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NPR Correspondent Mara Liasson Weighs in on Iowa Politics

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Why do female candidates often go by their first names? Liasson weighs in on gender issues in politics.

Senator-Elect Joni Ernst's 'Squeal' ad made waves this election cycle. NPR political correspondent Mara Liassion believes Ernst's gender was crucial to that appeal.

 "A man could not have run that ad. If a man had run that ad, Democrats would have turned him into a Todd Akin-like cariacture. Only a woman could have done that. [...] These ads were light-hearted but they did use her gender in a creative way and an appealing way."

Liasson says that both parties courted women's votes in the 2014 election, leading to tactics like emphasizing motherhood in campaign ads (a strategy both first district Democratic candidate Staci Appel and Ernst employed).

Liasson is presenting "What Just Happened? The 2014 Elections and Beyond" at the Iowa State University Memorial Union next Thursday, November 13, at 7:30 PM.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Liasson about gender in politics, Iowa's congressional races, and what lies ahead for congress and the 2016 elections.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River