NEW: Cook Political Report Moves Iowa’s U.S. Senate Race to “Toss Up”

Cook Political Report highlights “Hawkeye Headaches for Republicans,” concludes “this race could become the tipping point of control in the Senate.”

Today, the Cook Political Report is shifting its rating for Iowa’s U.S. Senate race to “Toss Up,” citing businesswoman Theresa Greenfield’s “compelling story” and noting that incumbent Senator Joni Ernst “has had some missteps in the race and isn’t performing as well as Republicans had hoped.”

This is the third nonpartisan election analyst this month to shift the race in Theresa’s direction, after Inside Elections and Politico also shifted Iowa’s Senate race to Toss-Up.

Here are the highlights of Cook Political’s ratings change:

  • Iowa is the newest worry for Republicans, a race we are shifting from Lean Republican to Toss Up. We last moved this race into a more competitive category back in March, when freshman Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s re-election numbers were showing signs of softening. Now they’re in a very perilous position, and this race could become the tipping point of control in the Senate. 
     
  • [Theresa Greenfield] has a compelling story of how she survived on social security benefits as her first husband, a union electrician, was killed on the job, leaving her with a small child and pregnant with another.
     
  • After Greenfield won her primary in June, a poll from venerated Iowa pollster J. Ann Selzer and the Des Moines Register showed Greenfield leading Ernst by 3 points, 49%-47%. Both GOP and Democratic polling are now showing the same statistically tied race. And Ernst has had some missteps in the race and isn’t performing as well as Republicans had hoped. 
     
  • “The environment is even worse there than it was in June,’ bemoaned one national GOP strategist. “Ernst is underwater, and she needs some work.” 

Read the full analysis here.

“Make no mistake: Theresa Greenfield has put Iowa in play with her strong grassroots support, and the momentum is on her side,” said Greenfield for Iowa spokesperson Izzi Levy. “Between spending the last year criss-crossing the state and holding over a hundred in-person campaign events, posting record-breaking fundraising from all 99 counties, and consistently holding Senator Ernst accountable on critical issues from her reckless health care record to her corruption and failure to fight for Iowa’s farmers and ethanol industry, Theresa is demonstrating every day that she’s got the grit and resolve to take her fight for Iowa’s working families all the way to the U.S. Senate.”

Today’s ratings change comes after Theresa has been endorsed by dozens of Iowa leaders, including Democrats and Republicans, and after she raised a historic second-quarter fundraising haul of more than $6 million — the most ever for a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Iowa, and nearly $2.5 million more than Senator Ernst — with more than 24,000 contributions this cycle from Iowans in all 99 counties. Not only have Inside ElectionsPolitico, and the Cook Political Report all shifted Iowa’s U.S. Senate race from “Lean Republican” to “Toss-Up,” but every public poll since the start of the general election has shown Theresa leading Senator Ernst — proof that the momentum lies with the scrappy farm kid running to put Iowa’s working families first.

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