Democrats Step Up Attacks on Grassley

“Democrats are increasingly laying a hammer to Sen. Chuck Grassley as they seek to unseat the Iowa Republican,” The Hill reports.

“Grassley’s Senate seat is widely handicapped as likely to stay in the GOP column, but Democrats believe the rise of Donald Trump and the fight over the Supreme Court are providing the perfect storm for taking out the six-term GOP incumbent.”

For members: The Consensus Senate Forecast

How the Koch Network Made Joni Ernst

Politico: “Until now, little has been known about the secretive role played by the Kochs’ donors and operatives in boosting Ernst. The Koch network has focused primarily on policy fights, mostly leaving the spadework of recruiting and nurturing candidates to the party.”

“But the network’s financial support for Ernst ― detailed here for the first time ― offers the first signs of a move into GOP primaries. The Kochs and their allies are investing in a pipeline to identify, cultivate and finance business-oriented candidates from the local school board all the way to the White House, and Koch operatives are already looking for opportunities to challenge GOP incumbents deemed insufficiently hard-line in their opposition to government spending and corporate subsidies.”

Grassley Ramps Up Re-Election Bid

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) “doesn’t plan to be caught flat-footed if he faces a competitive, expensive re-election battle in 2016,” Roll Call reports.

Said Grassley: “I suppose early on, you spend your time on funding the campaign more than on organization, probably working very closely with the NRSC, more so than I have in the past because of the sophistication of campaigning now and the massive amount of money you have to raise compared to what you used to have to have. The days of cheap campaigns are over.”

Ernst Won’t Speak to Non-Iowa Media

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), “one of the most high-profile politicians to come out of Iowa, has kept a decidedly low profile in her transition from little-known state senator to a U.S. senator recognized virtually everywhere she goes,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“After coming off one of the hottest campaigns of the 2014 elections, Ernst was bombarded with media requests from every Sunday political show, network and cable TV station and major newspaper — influential outlets that her campaign aides last spring would’ve begged to just know how to spell her name correctly. She steered clear of all national media requests.”