They're stepping their game up here:


NextGen Climate, the environmental advocacy group that is one of the top players in Iowa's hotly contested U.S. Senate race, is out with a new TV ad today attacking Republican candidate Joni Ernst.

The 30-second spot highlights a fundraiser Ernst attended in July sponsored by oil and gas interests, including the America Petroleum Institute and ExxonMobil's political arm.

The ad features a snippet of WHO-TV newsman Dave Price reporting on the event and noting the oil groups' opposition to biofuel mandates, which drive much of Iowa's agriculture economy.

"…Her big oil backers are trying to gut Iowa renewables," a narrator intones. "Joni Ernst and her big oil backers – to close for Iowa's comfort."

The ad is the third in a series of ads running across five weeks in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities. The total ad buy for the series totals $2.6 million. - Des Moines Register, 8/19/14

Here's a little more info:


The ad scolds Ernst, who is running against Rep. Bruce Braley (D), for "her big oil backers," who NextGen claims are "trying to gut Iowa renewables."

While the ad blasts Ernst for being against the renewable fuel standard, Steyer, who founded NextGen in 2013, and said he would funnel at least $100 million into campaigns this year, has criticized ethanol in the past.

In an interview with Fortune in 2010, Steyer said ethanol was not the way to go. NextGen also has routinely criticized any expansion of fossil fuels, and continued use of them in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Spokesman for NextGen Climate, Bobby Whithorne, defended the group's stance on the fuel mandate.

"The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is an important program that will help transform our carbon intensive oil-dependent transportation sector and increase the development and deployment of biofuels," Whithorne said in an email. "The RFS supports 73,000 good-paying, clean energy jobs in Iowa and is helping us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels." - The Hill, 8/19/14

Ernst has been out trying to make herself look less like an extremist:


Amid what is expected to be a flurry of negative TV ads in Iowa's U.S. Senate race over the coming weeks, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is going positive with a 7-minute web video about GOP candidate Joni Ernst.

The web-only video is being rolled out today, and is part of a series describing biographies of Republican Senate candidates from across the country.

The video tracks her early life in southwest Iowa, her ROTC experience at Iowa State University, her active-duty service during the Iraq War and political ascension from county government to the state Senate.

The sunny biographical feature won't be the NRSC's only foray into the race though; the group has also reserved $2.3 million in TV advertising beginning next Tuesday and running through Election Day. - Des Moines Register, 8/19/14

But Rep. Bruce Braley (D. IA) is getting aggressive on the campaign trail against Ernst:


Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley toured the Iowa State University BioCentury Research Farm near Boone on Monday as part of an effort to emphasize statements his opponent for the U.S. Senate, state Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, has made about the farm bill and renewable fuel standard.

Braley was joined by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture. She said she visited Iowa specifically to stress the importance of having the congressman replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, on the committee. Harkin announced last year he will not seek re-election this fall after 40 years in Washington, including five terms as senator.

The research farm specializes in biomass production and storage, but Braley also used the opportunity to voice his support for other renewable energy such as power generated by wind.

“I need Bruce (on the Agriculture Committee),” Stabenow said. “He was pivotal in the House in overcoming the Tea Party obstructionism so we could actually pass a farm bill, finally, and he’s key right now in our efforts to protect the renewable fuel standard and the wind tax credit.”

Stabenow joined Braley on a tour of corn oil producer FEC Solutions’ facilities in Des Moines before the two met with Andy Suby, manager of the research farm, later in the morning.

Braley went on the tours to draw attention to a statement Ernst made in a GOP primary debate that she would have voted against the farm bill. His campaign also pointed to Ernst spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel’s statement to the Sioux City Journal that Ernst “would support doing away with” the RFS “in a perfect world” because of Ernst’s previously stated “philosophical” aversion to government subsidies. - Ames Tribune, 8/18/14

We can still win this race, we just have to get our base out to the polls for Braley. Click here to donate and get involved with Braley's campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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