The Support of Sarah Palin and the Koch Brothers Backfires and Brings Down Joni Ernst

cropped version of image by Charlie Neibergall / AP

The Republican brand is catching up with them in Iowa and it’s time for the Koch Brothers to rebrand again. Their name is dirt, even with the Republican base who continue to cheer policies that are harmful for themselves and their children.

By more than 2-1, the Koch Brothers affiliation hurts Joni Ernst. According to a new Iowa poll analyzed by the Des Moines Register, the Koch Brothers’ support for Republican Senate candidate and castration expert Joni Ernst is a big fat negative, with 50% disapproving and only 21% approving. Even Republicans are disgusted, with 36% finding the Kochs to be a noose around the castrator’s neck and only 27% approving.

You know who else hurts Joni Ernst? Sarah Palin, with only 30% saying her support of Ernst helps and 56% saying it hurts. We’ve been trying to explain this to Republicans, but they are so desperate to cater to the extremist wing of their party that they still believe the mainstream belief in the power of Palin. Newsflash: This isn’t 2010.

Meanwhile, as Republicans stew in the toxicity which is their Koch Palin brand, Democratic Representative Bruce Braley is gaining on Ernst, with just one point separating them now, 47/46. Previously Ernst had been leading by 6 points, though she has also gained 3 points. The Register credits “armies of Democratic activists going door to door” for “piling up the votes for Braley.”

But also, the voters like Braley’s policies better (totally not shocking since Democrats align with most of America and Republicans align with the top 2%). “Likely voters find more of Braley’s policy positions closer to their own views than Ernst’s positions among 10 issues tested. A majority of likely voters favor six of Braley’s stances to four of Ernst’s.”

In the matter of the People versus the Kochs, the People are gaining.

If the public doesn’t approve of the Koch Brothers’ support for Joni Ernst, wait until they find out that she’s playing fast and loose with campaign finance laws to the extent that a Super PAC running $1 million in TV campaign ads against her opponent, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, “is run out of the Des Moines consulting firm of a strategist for Braley’s GOP opponent,” according to the Washington Post.

In yet another example of why the IRS was investigating the shady behavior of these “tax exempt” groups buying our elections, WaPo continued to explain that even though the law says the candidate’s campaign can’t coordinate with SuperPACs:

The super PAC, Priorities for Iowa Political Fund, is headed by Sara Craig, a consultant for Redwave Communications. Last year, Craig and Redwave founder David Kochel together started a similarly named tax-exempt group, Priorities for Iowa, which ran an ad hammering Braley after he was caught on tape dismissively referring to GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley as “a farmer.”

More recently, Kochel has served as an outside strategist for Braley’s opponent, GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst. Her campaign has paid Kochel’s firm more than $25,000 for direct mail services this year, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

Nothing to see here, peeps. Totally legit.

The bad news is piling up for Ernst after her disappointing debate performance Saturday evening caused Bryon York to opine in the Washington Examiner, “Braley matched or outshone Ernst on topic after topic in tonight’s one-hour faceoff”. York found that once again, what the Republicans had taken for granted about a race was not, in fact, true:

The old conventional wisdom among Republicans in the Iowa Senate race is that Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democrat running against Republican Joni Ernst, had a serious doofus problem — he couldn’t stop putting his foot in his mouth and, despite four terms in the House of Representatives, had trouble presenting himself as a plausible contender for the United States Senate.

The new conventional wisdom, after Saturday night’s debate at St. Ambrose University here in Davenport, is that Braley is a savvy trial lawyer whose courtroom skills make him a formidable debate opponent. And indeed, Braley matched or outshone Ernst on topic after topic in tonight’s one-hour faceoff. Ernst had her moments, but there’s no doubt Braley recovered nicely after a poor performance in the pair’s first debate two weeks ago.

Sam Wang of Elect Project finds even small changes matter in this race, as “Iowa poll brings median to Ernst+0.5%, about 5,500 votes. With 120,000 early votes cast, even small changes matter”.

Oh. Probably not a good idea to advertise that Ernst is in bed with the SuperPAC running the negative ads against the guy who has a record of working for the middle class. And Ernst might want to stop talking about how she wants to privatize Social Security. That’s a big loser with voters — another issue that surprises no one but the Republican Party.

Republican candidates need to be reminded that their number one job is pretending to be moderate until they win elections. Going Sarah Palin/Koch brothers before an election is not a good plan. What might work for a gerrymandered House campaign is much more risky in a Senate campaign. This should be obvious since both Sarah Palin and David Koch lost their campaigns to be our Vice Presidents, and are now doing everything in their power to backseat drive the GOP over the crazy cliff.

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