POLITICS: PennAve

Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley apologizes for insulting Chuck Grassley, farmers

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Politics,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Mary Landrieu,Political Buzz,Washington Examiner,Magazine,Nate Silver

Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Iowa, was forced to apologize to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and the state's farmers after he was caught on video disparaging the veteran lawmaker.

At a fundraising event in Texas, Braley warned trial lawyers that Grassley, Iowa's senior senator, would be ill-prepared to head the Senate Judiciary Committee should Republicans win a majority in November.

His reasoning? Grassley is "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school," he said.

The GOP jumped on the remark, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee calling it "Bruce Braley's 47 percent moment.”

“Bruce Braley thinks the way to suck up to Texas trial lawyers is by bashing Iowa farmers. How out of touch with Iowa can you be?" added Joni Ernst, a GOP state senator looking to challenge Braley.

Braley moved quickly to make amends.

“I respect Sen. Grassley and enjoy our working relationship even though we disagree on some issues," Braley said. "I have tremendous respect for Iowa farmers and appreciate how important they are to our state, and I’m grateful to have the support of hundreds of farmers across Iowa.”

Braley, who has been outpacing his potential Republican opponents in polls, is running to replace Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who will retire at the end of his term.

Grassley does indeed own a farm, but has served as a state or federal lawmaker since 1959.

 

EMILY'S LIST STAYS MUM ON MARY LANDRIEU

As Republicans ramp up their ground game in Louisiana's Senate race, one top Democratic group is notably absent: EMILY's List.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is not on the organization's roster of endorsees.

EMILY's List's stated mission is to elect pro-choice Democratic women — "EMILY" stands for "Early Money Is Like Yeast" — and its fundraising emails emphasize the importance of holding the Senate. But in recent email blasts, Landrieu's name is nowhere to be seen.

The organization's website includes Landrieu on a list of “Women We Helped Elect.” And according to the Center for Responsive Politics, EMILY's List has been Landrieu's single largest supporter since 1995.

But in this election cycle, that help seems to have evaporated.

Reports say the group stopped supporting Landrieu in 2002 after she voted for a partial-birth abortion ban.

But a decade of pro-choice votes — and a zero-percent rating from National Right to Life in the 113th Congress — hasn’t put her back in the group’s good graces, leaving a key Democratic donor on the sidelines of what promises to be a close, expensive race.

Pelican State Republicans seem pleased.

"Mary's going to need all the friends she can get,” said Josh Robinson, who works for a super PAC that supports Republican Bill Cassidy. “If she's losing friends on the Left, it doesn't give her much of a fighting chance."

 

DEMOCRATS DOWNPLAY NATE SILVER'S SENATE PROJECTION

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is pushing back after data whiz Nate Silver projected that Republicans will take the Senate.

Silver gave Republicans a 60 percent chance of winning a Senate majority in the 2014 midterms.

But Democrats, who have in the past lauded Silver for his polling analysis, were skeptical of his latest projection.

"Nate Silver and the staff at FiveThirtyEight are doing groundbreaking work, but, as they have noted, they have to base their forecasts on a scarce supply of public polls," DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil wrote. "In some cases, more than half of these polls come from GOP polling outfits."

Cecil noted that in 2012 Silver incorrectly predicted Republican candidates would win in Montana and North Dakota, states where Democrats ultimately triumphed.

"In August of 2012, Silver forecasted a 61 percent likelihood that Republicans would pick up enough seats to claim the majority," Cecil added. "Three months later, Democrats went on to win 55 seats."

The DSCC, though, used Silver's latest prediction in a fundraising pitch to supporters, calling it "shocking" and "scary."

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