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June 13th, 2014

The Weekly Round Up

Facebook Remarks from Ernst’s Husband Just the Tip of the Iceberg of the Democrat Effort to label her as an Extremist.

The general election has only been going on for nine days and ten hours, but instead of being a contrast between two very different candidates with very different backgrounds and life experiences, it resembles a seventh grade study hall period.

I expected the barnyard theme of the primary to continue in the general election, but I never expected that words like “hag” and “skank” would become part of the campaign vernacular.  I’m not used to hearing those terms in local newscasts, but even three days after it was first reported, there it was on the 5 am KCCI news on Thursday morning.

There are a couple of things to remember when situations like this arise.  First, Republicans always suck when trying to use the tactics of the left.  I was not a fan of the Ernst campaign’s decision to take issue with Braley’s TV ad that featured a baby chick chirping.  I’ve seen the ad a dozen times now and I have never thought that it was referring to Ernst as a chick.

That said, I was surprised/impressed that the Ernst campaign and Republican apparatus was able to get that criticism of Braley to stick.  As we now can see this week, the Democrats have an extensive book on Ernst, and they were allowed to bury Braley’s negative stories by reaching in their little bag of tricks and finding two Facebook posts from Ernst’s husband that quickly turned the tables on the Ernst campaign.

If you think that Ernst is going to beat Braley by playing the gender card, you are fooling yourself.  However, what transpired this week is exactly how the Braley campaign plans to beat up Ernst this fall.  It doesn’t matter to the Democrats that Ernst is a female candidate – they will still stick to their playbook.   If you want a preview of where the campaign against Joni is heading, check out the Rachel Maddow segment that the Braley campaign promoted last week.

The segment includes a bit on Ernst, but if you want to see a preview of things to come check out the political ad running against Republican Congressman Steve Daines who is running for the U.S. Senate in Montana.  Maddow says, “expect radical anti-abortion politics and anti-birth control politics and the issue of rape to play a roll in this years Iowa Senate race.”

Ernst, who sponsored a personhood constitutional amendment in the Iowa Senate, is going to be painted as an extremist.  Just because Republicans nominated a female candidate for the U.S. Senate does not mean Democrats will not attempt to advance their “war on women.”

Hatch Should Be Taken More Seriously By Republicans

Republicans seems to laugh at everything that Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch does.  Hatch released a TV ad this week, and like clockwork, Republicans panned it.  The Hatch ad is a classic comparison ad.  The focus of the ad is how he’s different from Branstad.  The ad ends with an announcer saying, “There is only one thing that Branstad and Jack have in common, and for Jack that’s one thing to many.”  The ad then shows Hatch without his signature mustache.

I actually think it’s a pretty good and catchy ad.  The real question is, how big of a media buy can he afford?

While Hatch’s ad hits on the themes one would expect a Democrat to hit on in a TV ad against Branstad, the Branstad campaign’s “comeback” ad is the perfect type of ad to run at the beginning of a general election.  There are no words spoken, just accomplishments listed on screen.

The Republican Governor’s Association seems to be taking Hatch seriously.  They began running ads beating up Hatch the day after the primary was over.  The ads are on all the time.  The RGA’s latest ad focuses on a tax credit he voted for and likely benefitted financial from.

The RGA ad is brutal, and I’m shocked at how much money they are spending going after Hatch this early in the race.  I’ve written before that I don’t know how wise it is to attack Hatch early because it’s likely to raise his name I.D., and as we have seen in the U.S. Senate race in Iowa and now in the Virginia 7th Congressional District, negative ads might be backfiring this cycle.  Now to be fair, those two examples are from Republican primaries, but I still worry that Republicans are helping Hatch become known across the state.

Casino Politics

Cedar Rapids leaders have to be upset with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s decision to grant a casino license for a Greene County casino.  The commission voted 3 to 2 in favor of the Greene County license, after voting 4 to 1 against the Cedar Rapids project a short while back.  Todd Dorman, a columnist with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, did a great job in writing about the commission’s decision.

Even though the Governor does not weigh in on racing and gaming decisions in the state, Jack Hatch is already trying to exploit the rift between the Cedar Rapids casino backers and the Branstad appointed commission to benefit his campaign.  It’s a risky position to take, but Hatch doesn’t have anything to lose.  Hatch told Iowa Press that commissioners should be able to consider other criteria besides market research.  Hatch specifically said that the historic flood of 2008 that devastated Cedar Rapids should have been taken into account.

It’s one thing to pander for votes, but awarding casino licenses on anything besides market data is downright crazy.  Just because a community flooded, doesn’t mean a casino license should be granted.  Would he be advocating for a rural western Iowa casino in the wake of the 2011 floods?  The state and federal governments and local taxpayers all poured in gobs of money to help the community recover and get back on its feet.  Does he really think that a casino would magically make things better?

A Bad Week Rough Weekend for WHO TV 13

Two WHO TV reporters were busted for drunk driving last weekend.  Sonya Heitshusen and Erik Wheater were both charged with first-offense OWI.  The station failed to report on its own employees’ transgressions.

I bring this up because TV stations like WHO TV always jump at the chance to report on a drunken incident of a college athlete or elected official.  I don’t have any problem with that, but if you are going to spend time reporting on a boneheaded decision by a four-year bench player like Nico Law, then it should also be reported when well-known news reporters mess up while out on the town.

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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