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Iowa Democrat tops Ernst in third-quarter fundraising for Senate race

An Iowa Democrat outraised incumbent Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstConservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney A bipartisan effort to prevent the scourge of sexual assault in the armed forces Ernst defends Cheney, calls for GOP unity MORE (R-Iowa) in the third quarter of 2019 in the Hawkeye State’s competitive Senate race.

Theresa Greenfield, who launched her campaign to unseat Ernst in June, said she raised more than $1.1 million in the year’s third quarter, compared with reports that Ernst raised just under $1 million in the same span.

The Democrat's campaign, which is refusing donations from corporate PACs, said its average online donation for the quarter was less than $16 and that 92 percent of all contributions received were for $100 or less. Donations to the campaign have come from all of Iowa’s 99 counties. 

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“It’s clear that the momentum and energy is on our side to flip this Senate seat, and I’m so proud of what our grassroots campaign has already been able to accomplish to lay the groundwork to win this race next year,” said Greenfield.

“After years of watching Senator Ernst answer to Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAssaults on Roe v Wade increasing Trump spokesman says defeating Cheney a top priority Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push MORE and the special interests in Washington, Iowans are ready for new leadership and they’re saying ‘no more’ to Senator Ernst. I’m humbled to have the support of so many hardworking Iowans as we work to hold Senator Ernst accountable and give Iowa families the representation they deserve.” 

Ernst's campaign said in a statement to The Hill it raised about $1 million in the third quarter and has nearly $4 million cash on hand.

“Iowans are energized behind Joni Ernst and her ability to deliver for the state from securing a strong win on the RFS [renewable fuel standard] to obtaining the long-awaited resources needed for the Cedar Rapids flood project,” said campaign manager Sam Pritchard.

“Joni continues to crisscross the state and ensures Iowans have a voice in Washington, holding 33 town halls just this year. Momentum continues to build as Iowans know they have an effective voice in Joni Ernst who fights tirelessly to Make ‘em Squeal in Washington in order to deliver for Iowans.”

Greenfield first raised eyebrows among Iowa Democrats after she ran for the state’s 3rd District in 2018 but dropped out after she found out that her campaign manager falsified several signatures on petitions qualifying her for the ballot.

Democrats had hoped that freshman Rep. Cindy AxneCindy AxneOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Rural Democrats urge protections from tax increases for family farms Business groups target moderate Democrats on Biden tax plans MORE, who flipped a Republican House seat last year, would launch a bid to challenge Ernst for her Senate seat, but Axne declined.

Greenfield is running against a handful of other Democrats fighting to get the chance to challenge Ernst, but she has worked to get a leg up over her intraparty competition with endorsements from Reps. Dave LoebsackDavid (Dave) Wayne LoebsackPelosi to seat Iowa Republican as Democratic challenger contests election results Iowa Democrat who lost by six votes will appeal to House Iowa officials certify Republican Miller-Meeks's 6-vote victory MORE (D-Iowa) and Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerGOP hammers Democrats over Iowa Democrat's election challenge Chamber of Commerce slams GOP effort to challenge Biden's win Iowa losses underscore Democrats' struggles with attracting rural voters MORE (D-Iowa) as well as local unions.

Though Iowa trends Republican in statewide races and voted for President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE by about 10 points, Democrats view Ernst’s seat as a prime opportunity to chip into the GOP’s 53-47 Senate majority in a year when the Hawkeye State may be a tossup in the presidential contest. 

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as “Likely Republican.”