The Hill reports, Democrat party “increasingly worries (Iowa) could be the tipping point for Senate control,” as Rep. Bruce Braley continues to mostly fail and now flail in an effort to hold off the surging campaign of Republican Joni Ernst.
Recent polls find a coin-flip race between Braley and Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst(R), and but the national party increasingly worries it could be the tipping point for Senate control.
“If the Democrats lose Iowa, of course it becomes much harder to keep the majority,” said one national Democratic strategist. “The race could very much go either way. We feel like the worst is behind us and it’s moving back towards Bruce Braley. But we know we don’t have this wrapped up.”
While true that Braley has committed a series of missteps and gaffes that seriously hurt him in Iowa, lost in that narrative is that Republican Joni Ernst has emerged as a solid, accomplished candidate in her own right.
A neighbor has claimed (Braley) threatened to sue because her chickens kept wandering in his yard, and Republicans have been hammering him for missing Veterans Affairs Committee hearings. In-state observers say he’s stiff and awkward at times on the campaign trail, while Ernst is better at retail politicking.
David Yepsen, a thirty-year veteran of the Des Moines Register who now directs the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said Braley’s “farmer” gaffe “really redefined the race” and was “one of the biggest political stumbles I’ve ever seen.