CEDAR RAPIDS — U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin encouraged Democratic volunteers to ignore polls showing the race to succeed him slipping away from U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley in favor of his Republican opponent.
He favors polls showing the race tied or Braley ahead and told a dozen-and-a-half Cedar Rapids volunteers Monday afternoon that his experience on the campaign trail tells him the Democrat is going to win.
“There is wonderful enthusiasm,” Harkin said. “People are up. They understand how close this race is, and they know what’s at stake.”
He urged them to disregard an Iowa Poll showing the Republican, state Sen. Joni Ernst, leading by 7 percentage points. Nine out of 10 polls published the previous week had shown Braley either a little behind Ernst or a little ahead.
“I’ve been at this a long time, and there’s always some poll that is an outlier,” Harkin said.
His mention of a Quinnipiac University Poll released Monday that showed Braley and Ernst tied at 47 percent brought cheers and applause from the volunteers.
Public Policy Polling said later in the day, however, that Ernst was leading 49 percent to 46 percent in its final poll on the race.
Despite Harkin’s sense of victory, Braley seemed more circumspect.
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He thanked the volunteers who, he said, have humbled him by their efforts “not to elect Bruce Braley to the U.S. Senate, but to give Iowa a six-year opportunity to become a better state.”
Braley, who has represented much of eastern Iowa in the U.S. House for the past eight years, then urged the volunteers to keep working until the polls close at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
“This election is too important to stop working,” he said.
Then, as if to drive home his point, Braley concluded his remarks by showing the volunteers a copy of the iconic picture of President Harry Truman holding a newspaper with the “Dewey defeats Truman” headline.
“This is why we don’t stop fighting until the last vote is counted,” Braley said.
However, with the support of the volunteers and thousands like them across the state, Braley joined Harkin in predicting victory.
“Together, we are going to win this election because you are the wind pushing me all the way to the finish line,” Braley said.