SENATE RACE: GOP Candidates Try To Set Themselves Apart

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Political candidates often have to appeal to their base, in order to win a primary. Then they appeal to a broader set of voters, in order to win an election.

a forum on Tuesday offered the chance for  the republican US Senate candidates to differentiate themselves from one another.

Joni Ernst is pro-life, pro-gun and anti-gay marriage.  So is Mark Jacobs.  And Sam Clovis.  Matt Whitaker wants lower taxes, he’s white and he’s Christian.  Ditto the other three.

From a distance, they’re hard to distinguish.

So what makes them different from one another?

"Well, I am the only one with a proven, conservative, pro-growth policy,” says Joni Ernst, a state senator from Montgomery County.

Ernst is the only woman; Clovis the only one with his own talk-show. All three wear flag pins, call themselves pro-business and know their way around a tough question.

“Of these other three candidates who are here tonight, who is the least qualified?" we ask.

"Oh, I think each one of these candidates brings a unique perspective,” says Whitaker, of Ankeny.

“I’m not gonna answer that,” says Clovis.

“I couldn’t say," Ernst says.

“Uh, you know we’ve got some other good people in the field," Jacobs answers, "and that will ultimately be up to the voters in the state of Iowa to decide.”

What some of the voters at Tuesday night’s National Federation of Independent Business have decided is that they want a potential winner who can defeat Democrat, Bruce Braley.

“I would probably have to go with the one with the best chance of beating Bruce,” says Mike Kinter, a small business owner.

“We need someone who has a reasonable chance of winning,” says Randy Bradley, who owns a chain of Burger King restaurants across Missouri and Iowa.

Some say Whitaker is the front-runner. He’s the only attorney and former Hawkeye.

“I played for Coach Hayden Fry," Whitaker beams. "I was on the last Rose Bowl team; 1991.”

Ernst has served in the military, Clovis has, too. Both say one of the candidates has more money than the rest.

“We certainly have one candidate in the race who can spend pretty much whatever he wants," Clovis says. "He has that kind of money."

That might be Jacobs, a former oil executive.

“Well, we’re working very hard," Jacobs says. "Again, my focus is making sure we have the right resources we need to run the type of campaign we need to be successful.”

Jacobs says he’s a leader, Whitaker a small-business expert and Clovis, all of the above.

“Most of the other people have been involved in one or two things," he points out, "I’ve been successful in many things, and I mean very successful.”

Clovis is confident he’ll win. But then again, so are the others.

The republican primary for the Senate seat will be held on June 3rd.  The winner faces eastern Iowa democrat, Rep. Bruce Braley who was invited to the event, but did not attend.


  • Chuck Anziulewicz

    A business is not a church. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a bakery or a restaurant, a photo studio or a factory. They aren’t in the business of providing spiritual guidance or enforcing moral doctrines. They are there to turn a profit. As such, they are obligated to abide by prevailing civil rights laws, whether those laws protect people from discrimination based on race, religion, or sexual orientation.

    Conservative columnist Erick Erickson came to the defense of Christian business owners: “Committed Christians believe in a doctrine of vocation. They believe that their work is a form of ministry. Through their work, they can share the gospel and glorify God.”

    Oh, and also rake in as much money as possible. You can wax poetic all you want about “glorifying God,” but at the end of the day these businesses wouldn’t exist were it not for the profit motive.

    Should a restaurant owner be able to refuse service to Blacks because he has “moral objections” to race-mixing? Should an employer be able to fire a Muslim employee because he wants to run “a nice Christian workplace”? And if a Christian florist agrees to provide flower arrangements at a Muslim couple’s wedding, does it mean he is necessarily endorsing Islam?

    If the answer to these questions is NO, what justification is there refusing service to a Gay couple who wish to get a wedding cake or celebrate their anniversary in a restaurant?

  • William Denison

    Seeing Dave Price there hobnobbing with the folks in the back ground really makes me question how fair and balanced his storys are. Hes about as GOP as a reporter gets. Thats his right but its my right to turn the station.

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