In the Iowa Senate race, veterans issues have been a central focus in the campaign of Republican Joni Ernst, an active officer in the Iowa National Guard, but less so for Rep. Bruce Braley, her Democratic opponent.
Braley is edging onto Ernst's turf, however, with a new television ad released Wednesday. In the ad, Jesse James, whose daughter Holley was murdered by her husband when both served in the military, praises Braley for proposing legislation to support sexual assault and domestic violence claimants in the military.
"What I was more afraid of than anything is that the world would go on and it would be as though Holley never existed," James says in the 60-second ad. "Bruce Braley helped keep that memory alive."
Meanwhile, Ernst is hoping to further cement her reputation on veterans issues with a new ad of her own, also released Wednesday, invoking her service with the National Guard.
"Leading convoys into Baghdad, I focused on one thing: Complete our mission, and bring every one of my soldiers home," Ernst says in the ad, which features Images of her in military dress. "And that’s what we did."
Although Braley and Democrats were the early favorites to win the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a string of missteps by Braley have helped propel Ernst to equal standing with him in most polls. With less than three months until Election Day, the contest is now expected to be one of the most competitive in the country, and it will likely attract significant money and advertising from both sides of the aisle.