THE BLOG
10/17/2014 05:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Bruce Braley vs. Joni Ernst Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For Iowa Senate Race 2014

2014-10-15-IA_senate_braley_ernstjpeg.jpg

Are you looking for a nonpartisan voter guide to the Bruce Braley vs. Joni Ernst Iowa Senate race? One that will give you an unbiased, no-spin comparison of candidate positions on key issues? That's what our Campus Election Engagement Project guide will give you! We are a national nonpartisan initiative working with college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders to increase student participation in America's elections. For the 2014 elections we have created and distributed voter guides to campuses in more than 20 states so they can provide their communities with accurate information for informed voting. Because these guides have been so well received and are useful for all voting citizens who want to be better informed, we are also posting them here.

We developed our guides by analyzing information from trusted resources such as www.votesmart.org, www.ontheissues.org, www.ballotpedia.com, www.politifact.com, www.factcheck.org, www.vote411.org and from candidate websites, public debates and interviews, and statements in major media outlets. We also showed them to groups like campus Young Republicans and Young Democrats at the schools we work with to verify their fairness and lack of bias.

So here are the issue-by-issue stands for Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst, with additional links at the bottom for each candidate if you'd like to dig deeper. (You can also find Iowa's Governor's guide here.)

----------

Budget: Did you support raising the Federal debt ceiling with no strings attached?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Budget: Do you support a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: Yes

Campaign Finance: Do you support the DISCLOSE Act, which would require key funders of political ads to put their names on those ads?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: Position unknown

Campaign Finance: Do you support the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?
Braley: No
Ernst: Position Unclear

Economy: Do you support raising the national minimum wage?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No. Believes it is a state-level decision and also opposes an increase in Iowa minimum wage. (In addition to believing in state-level-only minimum wage legislation, Ernst argues that minimum wage jobs are "introductory level" positions that will lead to better paying jobs.)

Economy: Do you support extending unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: Unknown

Economy: Do you support the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and sought to increase regulation of Wall Street corporations and other financial institutions?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Education: Do you support refinancing of student loans at lower rates, paid for by increasing taxes on income over a million dollars?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Environment: Do you believe that human activity is a major factor contributing to climate change?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Environment: Do you support government action to limit the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Environment: Do you support government mandates and/or subsidies for renewable energy?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: Philosophically opposed but supports ethanol & biodiesel subsidies. (Would like to eventually eliminate government subsidies "in every sector and at the same time" but will continue to support federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) until then. See Omaha.com and Des Moines Register articles for further clarification of candidate position.)

Gay Marriage: Do you support gay marriage?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Gun Control: Do you support enacting more restrictive gun control legislation?
Braley: Supports background checks to screen out mentally ill and to ban high-capacity magazines
Ernst: No

Healthcare: Do you support repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?
Braley: No
Ernst: Yes, has signed survey supporting state nullification and arrest of federal officials enforcing Obamacare. (Ernst supporters contend that she does not support the concept of nullification, while legislative record indicates support of nullification under some circumstances and Campaign for Liberty organization documents her survey response that supports nullification of Obamacare and arrest of federal officials trying to enforce it.)

Healthcare: Did you support shutting down the federal government in order to defund Obamacare in 2013?
Braley: No
Ernst: Yes

Immigration: Do you support the D.R.E.A.M. Act, which would allow children brought into the country illegally to achieve legal status if they've graduated from high school, have a clean legal record, and attend college or serve in the military?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Immigration: Do you support the comprehensive immigration plan passed by the Senate in 2013, which includes a pathway to citizenship and increased funding for border security?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Iraq: Should the US recommit troops to Iraq to combat the rise in insurgency?
Braley: Not without Congressional discussion & input
Ernst:Unknown. Opposed earlier troop withdrawals.

Marijuana: Do you support efforts to decriminalize and/or legalize marijuana?
Braley: Supports medical marijuana with recreational legalization determined by states
Ernst: Supports low-THC extract for childhood epilepsy, opposes other medical marijuana

Social Issues: Should abortion be highly restricted?
Braley: No
Ernst: Yes

Social Issues: Should employers be able to withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if they disagree with it morally?
Braley: No
Ernst: Yes

Social Issues: Should Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion health services?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No

Social Security: Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Braley: No
Ernst: Open to switching to private investments for younger workers. (See Politifact.com analysis of candidate position.)

Taxes: Have you signed the Americans for Tax Reform Pledge to oppose any tax increases to raise revenue? (The answer to this question is taken from the database of signatories of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, created by Americans for Tax Reform. Signers to the pledge promise to oppose "any and all tax increases" meant to generate additional revenue.)
Braley: No
Ernst: Yes

Taxes: Would you increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?
Braley: Yes
Ernst: No. See above.

Learn more about the candidates:
Braley: Bruce Braley Vote Smart pages and Bruce Braley On the Issues pages
Ernst: Joni Ernst Vote Smart pages and Joni Ernst On the Issues pages
Both candidates: For candidate answers to the Des Moines Register questions see Des Moines Register Compare the Candidates

----------
Other senate candidates include Doug Butzier (Libertarian), and independents Bob Quast, Ruth Smith, and Rick Stewart. Limited space precludes including their positions, but we invite you to check out their websites.