New ad keeps up attack on Braley for missing VA meetings

A group backed by billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch is due to launch a more than seven-figure ad campaign ripping Iowa Senate hopeful Rep. 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 (D) for missing multiple hearings of the committee that supervises the Veterans Affairs Department.

The 30-second commercial from Freedom Partners Action Fund, which will begin airing statewide on Friday, keeps up the line of attack pushed by Republicans that Braley missed a majority of meetings held by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee when he was a member of the panel.

It comes hot on the heels of two polls that show that Braley is in a statistical dead heat with Republican state Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP senator: Trump tariffs are hurting US farmers McConnell: Syria strikes were 'appropriate and measured' GOP senator uncomfortable with ground troops in Syria MORE.

The new spot features a testimonial from Jon, a veteran of the Army’s 168th Infantry Regiment, from Adel, Iowa.

“As a veteran, I was insulted that Bruce Braley would be on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and miss 79 percent of the meetings,” he says. “Veterans risked their lives for our country, and Bruce Braley didn’t have the respect to show up to support them.”

Jon explains why he supports Ernst, saying “she’s a very true Iowan” because she “still keeps her small town roots.”

He adds that Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, “took care of her troops, and that’s exactly what you’d expect from a leader like Joni.”

“I’m a proud veteran, I’m a proud Iowan, and I’m voting for Joni Ernst,” Jon says.

Veterans like Jon “stood up to defend our freedom when America needed them most, but when they needed Bruce Braley to stand up for them in Washington, he was MIA. What did Bruce Braley make time for? His political fundraisers,” Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis said in a statement. “This is just one more piece of mounting evidence that proves Bruce Braley has the wrong priorities. Iowans deserve better.”

Braley’s campaign was quick to dismiss the latest attack.

“Independent fact-checkers have found these attacks from the oil billionaire Koch brothers to be 'false and potentially misleading,' and its easy to see why,” Sgt. Jesse McCunniff, a member of the Iowa National Guard and Waterloo resident, said in a statement released by the Braley campaign.

He said Braley has a “record of delivering for Iowa veterans, whether fighting for two years to make sure hundreds of Iowa National Guard members promised back pay got the benefits they had earned, or fighting across party lines to improve veterans disability benefits, or passing tax cuts for small businesses to hire veterans.”

Braley has “stood up to the Pentagon bureaucracy and delivered results for Iowa troops who had put their lives on the line,” according to McCunniff.

--This report was updated at 12:36 p.m.