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House and Senate seats. The others, however, have missed none or relatively few votes, although state Sen.

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"While most voters don't pay attention to daily roll call votes in the Iowa Senate or Iowa House, they expect and assume their legislators are working hard on their behalf," Larimer added. Legislators don't want to create Nike Air Max Uptempo Green

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shortchanging people in her southwest Iowa district. Rep. Bruce Braley, D Waterloo, in November to decide Harkin's replacement.

Where's state Sen. Joni Ernst?

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Some of the votes Ernst missed included a proposal to establish a new state juvenile facility for delinquent girls; legislation addressing criminal transmission of contagious and infectious diseases, a proposal to prevent wage theft by employers, and an initiative addressing elder abuse in Iowa. All those bills were approved. Her absence hasn't been a factor in any bill failing or winning approval from the Senate, records show.

Ernst didn't respond to The Des Moines Register's requests for comment. Senate campaign's Facebook page shows Ernst's appearances the previous week included stops in Ames, Polk County and Dallas County.

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That's a question being posed about the Red Oak Republican, who has disappeared from the Iowa Statehouse for most of the past two weeks. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Tom Harkin. Nike Uptempo 96 Obsidian

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Flowers said Ernst is keeping in close touch with the Iowa Senate, and he confirmed she may also miss some time at the Statehouse this session while performing military duty. But he insisted time spent on the campaign trail isn't Nike Air More Uptempo Scottie Pippen Shoes Black

The Senate Journal shows that over the past two weeks Ernst has participated in only one Senate session involving floor debate and she has missed votes on more than 60 bills during that time. Some bills required multiple votes.

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Ernst's absences haven't gone unnoticed outside of the Iowa Statehouse. In the last week, State Sen. Joni Ernst has missed 71 votes.

University of Northern Iowa political scientist Christopher Larimer said the issue of a candidate missing votes, particularly key votes, fits into a larger narrative about a potential dereliction of duty to current constituents. If Ernst's opponents are able to make a case or create that perception, it could make a difference in the campaign, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, Nike Vapormax Blue Orbit D Council Bluffs, declined to criticize Ernst. He said he recognizes that Senate members sometimes run for higher offices, although he discourages members of his own caucus from missing votes.

"Joni is working very hard. She is communicating with us every day and she is doing her very best to represent her constituents. We hear from her all the time," Dix said.

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´╗┐Campaigning during session raises issues for legislators

a perception that they are out of touch with ordinary voters, he explained.

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University of Iowa political scientist Timothy Hagle said it's not unusual for state legislators to be seeking higher office, which means they need to balance campaign work with their duties as an elected official. He suspects most Iowans are understanding about a legislator missing some votes, but if too many or deciding votes are missed on critical issues, the absences can become a point of contention.

However, Hagle added that each situation is different. "If you are missing a large number of votes it can certainly become an embarrassment. The question is how much effect it will have," he said.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, R Shell Rock, defended Ernst and expressed no objections to her missed votes, although he acknowledged not knowing her whereabouts last week when asked.

"She is doing a good job of serving her constituents back home, of serving in the Iowa National Guard, and she is running an aggressive campaign to beat Bruce Braley in the fall," Flowers said.

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