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Bruce Braley

#IASEN Roundup: Ernst at Exxon Mobil Funder

Rep. Bruce Braley

Rep. Bruce Braley

As this posts, Joni Ernst is scheduled to be at the McDermott Building in Washington, D.C. for a fundraiser with the Exxon Mobil Political Action Committee and the American Petroleum Institute.

Yesterday, Bruce Braley issued the following statement:

RELEASE: Ernst Cozies Up to Big Oil Backers, Who Are Working to Undermine RFS & 75,000 Iowa Jobs

While Bruce Braley and a bipartisan coalition of Iowa officials are fighting to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the nearly 75,000 Iowa jobs it helps support, State Sen. Joni Ernst, who has repeatedly said she is “philosophically opposed” to the RFS, is headed to D.C. for a fundraiser tomorrow with big oil special interests who are working to gut the RFS and harm Iowa’s economy:

WHO-TV: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst said Monday she didn’t see a problem in going to a campaign fundraiser sponsored by groups that don’t want to see preference given to renewable fuels, which are prevalent in ethanol-rich Iowa’s rural communities.Ernst is scheduled to attend the Wednesday fundraiser in Washington, D.C, that is sponsored by the political action committees for the American Petroleum Institute and Exxon Mobil.

Ernst, who has already been the beneficiary of nearly $3 million in outside spending and a maximum campaign contribution from the oil billionaire Koch brothers, will continue to see her anti-Iowa positions rewarded at tomorrow’s event that is hosted by Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and other special interests who want to see the RFS weakened and Iowa’s economy harmed. Exxon Mobil, which has worked against the bipartisan RFS, received an “F” from the Renewable Fuels Association, while the director of the API recently said of his organization’s efforts to gut the RFS: “If it can’t be changed this year, we’ll move into next year.”

Today, Braley for Iowa held a conference call with former Lt. Gov and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge and Bruce Rohwer, a farmer from O’Brien County, criticizing Ernst for putting the special interests above Iowa.

“With the future of Iowa’s energy economy and nearly 75,000 Iowa jobs tied to renewable energy, Joni Ernst has clearly chosen to stand with big oil instead of with Iowa,” said Rohwer. “While Bruce Braley is working across the party divide and doing everything he can to protect Iowa’s renewable energy industry, Ernst’s philosophical opposition to the RFS is being rewarded this week in Washington by the very same groups—like Exxon Mobil and the American Petroleum Institute—who are actively working to destroy the Renewable Fuel Standard and threaten thousands of Iowa jobs. If the Koch brothers and other anti-Iowa big oil companies are trusting Joni Ernst with their money, it’s clear she cannot be trusted to protect the RFS and Iowa jobs.”

Last November, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft rule that weakens the RFS and gives an unfair advantage to big oil, while harming Iowa’s farmers and energy producers. While big oil has been forcefully lobbying to weaken the RFS, Braley has been a bipartisan champion for Iowa’s interests. Beyond taking his case directly to the President, Vice President and EPA Administrator, Braley has helped organize Iowans of all political affiliations to demonstrate the importance of the RFS to the nation’s economy and energy future.

Late last year, he was the only member of the Iowa U.S. House delegation to join Governor Terry Branstad at an EPA hearing where they spoke to the positive impact the RFS has on Iowa. In November 2013, Braley teamed up with Republican Rep. Steve King to host an event with Iowa State’s Bioeconomy Institute to explain to Congressional staff the importance of keeping the RFS at its current levels. At Braley’s request, Iowa consistently has had representation at Congressional hearings examining the future of the RFS. And early this year, he helped deliver 100,000 signatures to the EPA to keep the RFS “strong.”

In stark contrast, Joni Ernst has repeatedly voiced her “philosophical” opposition to the RFS and supported ending all energy subsidies.

Donate to the Bruce Braley campaign by clicking here.

Braley-Ernst In The Heat Of Summer

Political Pizza Server at RAGBRAI

Political Pizza Server at RAGBRAI

At BFIA we keep calm and help progressive Democrats win elections.

Sweet corn is in, first tomatoes are being harvested, and RAGBRAI just finished. We are in the summer doldrums of this midterm election campaign, where the real action is going with statewide canvasses by the Democratic coordinated campaign. Republicans are still playing catch up.

Despite tremendous corporate and social media clamor, there doesn’t appear to be much going in the Bruce Braley-Joni Ernst race to replace U.S. Senator Tom Harkin when he retires at the end of this term. Campaign and political operatives might argue otherwise, but that’s what they do.

Speaking of Harkin, he is doing what he normally does, and made a surprise appearance on Saturday at a Kevin Kinney fund raiser in Senate District 39. At the county fair last Thursday, I was asking Kinney where was Harkin? Question answered. There are some things that are consistent about Iowa politics, and we will miss Tom Harkin when he retires.

Ben Jacobs at The Daily Beast, but he wrote an interesting article titled, “The Bruce Braley-Joni Ernst Race Is Iowa’s Ugliest Senate Campaign Ever.” Read it here if you have the stomach for it.

Maggie Haberman at Politico wrote one titled, “Struggling Bruce Braley Shakes Up Campaign.” She wrote, “Iowa Democratic Senate hopeful Bruce Braley has shaken up his campaign, parting ways with admaker Larry Grisolano and pollster Diane Feldman after Republican Joni Ernst emerged from the primary with more momentum than anticipated.”

This race has always been neck and neck from the grassroots view, and Haberman’s copy’s ideological bent has been typical of corporate media. Of course the Republicans assert Ernst has already won the race. Poppycock, and they know it.

Whether it’s poll-tested or not, it makes a weary day to constantly hear about how much money the Koch Brothers are pouring into the election, so a reprieve from that, though unlikely, would be welcome with the Braley staff changes.

If you haven’t, read the BFIA piece about the Braley-Ernst race here.

The real work of the campaign won’t make the corporate or social media, in fact, little will be heard about it unless one is on the list of Democratic volunteers. Grassroots organizing has been the Democratic advantage, and while RPI chair Jeff Kaufmann believes he can catch up, it remains to be seen. They have been playing catch up since the 2006 midterms.

Summer is a time for county fairs, time at a beach, and harvesting the garden. A lot is going on in the Democratic campaign that you’ll never hear about on social media. It is important to remember that, and get involved with the campaign as summer turns to fall and school begins in three or four weeks.

If you can, donate to Bruce Braley’s campaign here.

“We Are Willing To Fight For It!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Senator Elizabeth Warren at Netroots Nation last Saturday:

If Reublicans take control of the senate, our country will once more be stopped from moving forward. Worse yet we will most likely go through two years of money wasting impeachment hearings or nearly as bad, committees clogged with nothing but investigations on Obama (and Hillary Clinton by proxy).

Elizabeth Warren lays out in a short space most of what the Democratic Party stands for:
- Addressing the Climate Crisis
- Equality
- regulation of Wall Street
- Good, affordable Education through post secondary.
- decent paying jobs and equality of pay
- Science
- net neutrality
- Social Security and Medicare.
- Women

Give a few hours and a few dollars to help Bruce Braley. Iowa simply can’t afford to send another far right wing Republican to Washington. Also, do not forget Dave Loebsack, Staci Appel, Jim Mowrer (to beat the crazy King) and Pat Murphy. Iowa desperately need to fully retire our part-time, double-dipping, scandal ridden governor and put a man with vision, Jack Hatch, in his place.

A few dollars, a few hours and we can do it!


Iowa’s Summer Campaign Has Begun

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

A small group of local, long-time political activists met last week with one of the 80 or so paid organizers for the Coordinated Campaign of the Iowa Democratic Party. Electing Bruce Braley as Iowa’s next U.S. Senator was at the top of our to-do list.

We don’t see each other often, but share the experience of working on election campaigns over many cycles. We know what it would mean if power in the U.S. Senate switched from Democratic to Republican leadership. If it’s up to us, that won’t happen, and each person at the meeting was willing to invest resources of time, money and thoughtful participation toward electing Braley to the U.S. Senate.

What does that mean in 2014?

It means participating in canvasses organized by paid staff, attending candidate and party-sponsored events when our schedule permits, and writing checks to campaigns when we have resources. That’s only part of the picture. Increasingly, it’s a small part.

More than anything, modern political campaigns require each of us be engaged in a community, without regard for political affiliation, and do things that make sense to advance our views. In rural communities especially, the human landscape of society doesn’t change enough from one election cycle to the next to pretend neighbors and friends don’t remember what was said in a letter to the editor, or at an event the last cycle. This persistence of memory can be a blessing and a curse in political campaigns.

Campaigns send a lot of requests for political donations, almost none of which get acted upon. The rationale is a variation on a theme that the numbers justify them. That is, if a request is sent to 10,000 people, there will be a financial return. This cycle, I am hearing more about Charles and David Koch, The Heritage Foundation and political action committees than ever. Campaigns keep sending the messages reinforcing a negativity that is hard to ignore.

At the grassroots, people understand the difference between a political action committee and a candidate, and at the end of the day, when there is an extra $25 in the checking account, a donation will go to a candidate, not a third party. Plenty of folks feel that way.

The summer’s string of parades, picnics, car races, music concerts, annual gatherings and county fairs is only just beginning, and political candidates are attending. We don’t put a lot of stock in what a particular candidate may say at an event, but there is an unspoken expectation they will show up in person from time to time, and that through these and other presences in person and in media, we will get to know them.

The weather has been exceptionally good for outdoors gatherings, and 2014 will be a summer to remember if for no other reason than that. Politics affects our lives, but we go on living.

Summer is the time to get involved with a political campaign, so start by checking out the Iowa Democratic Party. In case you missed it, Bruce Braley could use your help as well.

Day Of Action!

Here is a great way to celebrate the birth of the country. This weekend is a DAY OF ACTION all weekend. For Democrats to win elections this fall we must get the vote out. It is time to start working to get things moving. From an IDP email:

I have to tell you — my team and I are really fired up. We’ve got dozens of organizers all across the state gearing up for their first big weekend of action, and I’d love for you to be a part of it.

From Cedar Rapids to Sioux City, our grassroots team and volunteers like yourself will come together to make phone calls and knock doors for Democratic candidates up and down the ticket.

Please click here to find an event near you.

As the Iowa Democratic Party Field Director, I spend most of my day crunching numbers and looking at our data. Every time we have a new volunteer sign up for an event, there’s a big smile on my face.

These events are fun, but going door to door and talking to friends and neighbors is our best bet for victory this November.

Iowans talking to Iowans about the issues that matter and what’s at stake in this election – what could be better?

Whether you’re a veteran volunteer or interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, I hope you will join us.

Iowa’s New Gift To Comedians

hat tip to earlg at democraticunderground

hat tip to earlg at democraticunderground

As I sit here listening to Stephanie Miller Iowa is getting some great publicity. We are once more home to a candidate that is so out of touch, so out of the norm, so crazy that the nation is taking notice. This time it is not Steve King. King has been relatively quiet so far. As a side King has said more than enough in the past that Jim Mowrer can point to easily to prove King is way outside the norms of America.

This time the national notice comes from the candidacy of Joni Ernst, the teabagger, soldier, teabagger, mother, teabagger and Iowa state senator who never comes to work. To say she has extremist views is the same as saying the Koch Brothers have money. Based on Joni’s pronouncements and tweets it sure seems like she is much more interested in getting some of that Koch brothers money rather than votes of Iowa’s citizens.Well, actually, it is beginning to seem like the Ernst campaign will bring Iowa and the nation a two Ernst yuk fest. On one hand we have Joni herself calling the mass murders at the University of California in Santa Barbara an “accident.” Then we have Joni erasing a tweet expressing some relief that fellow soldier and POW Bowe Bergdahl had been freed after the anti-Obama crazies in the Tea Party decided that freeing an American POW was (for the first time in history) a bad thing. Can’t get that Koch money if you say something that in any way can be interpreted as saying something good about Obama.

Ernst made a big flap about the use of a chick in a Braley ad, showing that the Ernst team would not stand for anything, anything that would smack of sexism. But they failed to check in house and have embarrassingly had Ernst’s husband, Gail, caught posting a couple of flat out sexist posts on Facebook. A recently discovered post by Gail called former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano a “traitorous skank.” A previously discovered facebook post called Hillary Clinton a “hag.”

These were not posts that were of a momentary nature. No, they were both posted well over a year ago. Thus Joni had plenty of time to have read them and raised hell with her husband. Were they truly so “appalling” Joni had 13 to 14 months to explain the offending nature of such posts. The fact that they stayed up throughout her long campaign makes me think she is quite new to the world of of what is offensive language. And it wasn’t like she didn’t have time, since she seldom showed up for her job as a state senator.

The saddest thing about is that someone so demonstrably in the extreme of national politics has a real chance to become a real live United States senator, someone who will make decisions that will drastically affect our lives. We know Ernst desires to see Social Security ended, we know that she is against a minimum wage, she is also against the Clean Water Act and the Farm Bill. In short she is out of step with Iowa but in full lockstep stride with the Koch brothers and the extremist right wing of the Tea Party.

If this wasn’t so serious, I would laugh.

AND AS IF WE NEEDED A REMINDER THAT YOUR VOTE COUNTS: The unbeatable Eric Cantor fell to the unknown David Brat in a primary. If that can happen, it is pretty obvious that if enough common sense minded voters do not vote, Joni Ernst could become a US senator.

Midterms, Caucuses And Polls, Oh My!

Rep. Bruce Braley

Rep. Bruce Braley

It must be tough being the newspaper Iowa depends upon for Republican news. First the Rasmussen polls showing U.S. Senate candidates Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst in a statistical dead heat with 44 -45 percent of 750 likely Iowa voters respectively. There is no story there unless the horse race is like yesterday’s Belmont Stakes where there is a potential triple crown winner to spark interest. Even so, the thoroughbreds come out of the gate with the same distance to go, even-Steven, so the poll doesn’t mean much.

The Des Moines Register faithfully reported that the Rasmussen poll has a GOP bias, but what about the headline they chose, “Polls following primary show Ernst leading Braley?” That must have been based upon the Loras College poll of 600 likely general election voters, which shows Ernst with a bigger lead over Braley. The primary was five days ago, and the Loras poll only shows how much Ernst has to lose during the campaign.

Then there was the Selzer poll of 400 likely primary-goers released yesterday showing a wide open race for Republicans in 2016. No sh*t Sherlock, it’s more than eighteen months until caucus night. One expects potential presidential candidates to get to Iowa and help candidates during this year’s midterms, and a number of Republicans did show up to support Ernst in the primary. After Labor Day, this story about Republicans might have more meaning.

As a person who has polled tens of thousands of potential voters and caucus-goers at their doors and on the telephone, over several election cycles, I’ve found there is something more important going on in Iowa that presents a real threat to Bruce Braley and the Democrats. What if Republicans abandon the Bob Vander Plaats and Ron Paul splinter groups of their party?

Soon the Republicans will choose a new party chair to replace Danny Carroll who was elected when A.J. Spiker resigned to pursue a job with Ron Paul’s political action committee. Is there another potential chair, not affiliated with the Family Leader, the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition or Ron Paul libertarians? If there is, and that person were elected as Republican party chair, they might actually have a chance to regain direction and become more effective than their perennial clown car of candidates makes them out to be.

The Des Moines Register highlighted the problem the Republican Party has. During the Carroll’s balloting, seven central committee members “voted yes for Carroll, mistakenly thinking they were casting a vote to close nominations and move to ballots.” Partisan Democrats may be gleeful about such mishaps and foibles, but the truth is that with six months until the Nov. 4 midterms, it is conceivable Republicans could get their act together sufficiently to attract enough no party voters to get their slate of candidates in.

If Democrats care about electing Bruce Braley, retaining the Iowa Senate and gaining some seats in the Iowa House, they had better quit being entertained by the antics of the other party, and start closing the deal with the disaffected no party voters. For those of us who remember 2010, it is not a given that they will.

Bruce Braley: Climate Disruption Is Real

Rep. Bruce Braley

Rep. Bruce Braley

Bruce Braley Statement on Carbon Reduction Plan
Thursday, June 5, 2014

Washington, D.C.– Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today released the following statement after the announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency of a preliminary plan to reduce carbon emissions.

“In the year before these standards go into effect I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of Iowa to ensure that this proposal works for our consumers and businesses—but it’s clear that Iowa utilities are ahead of the curve on these standards, and that’s good news for Iowa’s consumers. The bottom line is that climate disruption is real, and that Iowa has been a global leader in tackling it head on with tremendous growth in areas like wind energy and renewable fuels. Reducing our carbon output is not only necessary for the health of the planet, it’s an opportunity to continue to improve the health of the Iowa economy—which is and will remain my number one priority.”

Click here to donate to Bruce Braley’s U.S. Senate campaign.

Braley: Equal Justice

Bruce Braley is fighting for the middle class and is being targeted by the Koch Brothers. He needs your support. Click here to join the campaign.



Hillary-ClintonKarl Rove made an absolutely insane statement earlier this week. Since it was so out there only about 1/3 of Americans will believe it instead of the usual half. As you may well know, what Rove said was:

“Thirty days in the hospital?” he asked, as quoted by the Post. “And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have a traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”

When the hew and cry went up against the smear that Rove launched he tried to walk his comment back a bit claiming that he never said “brain damage.” But the implication was there and no doubt he would have let it ride had there not been such an outcry. Rove used to use rumor campaigns to get stories like this out there – one example being the John McCain “black baby” story in South Carolina in 2000.But he no longer seems to have the press at his fingertips and had to go out in public with his accusation. He used to be able to claim it wasn’t him doing the dirt, but in this case it is a quote.

Couple things about this. First it is a flat out lie. Rove knows it. He is among the dirtiest ever in politics in this country and I am sure he is proud of it. There is nothing wrong with Hillary.

Second, coupled with the recycling of Monica Lewinsky a week before the Republicans are playing their hands awfully early. No doubt they are trying to gin up hate for Hillary to affect the off-year elections this fall. They have totally lost their big issues – health care, the economy, immigration, climate change, gays and even guns. On all these issues they are on the wrong side of the electorate let alone history.

So they need something, damn near anything, to get their base out this election aside from changing any independents. So some genius, maybe Rove himself, decided to start the 2016 anti-Hillary presidential campaign two years early. So they rolled out Lewinsky and it dropped like a lead balloon. Looking to build on that success, Rove saw the perfect time to use some not so well crafted innuendo. Usually his work is a little better contrived, but in this case he had to go full bore because, well, the Tea Bag base isn’t maybe as sharp as it used to be at picking up the signals.

There is one last thing that we need to understand about the Rove maneuver. Had it worked the way it intended, it would have turned our focus from winning this fall to defending Hillary against all attackers two years before her campaign. Rove failed miserably in this attempt. First the Lewinsky gambit reminded folks that she had nothing to do with it, that she handled it with dignity while Republican politicians and press rained attacks on her and Bill and that the whole affair should have been a private matter.

When Rove brought up her health it gave voters a chance to remember a vibrant Secretary of State who is about to become a grandmother.

And finally it highlighted that once again the Republican-Tea Bag Party is ready to lie about any thing and willing to spend almost any amount of money to buy our government. These tricks also reminded us who it is that wants to buy control of the government. It is the richest .1% of our populace. They want to control government for their own purposes, all of which will be detrimental to the vast majority of Americans.

So thanks for your clownish lies, Mr. Rove. You have helped sharpen our focus to elect good candidates like Jack Hatch against the perpetually lying Terry Branstad; Dave Loebsack against whichever of the tea bag tools opposes him and Bruce Braley against whichever tea bag tool that opposes him. I almost forgot Jim Mowrer in his quest to finally retiore the tea baggiest of all, Steve King and Stacie Appel out there in the third district.She has a great shot at being Iowa’s first female in Congress.

We also can’t forget our local races from statehouse to court house. I have a dream. The Dream has Governor Jack Hatch giving the state of the state to two houses of democratic legislatures next January. A little later President Obama will give his state of the nation address to a House and a Senate in Democratic hands.