Juliana Martinez–Staff Writer
With voting day less than three weeks away, anticipation is rising across the country for the midterm elections. Northwest Iowa is no exception: Siouxland even welcomed Donald Trump on October 8 to Council Bluffs.
The President announced his intentions of passing legislation which would make E-15 (gasoline with 15% ethanol) available year-round. “I made that promise to you during the campaign… promises made, promises kept.” said Trump of the new law. And he is keeping his promise: the following day, Trump welcomed Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley to the White House to celebrate the push for a new bill, which will largely impact Iowa farmers.
On the local level, tensions are climbing between eight-term incumbent Steve King (R) and political freshman, JD Schoulten (D). As noted on Schoulten’s campaign website, he is twenty years younger than the average U.S. Congressman and “about a million dollars short” of the average net worth. Schoulten believes in a strong work ethic and integrity; he hopes that these qualities and his fresh face will inspire Northwest Iowans to vote for him in the upcoming election to defeat the 16-year returner.
According to one of Schoulten’s field directors, he has already visited all 39 counties in Iowa’s fourth district twice and is well on his way to completing a third tour. The same cannot be said of King, who cancelled a town hall meeting in Sioux County last week.
“If King thought he was behind, he might give a debate,” Dordt political science professor Jeff Taylor said. “King isn’t desperate at this point. I think he’s playing it safe.” According to Taylor, a debate between the two would give Schoulten unwanted publicity by the King campaign.
In early September, Expedition Polls showed King ahead by only six points; Emerson College showed King ahead by 10. As Taylor stated “…odds are, [King] will be re-elected. JD could beat him, but it would be a close race.”
Vote Common Good is a Christian political organization that is touring the entire nation; from Pennsylavania, to Minnesota, to Utah, to small towns in Iowa. The group visited Sioux Center on October 12 in support of Schoulten’s ideas. The rally consisted of singing hymns such as “Let Your Light Shine” and hosted various speakers including pastors, musicians, and authors. The event felt just as much like a church service as a political rally.
“We take really good care of each other [in Sioux Center],” said Nicole Baart, author and wife of Dordt College’s Chaplain, “… and I feel like that’s changed a little bit lately… instead of living out of love, we have been living out of fear.”
At the same time Trump stood in front of Iowans who were wearing “Make farmers great again,” hats, other residents of the state from rural communities spoke out against the sitting President and are hoping for change on November 6.
It is unlikely that Democrats will take the Senate, but Taylor finds Democratic control of the House more likely.
When candidate Donald Trump visited Dordt College in 2016, he claimed that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still get votes. But the political climate of the country may be shifting. The November 6 midterms will show whether or not he and the Republican Party have shot themselves in the foot.