• IA-Sen: Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has not had an easy campaign, but hopefully this very effective ad is a sign he's turned the corner. A veteran of the Iowa National Guard describes how his unit had its deployment in Iraq extended, but the soldiers were not paid. He praises Braley for helping fix the problem.
Some of Braley's past spots have been weak: After the primary he launched a very bland attack on Republican Joni Ernst that made it very easy for Ernst and her allies to call Braley sexist. Braley has since gotten a new media consultant. Hopefully, this new spot is a sign Braley's team has gotten things under control. Now if they can find a way to properly go after Ernst's insane views, they'll be golden.
Speaking of Ernst's insane views, the DSCC is starting to bring them up. They spend a lot of time tying Ernst to Sarah Palin, a big Ernst supporter in the primary. The narrator then describes some of Ernst's proposed ideas. It's a decent spot, but you have to wonder if swing voters really care that much about Sarah Palin almost six years after her vice-presidential bid ended. The narrator also quickly cycles through some of Ernst's plans (eliminate the national minimum wage, cut taxes for millionaires, and privatizing Social Security), so it's hard for them to really sink in.
Follow below the fold for an overview of new U.S. Senate, gubernatorial, House and ballot measure ads.
• AK-Sen: With the Aug. 19 primary here, Put Alaska First spends $232,000 hitting all three Republican contenders. On the other side of the aisle, Crossroads GPS reserves $1.25 million in TV time for the next few weeks.
• NC-Sen: Democrats have been heavily attacking Republican Thom Tillis on education, and Tillis' allies have finally responded. A group called Carolina Rising praises Tillis for helping increase teacher pay. The spot, running for $1.5 million, also praises Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who is not up for re-election until 2016.
• NM-Gov: Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democratic rival Gary King each have a new spot. The narrator in the Martinez spot goes after King on taxes, while touting Martinez as someone who balanced the budget without raising taxes. King emphasizes education and promises to undo Martinez's cuts.
• GA-12: Both party committees are going up here. The NRCC spends $190,000 against Democratic Rep. John Barrow, likely in support of this ad. The DCCC spends $101,000 hitting Republican Rick Allen in return.
• WV-02: Democrat Nick Casey is up with his first spot. It's another one of those "Look how cheap this guy is, he's fiscally responsible!" ads, but it's still pretty cute. It features Casey's family's exasperation with how Casey won't buy a new car and even resoled his shoes four times.
• Or Ballot: Organizers behind Oregon's ballot measure to legalize marijuana aren't going to make the same mistakes their predecessors did last cycle. In 2012, a similar measure failed by a narrow 53-47 margin, even though almost no money was behind the effort. This time, weed legalization advocates say they're planning to spend at least $2.3 million promoting their campaign, and they say they're going to launch an ad this week featuring Richard Harris, a retired head of the state's addictions and mental health division. The video is a weird 54 seconds long, though, and isn't crisply edited (Harris actually says "um" when introducing himself), so hopefully they have something more professional in the works. (David Nir)