Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told progressive activists on Saturday that Iowa is “critical” to maintaining a Democratic Senate.
“If we win Iowa we’re going to do just fine,” he said on a conference call hosted by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Iowa is critical. There’s no other way to say it.”
He urged the activists to make calls to Iowa voters in support of Democrat Bruce Braley, who is narrowly behind Republican Joni Ernst in the battleground Iowa race.
Reid launched a broadside on Ernst, characterizing her as “so far to the right that maybe even a part of the right wouldn’t like what she’s talking about.” He warned that a victory for her would probably mean Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) becomes the next majority leader.
“She’s so out of line with mainstream Iowans, mainstream Americans, that she refuses to appear before editorial boards,” Reid said. “She has spent the entire campaign talking about what she did as a young girl, castrating animals.”
He described Braley as “a fine man” with “a good record of public service.”
Caitlin Conant, a spokeswoman for the Ernst campaign, responded to Reid’s comments in an email to TPM.
“Reid says Democrats will be ‘just fine’ if Braley wins, but Iowa can do better. Reid is only backing Braley because he supports Obama’s agenda of higher taxes, more debt, and Obamacare,” she said.
Ernst leads Braley by 1.2 percentage points in the TPM PollTracker average.
This article has been updated to include a response from the Ernst campaign.