Crossroads backs up Ernst during Guard duty absence

American Crossroads says they'll have Senate nominee Joni Ernst's back for the next two weeks as she is off the campaign trail for Iowa National Guard duty. 

The GOP outside group launched a new 30-second statewide ad Tuesday, spending $415,000 on the spot and adding to the $3.1 million Crossroads has already reserved in the state.

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The ad slams Ernst's challenger Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) as a Washington politician who has no respect for Iowa values. The spot features a clip of Braley from January in which he was caught criticizing Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) as a "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school."

The spot then shifts to praising Ernst as the "better choice" for Iowa, highlighting her roles as a mother and a soldier. 

"Ernst will fight to dismantle Obamacare and clean up Washington," the narrator says. "And she'll never look down on farmers because Ernst is true Iowa."

Ernst and Braley are locked in a tight battle for retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin's seat. Though Ernst's campaign will run an ad during her training at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, she won't publicly appear on the campaign trail during the two weeks. 

"While Bruce Braley is explaining why he threatened to sue his neighbors over the activity of their therapeutic hens, Joni Ernst is fulfilling her duty in the Iowa National Guard," American Crossroads spokesman Paul Lindsay said in a statement. "That contrast adds even more clarity to the better choice Iowans have in November."

A conservative state blog claimed that Braley is in an alleged dispute with his Holiday Lakes neighbor over the therapeutic chickens she has on her property, which Crossroads alluded to in their statement. 

This post was updated at 6:23 p.m.