CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Don't bet against the farm, Braley

Iowa Democrats are worrying that Rep. Bruce Braley's (D-Iowa) ill-fated remark that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is a "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" could come back to haunt him.

Braley’s Senate campaign is in damage control mode following the release of a video where he’s telling Texas trial lawyers that he’s better equipped to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee than Grassley.

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“If you help me win this race you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who's been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years, in a visible or public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Braley said in the clip, which Republicans have been gleefully circulating.

“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. Because, if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Braley immediately issued a public apology to Grassley, but the comments could still be a problem this fall.

“It's unfortunate. Certainly as someone who was in elected office for almost 20 years, I understand the foot-in-mouth problem,” former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D) told The Hill. “It is a problem for him. ... They're going to have to battle back.”

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

AGE GAP WIDENS: A Gallup poll released Wednesday indicates people 65 and older have trended towards the Republican Party over the past 20 years, especially since 2010. But the poll also showed younger people have become more Democratic since 1992.

NC-SEN, LA-SEN: Senate Majority PAC launched its latest ads hitting back at the billionaire Koch brothers as part of its extended $3 million campaign responding to Koch-funded attacks in a handful of races. The ads, running in Louisiana and North Carolina, accuse the Kochs of trying to buy those seats for the presumed Republican nominees.

IOWA (OPEN): Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) endorsed Iowa state Rep. Joni Ernst (R) in her crowded Senate primary race. “If Nebraska's Deb Fischer can see through the bull in Washington, then Iowa’s Joni Ernst can help her cut through the pork,” she said.

Meanwhile, businessman Mark Jacobs (R) released a radio ad hitting Braley for his comments about Grassley. 

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) called Braley’s comments “unbelievable” and said they’d hurt him in the fall.

MINNESOTA (FRANKEN): American Encore, a conservative group run by an adviser to Charles and David Koch, launched an ad accusing Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of “attacking free speech.” The ad has $250,000 behind it, according to a group spokesman. 

MA-SEN (SHAHEEN): Late-night talk-show host Jimmy Fallon mocked prospective New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown for a dismissive comment he made about his ties to the state, where he moved from Massachusetts late last year. “Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. 'Cause, you know, whatever,” Brown said. Fallon joked that his campaign slogans should include “Scott Brown for Senate. Or Whoever. Whatever. Forever,” and “Hey Sup?” 

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $15.1 million for this evening’s annual fundraising dinner.

The dinner is being keynoted by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who’s getting more involved in backing establishment Republicans to push back against both Democrats and the Tea Party.

The NRCC also upgraded  17 candidates in its “Young Guns” program, including two hoping face Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) that establishment Republicans don’t want to see in the general election. 

IL-17 (BUSTOS): The Susan B. Anthony List endorsed former Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) in his comeback bid against Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).

ID-2 (SIMPSON): Tea Party candidate and attorney Bryan Smith (R) released a video featuring a former client he helped sue to get her cancer treatment call him a “guardian angel.” Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) has been beating Smith up as a “trial lawyer” in his own ads. 

AZ-01, AZ-02: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ariz.) is headed to Arizona to raise funds for two Republican House candidates in top-targeted races — Andy Tobin, challenging Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), and Martha McSally, challenging Rep. Ron Barber (D).

NY-11 (HANNA): Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney launched a primary challenge to Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday, as had long been expected.

In a statement, Tenney declared that “we need a real Republican in this race,” and is headed to Washington on Friday to meet with conservative groups about her bid. A recent poll commissioned by Hanna’s campaign, however, showed him taking nearly three-quarters of the GOP primary vote.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“We’re down here to have a little fun today and talk about two serious subjects: the Second Amendment, and see how much damage we can do to this copy of Obamacare.” — Alabama House candidate Will Brooks

 

Please send tips and comments to Campaign Editor Jessica Taylor, jtaylor@thehill.com; and Campaign Staff Writers Cameron Joseph, cjoseph@thehill.com; and Alexandra Jaffe, ajaffe@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @JessicaTaylor @cam_joseph and @ajjaffe.