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Tags: Bruce Braley

Bruce Braley, Missing a Few — Okay, 75 Percent — of Veterans Committee Meetings



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Tough day for Democratic Senate candidates. Below you see the news about Montana senator John Walsh, and now bad news for Representative Bruce Braley, running in Iowa:

Over a two-year period, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley missed 75 percent of meetings for a committee that provides oversight over the Veterans Administration, including one meeting on a day he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign.

Look, it’s not like the VA needed a lot of close oversight in recent years, right?

Tags: Bruce Braley

GOP’s Ernst Trails Slightly in Iowa



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This is not a bad place for the GOP’s Senate candidate in Iowa, Joni Ernst, to start:

State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senator in Iowa, trails U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democrat, 44 – 40 percent, as an unusual gender gap shows women supporting the man while men support the woman, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This compares to a 42 – 29 percent Braley lead over Ernst in a March 13 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University.

We’ll see how things play out in the coming months, but the survey suggests a familiar gender divide: “Today, women back Braley 47 – 36 percent, while men back Ernst 44 – 40 percent.” This, and past results, suggest the “to win over more women voters, Republicans need to nominate more women candidates” approach is a bit too simplistic a strategy.

Tags: Joni Ernst , Bruce Braley

Steyer’s Green SuperPAC to Help Past Keystone-Backer Braley



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Tom Steyer is not really an environmentalist billionaire, seeking to stand up for his values on the topic of climate change. He’s a deeply partisan Democrat, who’s willing to forgive and overlook past stances and votes of his preferred party in ways he never would for a Republican lawmaker.

The news today:

In Iowa, NextGen will back Representative Bruce Braley, a Democratic candidate for the Senate who voted for a House climate change bill in 2009. The group will attack Mr. Braley’s potential Republican opponents, State Senator Joni Earnst or Mark Jacobs, a former electric energy company executive, by criticizing claims they have made questioning climate science.

Here’s Democratic representative Bruce Braley, the man they’re trying to help elect, April 8, 2012:

“I’m encouraged that this bill will help expedite the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline project is an opportunity to create thousands of jobs in Iowa and the Midwest and reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Environmental concerns must be addressed, and this bill provides an avenue to air those concerns to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Keystone XL has attracted rare bipartisan support because of the enormous economic benefits it will provide. It should move forward quickly once it’s approved.”

Of course, in 2013, Braley suddenly flip-flopped and voted against a Keystone bill that was identical to the one he had previously voted for in committee a month earlier.

Perhaps Braley realized he wanted Steyer’s assistance for his Senate ambitions.

Tags: Tom Steyer , Bruce Braley

‘So God Made a Trial Lawyer . . .’



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America Rising puts together aspiring Democratic senator Bruce Braley’s “just a farmer” comments with Paul Harvey’s 1978 “So God Made a Farmer” speech . . . 

Separately, they turn the page to another chapter of the long, long, detailed nonfiction book entitled, “Representative Bruce Braley, Jerk.”

Tags: Bruce Braley

‘We’d Rather Bet the Farm on Grassley Than a Bunch of Trial Lawyers from Texas.’



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Bruce Braley may want to avoid watching television for the next few days. Or weeks. Or months. “Priorities for Iowa” is dropping $250,000 worth of this 30-second ad:

Is this going to be this cycle’s “macaca”?

Tags: Bruce Braley , Chuck Grassley , Iowa

Sneering at Farmers Is an Odd Strategy for an Iowa Candidate



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Way to Go, Iowa Democrats. You Found a Candidate Who Sneers at Farmers.

Bruce Braley . . . what a jerk.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley apologized this afternoon for offending Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley after video footage surfaced that shows Braley mocking Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”

In an effort to embarrass Braley, Republican operatives today began to circulate the video of him warning some out-of-state lawyers that Grassley might become the next judiciary committee chairman if they didn’t contribute money to help elect Braley.

I’d say it’s pretty hard for “Republican operatives” to try to embarrass Braley when he’s already done such a fine job at that task himself.

The remarks by Braley, a trial lawyer and congressman who is running in the high-stakes open race for retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat, quickly caught fire on Twitter and various national news sites, as politics watchers predicted that this incident will bruise a campaign that they’ve been confident would see victory in November. And Grassley’s staff pulled no punches in responding this afternoon.

“If you help me win this race,” Braley says in the video, posted online by a donor after the Jan. 23 fundraiser in Corpus Christi, Texas and released today by the conservative America Rising PAC, “you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone’s who’s been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years in a visible and public way on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Did you notice he’s talking about tort reform as if it’s a bad thing?

“Or you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Braley says. “Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Chuck Todd notes, “A big unforced error on Braley’s part . . . not just elitist, but un-Iowan to attack another Iowan the way he did.”

UPDATE: Here’s the video of Braley, with more than 45,000 views by 9:00 this morning:

Tags: Bruce Braley , Iowa , Chuck Grassley

Iowans Prepare for a Long-Forgotten Ancient Ritual: Open-Seat Senate Race



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Over the weekend, Iowa Democratic senator Tom Harkin, 73, announced he will retire, after a mere five terms in the U.S. Senate. His departure creates the first open Senate seat in Iowa since 1974.

The speculation about his replacement is focusing on three members of the U.S. House from Iowa — one Democrat and two Republicans:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley said Sunday that he is considering running for Harkin’s seat because supporters statewide have encouraged him to do so.

The Republican speculation is likely to focus on U.S. Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King.

Latham, of Clive, is a veteran member of the House Appropriations Committee who has won 10 consecutive elections. Latham’s office didn’t rule out a run for the Senate on Sunday.

“No decision has been made at this time. All doors remain open at this point,” said James Carstensen, Latham’s chief of staff.

Rep. Steve King, of Kiron, won a sixth term last fall by beating Iowa’s Democratic former first lady Christie Vilsack. King said in a statement that the retirement announcement was a surprise, and he congratulated Harkin on his long career.

“Iowans now have a real opportunity to elect a true constitutional conservative to help lead us out of our crisis of debt and deficit,” said King, who didn’t address whether he might run.

Latham has served in Congress since 1995; in 2012, under redrawn district lines, he beat a Democratic incumbent, Rep. Leonard Boswell, 52.2 percent to 43.5 percent. Latham’s district is made up of Iowa’s southwestern counties, and he carried all of them except Polk County.

Last year, King beat Christie Vilsack, wife of former governor and U.S. secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack, 52.9 percent to 44.8 percent. King’s district is made up of Iowa’s northwestern counties.

USA Today looks at the map of 2014 Senate races and notes that with Harkin and Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia retiring,

Democrats must try to hang onto two open seats in addition to defending 18 incumbents — and seven of the 20 races are in states that voted Republican in the presidential election. The red-state Senators on the 2014 ballot include Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Max Baucus of Montana, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Republicans will have 13 senators up for re-election, all but one — Susan Collins of Maine — from red states.

Tags: Bruce Braley , Steve King , Tom Harkin , Tom Latham

Redistricting Headaches for Carnahan and Four Iowa Incumbents



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Several bits of redistricting news out today. First the good news for the GOP in Missouri, where incumbent Democrat Russ Carnahan appears to member left standing during the district-line version of musical chairs:

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan’s congressional district would be carved up, with parts going to four colleagues’ districts under a preliminary redistricting plan unveiled Wednesday evening.

The map, drafted by Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country, represents the Legislature’s first attempt to redraw the boundaries to eliminate one of the state’s nine congressional districts to reflect the 2010 census.

Iowa’s redistricting is making life difficult for several incumbents in each party; these guys may decide the simpler solution is to just move:

So it turns out moving to Ames wasn’t quite far enough away for Republican Rep. Tom Latham to escape from being paired with fellow Republican Steve King.

The new, proposed map also tosses Democrats Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack together. That’s a more predictable outcome, because with growing eastern-Iowa populations it seemed likely that Johnson and Linn counties would be split up. Should this map be approved, Loebsack could move just a few miles away from his Mount Vernon home to get into Johnson or Cedar counties in the 2nd District.

I wonder if the National Association of Realtors lobbies for complicated redistricting maps, just to stir up the housing market by making lawmakers move a few miles to stay within their new district lines.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, they have to carve out a new seat out of a state that is already heavily Republican:

Over the next several months, one of the busiest spots in the capital will be the map room, where much of the work is done. Speculation has already begun as to which area of the state will get the new congressional district. Early discussion has centered on the Grand Strand because of its rapid growth, but the Rock Hill area, south of Charlotte, has been part of the conversation, too, along with the upstate cities of Spartanburg and Greenville.

Although McConnell told the Associated Press he worked hard to put together a balanced subcommittee, it’s widely expected that the new congressional district will be yet another Republican-controlled district. Five of the state’s current congressmen are Republicans.

Tags: Bruce Braley , Dave Loebsack , Redistricting , Russ Carnahan , Steve King , Tom Latham

Three Vulnerable House Democrat Incumbents in Iowa?



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The sample size in these polls isn’t enormous, and all of the incumbent Democrats still have okay leads in the head-to-head poll numbers. But obviously, there are a lot of frustrated and dissatisfied voters in Iowa, and none of these three can be terribly confident about reelection.

Bruce Braley, Leonard Boswell, and Dave Loebsack are all around 47 percent in the head-to-head match-ups, and that’s not a great place for an incumbent to be, particularly when the top of the ticket should be a GOP gubernatorial and senatorial landslide and voters’ mood is so sour.

A new poll released today by American Future Fund shows a strong disconnect between Iowans and Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda.

The poll was conducted by Voter/Consumer Research August 31 through September 3, 2010 in Iowa’s First, Second, and Third Congressional Districts.  Three hundred Iowans were polled per district and the results show low re-election numbers for incumbent Democratic Congressmen.

The standout issue for the majority of Iowa voters is jobs and the economy by an overwhelming margin.  Fifty-percent or more of all poll takers in each Iowa’s First, Second and Third Districts marked jobs and economy their main concern.

Only 39 percent of voters in Iowa’s First District believe Rep. Bruce Braley should be re-elected as their congressman.  Things aren’t much better for Rep. Leonard Boswell in the Iowa’s Third District either, as only 42 percent of voters believe he should retain his seat.  Rep. Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s Second District has only 40 percent of voters backing him in his re-election bid.

Tags: Ben Lange , Bruce Braley , Dave Loebsack , Leonard Boswell

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