Iowa Republican Joni Ernst, the nominee for U.S. Senate and potentially the first-ever woman senator from the Hawkeye State, has a new ad out highlighting her record of service to Iowa and the nation. The ad represents a new direction for the self-described “mother, soldier, conservative,” who will soon return from a two-week deployment with the Iowa National Guard.
Ernst took a crowded GOP nomination field by storm, first making headlines with a brazen and remarkably fresh ad back in March entitled “Squeal,” in which she humorously spoke about her experience “castrating hogs.” Then, a May ad called “Shot,” depicted the candidate readying a firearm and preparing “to take aim at wasteful spending” before promising to “set her sights on ObamaCare.”
The latest ad dubbed “Service,” aims to kill two birds with one stone so to speak. While underscoring her military service and sense of duty, the ad also draws a stark contrast with her Democratic opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley, who The Gazette is reporting missed 78 percent of the full Veterans’ Affairs hearings scheduled in 2011 and 2012.
“If the Republican Party of Iowa had said Braley missed 74 percent of full committee hearings, the claim would be true. In fact, we found Braley missed 78 percent of the full hearings in 2011 and 2012,” The Gazette reported.
Braley attended four of 19 hearings of the full Veterans’ Affairs Committee, or 78 percent, according to minutes from the U.S. Government Printing Office. The Braley campaign responded by claiming he missed a number of committee hearings because of other commitments, even mentioning other hearings and one particular personal visit to a veteran. But when The Gazette looked into their claim, they found that “on at least one occasion, those obligations were at different times of the day.”
PPD’s 2014 Senate Map Predictions model currently rates the Iowa Senate race a “Toss-Up” for a number of reasons, including demons of Braley’s own design. Braley, a trial lawyer and establishment-picked nominee, suffers from a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease.
A video shared with the Des Moines Register showed Braley claiming to be a farmer during a Fourth of July parade at Iowa Falls. Of course, Braley is not a farmer, and was clearly making a terrible attempt to rectify another, more politically damaging mistake.
Braley was caught on camera back in March trashing Iowa’s most popular senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, and he did so in full elitist fashion, belittling Iowa farmers. Braley was clearly insinuating that Iowans shouldn’t send a less intelligent farmer over a trial lawyer to the U.S. Senate, which is not a good look.
Now, with the VA scandals resulting in severe backlogs and patient waiting lists that have been falsified under a Democratic administration, Republicans aren’t missing a single chance to pounce on Rep. Braley for his lack of diligence.
“Washington liberal Bruce Braley had the chance to pro-actively address the backlog of disability claims within the VA but decided to skip the hearing,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox. “With an absentee rate of 78 percent on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, it’s clear Braley thinks his time is better spent pushing Barack Obama’s job-killing agenda than ensuring that our veterans receive proper care from the VA.”
Democrats have quietly become very concerned about this race, which was once thought to be a favored seat for the Democratic Party. But that’s all in the past, if the other pundit’s prognostications were ever valid to begin with. As we previously examined, Iowa voters have aligned with the GOP on the majority of issues up for debate this cycle, and have consistently showed a preference for a Republican-controlled Senate.
Democrats’ fears of losing this seat are likely to turn into realistic nightmares if this continues and, while we are keeping our rating a “Toss-Up” for now, the Iowa Senate race is slowly but surely shifting from purple to light red.
|Poll||Date||Sample||MoE||Ernst (R)||Braley (D)||Spread|
|PPD Average||6/4 – 7/13||—||—||44.0||43.3||Ernst +0.7|
|NBC News/Marist||7/7 – 7/13||1599 RV||2.5||43||43||Tie|
|Quinnipiac||6/12 – 6/16||1277 RV||2.7||40||44||Braley +4|
|Loras College||6/4 – 6/5||600 LV||4.0||48||42||Ernst +6|
|Rasmussen Reports||6/4 – 6/5||750 LV||4.0||45||44||Ernst +1|