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January 4th, 2011

Senate Republicans Expect to Add a New Face in Ernst Tonight

If Joni Ernst is successful in her State Senate bid in District 48 tonight, she will be the ninth new Republican to join the chamber. Ernst is running to fill the remainder of Kim Reynolds’ term, who will be sworn in as the state’s 47th Lieutenant Governor next week. Ernst is running against Ruth Smith of Lamoni. Smith lost to Reynolds by ten points in 2008.

Republicans have every right to be optimistic heading into today’s special election. Senate District 48, which encompasses seven counties in southern Iowa, has performed well for Republicans in recent elections. Branstad and Reynolds carried the district by 28-points in November. John McCain bested Obama in the area in 2008 even though Obama won the state by 10 points.

Sources tell that, as of last week, 85 to 90 percent of the absentee requests have come from Republicans. The percentage of returned absentee ballots also reflect those numbers. Obviously, Senate Democrats have invested very little into this race. That said, it is also good to see Iowa Republicans taking the two special elections in the State Senate very seriously.

Since the legislature adjourned on March 30th of last year, the complexion of the Republican caucus has changed dramatically. Not only has the Republican caucus gotten larger and younger, but it’s also more geographically diverse.

With the redistricting process taking place before the next election, the expanded Republican footprint in the state may create more opportunities for the GOP to pick up seats in the 2012 cycle. Winning the majority may not happen in the next election cycle, but the makeover that is occurring in the State Senate gives Republicans reason to be optimistic beyond tonight’s election in District 48.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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