A key advisor on Bruce Braley’s U.S. Senate campaign says it may have been a mistake not to invite President Obama to Iowa to campaign for Braley. Jeff Link, a Des Moines-based political consultant, is also one of Braley’s closest friends.
“It’s an interesting question,” Link says. “In 1994, which was the last time Democrats got shellacked like this, I worked for a congressman in northeast Ohio who invited Bill Clinton to his district in Akron and he ended up being the only guy who survived the whipping Democrats took in Ohio. I honestly, I’m not sure if it would have helped.”
Link says because Braley did not face a competitive primary, Braley also lost an opportunity to define himself early in the race.
David Kochel, a Des Moines-based political consultant, advised Republican Joni Ernst’s campaign. He says the “starting gate” for Ernst’s meteoric rise was the ad in which she talked about castrating hogs, and making ’em squeal in Washington.
“I don’t think you can run that ad in any other statel. You can run it here, though, because while not all of us are farmers, all of us know a farmer and all of us are sort of connected to that culture,” Kochel says. “Also, it was very authentic to her.”
But Kochel says Ernst ultimately won because she was able to effectively give Iowans a reason to want to change direction in Washington, D.C.
Kochel and Link made their comments this weekend during a joint appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program..