Reid: Ernst too far right for conservatives
© Lauren Schneiderman

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidFranken emerges as liberal force in hearings GOP eyes new push to break up California court The DC bubble is strangling the DNC MORE (D-Nev.) on Saturday urged progressive activists to get out the vote for Bruce BraleyBruce BraleyTrump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer Criminal sentencing bill tests McConnell-Grassley relationship Trump's VP list shrinks 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 McConnellMitch McConnellMeet Trump's secret weapon on infrastructure Senate confirms first nominees of Trump era The new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senator: Trump budget chief could face confirmation 'problems' Jeff Sessions will protect life Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes 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 ObamaCrowd experts: Women’s march three times bigger than inauguration Women's march was second-busiest day in Metro history Conway: Spicer used 'alternative facts' in press briefing 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 WarrenFranken emerges as liberal force in hearings Women's marches draw huge crowds as Trump takes office Warren: 'I'm here to fight back' 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.”