Washington Liberal Bruce Braley’s No Good, Very Bad, Terrible Week

MONDAY … Iowans Learned That Bruce Braley Thought About Suing His Neighbor Over Chickens

FOX News’ Bret Baier Reports That Bruce Braley Sued His Neighbor Because A Chicken Walked On His Lawn.  “Finally we will see in November if the chickens do in fact come home to roost for Iowa’s Democrat Senate nominee.  Congressman Bruce Braley has upset some folks in his neighborhood over a dispute involving chickens next door.  Yes chickens. … A member of Braley’s homeowners association tells Fox News Braley implied a lawsuit over the birds after one allegedly walked into his yard.”  (Bret Baier, Special Report, Fox News, 07/14/14)

TUESDAY … Stu Rothenberg Moved Iowa’s Senate Race To A Toss-Up

Roll Call’s Stu Rothenberg Moves Iowa’s Senate Race From Lean Democrat To Toss-Up.  “In something of a surprise, the sixth best Republican opportunity is now Iowa.Barack Obama carried Iowa twice, so Democrats ought to have a narrow but clear advantage to hold retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s open seat. But the combination of an interesting Republican nominee, Joni Ernst, and Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley’s early missteps has smart Democrats fretting about the contest. … But it’s no longer possible to see Braley as the clear favorite in this Senate race, which now looks like a Tossup.”  (Stu Rothenberg, Fight for the Senate Still Very Much Up in the Air, Roll Call, 07/15/14)

National Journal Declares Joni Ernst The Most Surprising Candidate For 2014.  Most surprising candidate: Joni Ernst (R), Iowa Senate nominee:  What a difference a year makes. The early conventional wisdom on Iowa’s Senate race was that Republicans lacked top-tier candidates and faced a high risk of nominating a too-conservative, less-electable candidate. After comfortably winning the primary, Ernst is proving that she’s one of the top Senate recruits in the country. Her farming background and military experience are major biographical assets, allowing her to draw a sharp contrast with Democrat Bruce Braley, an attorney. And Democrats haven’t found any damaging oppo against her (yet), while Braley has struggled to get past his videotaped comments at a fundraiser mocking Sen. Chuck Grassley for being a farmer without a law degree.  (The 2014 Against the Grain Awards, National Journal, 07/15/14)

@ManuRaju:  Post is bullish about Joni Ernst in #IASEN, saying she has a 78 percent chance of winning.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dre/politics/election-lab-2014#iowa

@RobEngstrom:  Trial lawyer @BruceBraley receives honorable mention from @NationalJournal as “most disappointing candidate.” http://ow.ly/zgEsY  #iasen

WEDNESDAY … Joni Ernst Outraised Bruce Braley In The Second Quarter And A NBC/Marist Poll Has Them Tied

The Des Moines Register Reports That Joni Ernst Outraised Washington Liberal Braley. “Republican Joni Ernst raised $1.78 million. She only had 26 days after winning the primary to fundraise as the GOP nominee, aides told The Des Moines Register. She had more than $1 million in the bank at the end of the period.”  (Jennifer Jacobs, Ernst Outraises Braley With Nearly $1.8 Million For The Quarter,The Des Moines Register, 07/16/14)

An NBC/Marist Poll Which Historically Leans Democrat Revealed Joni Ernst Tied With Bruce Braley.  A new NBC/Marist poll shows the Iowa Senate race between Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley is neck and neck. The poll shows both Ernst and Braley have 43% of registered voters.  (Beth Marsoun, NBC/Marist Poll Has Braley And Ernst Tied, KWQC-TV, 07/16/14)

MSNBC’s Mike Brzezinski Says Joni Ernst Is Surging.  “Republican candidate Joni Ernst, we know Joni.  She is surging.  Turning Iowa into a tight race. She’s tied up with Democrat Bruce Braley at 43 percent.  That’s an exciting race.”  (Mike Brzezinski, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, 07/16/14)

American Crossroads Releases A Web Video Highlighting That Braley Tried To Sue His Neighbor Over Chickens.  The farm animal theme in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, which has been rife with tales of barnyard braggadocio and imagery of peeping chicks, continues with a new attack ad with a chicken theme.

American Crossroads, a Karl Rove-backed conservative super PAC, released a Web ad today that touches on the kerfuffle earlier this year over some chickens that were running loose on Democrat Bruce Braley’s vacation property at Holiday Lake, near his native hometown of Brooklyn.

The covenant for the Holiday Lake private neighborhood bars anything but house pets. Braley notified the association lawyer, who was concerned about a possible lawsuit, according to emails provided to The Des Moines Register. The chicken owner is a veteran and Court Appointed Special Advocates volunteer who maintains that the chickens are therapy for the children she works with. The association lawyer decided the hens qualify as pets, but must be confined, the emails show.  (Jennifer Jacobs, Chasing Chickens: Barnyard Animal Theme Continues In Iowa Race, The Des Moines Register, 07/16/14)

@DToddHarris:  Spending in IA since primary: Dems: $1.5M; GOP: $750K. Race is tied. Iowans see through cheap attacks on @joniernst #iasen

@DDKochel:  March 24. Look it up. RT @TimAlbrechtIA: Good lord. When’s the last time@BruceBraley woke up and said it’s a good day to be me? #iasen

THURSDAY … Iowans Learned That Bruce Braley Consistently Missed His VA Committee Hearings In Washington

Iowa Republican Party Hammered Washington Liberal Bruce Braley For Missing 74 Percent Of His VA Committee Hearings.  “With Lt. Colonel Joni Ernst in the midst of her two-week training with the Iowa Army National Guard, today the Republican Party of Iowa is reminding voters that while he served on House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Bruce Braley skipped 74 percent of his full committee hearings.”  (While Joni Ernst Trains With The Iowa Army National Guard, Iowans Are Reminded That Bruce Braley Skipped 74% Of His VA Hearings, Press Release, 07/17/14)

@JoniErnst:  Guess who’s #OnDutyForJoni tonight? The Govs! Thank you @GovChristie [email protected]! #iasen #iapolitics

@JoniErnst[email protected] also joined the Govs on being #OnDutyForJoni tonight in Davenport! Thank you! #iasen #iapolitics

FRIDAY … The Cook Political Report Moved Iowa’s Senate Race To A Toss-Up

The Cook Political Report Moves Iowa’s Senate Race From Lean Democrat To Toss-Up.  Democrats settled on their nominee, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, early. Braley is a solid recruit, but he has taken several missteps, including insulting Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is very popular in the state.  He will also to defend his voting record, including his vote for the Affordable Care Ac, at a time when President Obama’s job approval ratings are upside down. … Polling indicates, though, that the race is a dead heat.  At this writing, the HuffPollster trend line shows the candidates separated by one-tenth of a point.  The race has moved to the Toss Up column.  (Jennifer Duffy, Iowa Senate: Moves to Toss Up, Cook Political Report, 07/18/14)

The Wall Street Journal Reports That The GOP Has Pummeled Bruce Braley.  Friday brings yet another indication that Senate Democrats are in trouble this year.  The nonpartisan Cook Political Report moved Iowa’s Senate race from its Lean Democratic column to Toss Up – a downgrade for Democrats that comes a day after an NBC/Marist poll found Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in a dead heat with Republican Joni Ernst, an Iowa state senator.  For months, polling showed Mr. Braley in the lead over Ms. Ernst, who won a Republican primary last month. But Republicans have pummeled him for remarks recorded at a January fundraiser in which he disparaged Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) as a “farmer from Iowa” who could take the reins of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Mr. Braley suffered another round of bad press this week after Mr. Braley got into a spat over chickens with neighbors at his vacation home.  (Cook Downgrade: Another Bad Sign for Senate Democrats, The Wall Street Journal, 07/18/14)

Joni Ernst Released A Web Video Highlighting Her Service To Our Country.  “Today, Mother, Soldier, Independent Leader and Iowa’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Joni Ernst, released a web ad titled, ‘Service.’”  (Joni Ernst, Press Release, 07/18/14)

Kay Henderson The Dean Of The Iowa Press Corps Said Democrats Can’t Believe Bruce Braley Attacked Senator Chuck Grassley For Being A Farmer.  “I want to go back to the video that you mentioned that is being played over and over of what Congressman Braley said in Texas.  Talk about eye rolling.  There’s a lot of Democrats who have rolled their eyes about that.  There’re sorta incredulous that a candidate running for the United States Senate would ever decide to utter that kind of a statement.  It’s an indictment of him as a legitimate candidate.”  (Kay Henderson, Iowa Press, PBS, 07/18/14)