no chances as she lost the Iowa caucuses to Barack Obama in 2008. An ORC poll of the 2016 Iowa caucuses released Friday puts Clinton at 53% with Vice President Joe Biden second at 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at 7%, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 5%. While 53% isn't exactly unanimous, if Clinton runs, she will be tough to beat since Biden would be 74 on inauguration day 2017, Warren has said repeatedly that she is not running, and Sanders isn't even a Democrat.

On the Republican side, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee leads at 21% and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is at 12%. No other candidate is in double digits. The Republican numbers should be taken with a barrel (or maybe, a metric ton) of salt. While Huckabee isn't a favorite son, he is kind of a favorite neighbor since Arkansas is not too far away from Iowa. Same goes for Ryan since Iowa and Wisconsin actually share a border. Candidates from distant places like Texas and Florida apparently haven't quite registered yet.

Ernst Refuses to Pick Sides

One of the big Fall events in Iowa is the football game between the arch rival Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones. A lot of people go to the game and one of them was Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R), who is in an extremely tight race with Rep. Bruce Braley (R). When asked which team she supported, Ernst refused to take sides, even though she is a graduate of Iowa State. Given how polarized Congress is, there is probably something to be said for a Senate candidate who doesn't take an extreme position on anything even mildly controversial. Braley didn't show up for the game even though he has ties to both schools. He got his undergraduate degree from Iowa State and his law degree from Iowa. Maybe he felt the choice of which side to root for to be too agonizing.

Silicon Valley Fights for Campaign Finance Reform

Harvard law professor and digital rights activist Lawrence Lessig summed up how Silicon Valley views politics when he said: "it sickens them to imagine a business where they've got to schlep out to Washington and beg for favors from the political insiders for fear that the other side is going to go and get the political insiders to do something that disenables them from doing their work." For this reason a number of movers and shakers in Silicon Valley have supported campaign finance reform in one way or another. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak described American politics by saying "America's operating system is very broken" when endorsing the Mayday PAC, a group that opposes the power of large donors in politics. Former gaming executive Jim Greer stepped down from his company, Kongregate, after 23 years to work for CounterPAC, whose motto is: "Untraceable spending is corrupting our democracy." The Silicon Valley moguls pushing for campaign finance reform are used to getting things done quickly, but understand that this project is going to be a long slog.

Wendy Davis' Book Injects Abortion into Texas Politics

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' memoir came out this week and has gotten a big reaction. In 5 days it has zoomed to #1321 on Amazon's best-seller list (out of over 30 million books). While most political memoirs contain a carefully balanced mix of mush and Pablum, in her book Davis describes her rise from a trailer park to a Harvard Law School graduate, but most of the attention is on her story about having two abortions. The first one is due to an ectopic pregnancy and the second one was due to the fetus missing a large part of its brain. The first pregnancy might have killed her. The second one might have killed the baby. Her opponent, Texas attorney general Greg Abbott (R) said: "the book's promotion has gone from the ethically questionable to outright unlawful." Davis rose to national fame due to her 10-hour filibuster against proposed sweeping restrictions on abortion. Putting medically necessary abortions front and center is clearly a strategy for trying to get women in Texas who otherwise favor the Republicans to vote for her. Polling has been scarce in the race but a Rasmussen poll in early August put Abbott ahead 48% to 40%.

Back to the main page