Rural America Getting More Attention During 2020 Election Races

The U.S. election is rapidly drawing closer, and the results will determine the country’s path forward over the next four years. The election will determine agriculture policy moving forward, with several influential elections taking place in different states. Chris Clayton is the Ag Policy Editor with DTN. He says one of the most important races for the future of ag policy is going on in Minnesota.

“I think the race that a lot of people who are in agriculture are going to be watching is House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson’s race in the Minnesota Seventh District. He’s been the chairman, off and on, since 2008, and he’s running for his 16th term if I remember correctly. He’s the rock in the House of Representatives when it comes to agricultural policy, so everybody’s going to be paying very close attention to see if he can hold on in that race.”

The race to replace retiring Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts is another one worth watching.

“His seat is an open seat; the Republican is Roger Marshall, who’s a member of the House Agriculture Committee. He’s favored to win that race from what I understand, but what that does mean is that next year, no matter who wins the Senate, we’ll have a new agricultural committee chairman there.”

He says five Senate Ag Committee races could shape the direction of agricultural policy in different ways, depending on the outcome of the election.

“The big one is in Iowa, where the polls show Joni Ernst is trailing Democrat Theresa Greenfield. Ernst has been in office six years, so she’s had one term and she’s up for her first reelection, and that race is a very expensive dogfight right now, with Iowa up for grabs in the presidential race and the Senate race is up for grabs as well.”

Rural American votes helped to propel Donald Trump into the Oval Office, with Democrats and candidate Joe Biden taking notice.

“The rural areas will play a big focus, where it’s always about the margins. The Democrats, this time around, have been a lot more focused on rural issues, and it seems like I get peppered with stuff from Democrats that I did not get four years ago. There’s just a lot more focus on it, and it’s not so much that they expect to win places like rural Minnesota or rural Iowa, but they want to reduce the margin of victory for Trump and Republicans.”