Reid: Ernst too far right for conservatives
© Lauren Schneiderman

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.) on Saturday urged progressive activists to get out the vote for Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE, calling Iowa crucial to Democratic hopes to keep the Senate.

“If we win Iowa, we’re going to do just fine,” Reid said on a call organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Iowa is a key for what we do.”

During the call, Reid said Joni Ernst, the GOP Senate nominee in Iowa, would be a disaster for issues key to progressives, like protecting Social Security and raising the minimum wage.

Ernst, a state senator, and Braley, a four-term congressman, are locked in one of the closest Senate races in the country.

“Bruce Braley is a fine man. He has a good record of public service,” Reid said.

“She’s [Ernst] so far to the right that I’m sure many parts of the right wouldn’t like what she’s talking about,” he added.

Reid also blasted Ernst for declining to sit down with editorial boards at Iowa newspapers, and said the Republican – well known for a campaign ad where she discusses castrating pigs – was more flash than substance.

“Think what that would mean for our country,” Reid said about Ernst winning a Senate seat and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) taking over his spot.

Republicans in Iowa wasted little time in blasting Reid right back, saying it made total sense that the majority leader had Braley’s back. Braley found himself in trouble earlier this year when he called Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Five hurdles to a big DACA and border deal Grand jury indicts Maryland executive in Uranium One deal: report MORE (R-Iowa) “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” 

“Senator Harry Reid insulted veterans, minorities and leaders of our country, so it’s only fitting that he’d endorse Congressman Braley, who offended Iowa’s farmers,” said Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the Iowa GOP. “Leader Reid needs Braley in the Senate so he can continue implementing Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Democrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration Trump’s first year in office was the year of the woman MORE’s failed agenda.”

On the call, Reid also continued his assault on Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists who finance a range of conservative causes, and heaped praise on Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Trump is a 'racist bully' Poll: Oprah would outperform Warren, Harris against Trump in California Democrats continue to dismiss positive impacts of tax reform MORE (D-Mass.), a favorite of progressive populists.

“This woman has changed the Senate,” he said.

But even Reid, a well-known political animal, acknowledged that voters “swamped” by commercials and outreach from campaigns had likely grown tired of the current midterm election.

“They are getting really tired with us,” the Nevada Democrat told volunteers planning to man phone banks. “That’s why you have to be patient and extremely courteous.”