Ernst skips Des Moines Register meeting

Story highlights

  • Iowa Senate candidate Jodi Ernst skips out on meeting with Des Moines Register
  • The paper's publisher called the move "rare," but said it won't affect the paper's endorsement.
  • Ernst is in a neck-and-neck race with her opponent, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.
  • The Braley campaign pounced on Ernst's cancellation in a conference call Thursday afternoon
Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst canceled a meeting with the Des Moines Register editorial board Thursday, a move that the newspaper's publisher and president described as "rare."
Ernst was scheduled to meet with the editorial board Thursday morning and skipped out in a "last minute" move Wednesday afternoon, Des Moines Register publisher Rick Green confirmed to CNN.
"I think that Iowa voters were cheated because of the fact that she didn't appear and have more of a chance to articulate details on her strategy, vision and long term priorities," Green said. He said that her absence will "not be the deciding factor" in which candidate the editorial board chooses to endorse in the race.
The Braley campaign pounced on Ernst's cancellation of the Register in a conference call Thursday afternoon, calling her move a "major change in strategy for the Ernst campaign."
"I know she made mistakes recently where she accidentally revealed her extreme positions...but those are not good reasons to hide from an open conversation to help voters make decisions," said Sarah Benzing, Braley's campaign manager. "It's one thing to stick with talking points at events. It's another to sit down with editorial board members and answer tough questions."
The Register endorsed Ernst in her primary election in May. The paper also picked Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential contest.
A representative from the Ernst campaign did not return CNN's request for comment on why Ernst didn't attend her meeting, but a campaign spokeswoman mentioned the Register's editorials, many of which are critical of Ernst, in a statement to POLITICO.
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"Recent editorials in the Des Moines Register make their position in this race perfectly clear," spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel said. "And it's one that many voters across our state seem to disagree with."
Ernst, currently an Iowa state senator, is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley. The pair is locked in a tight race with a Quinnipiac University poll from Thursday morning showing Ernst leading Braley at 48 percent and 46 percent respectively. Ernst's two point lead is within the poll's margin error.
Green said the Ernst's last-minute decision to eschew the editorial board meeting was not unprecedented, but it was rare.
"Candidates do what candidates do," he said.