First lady to campaign for Democrat in tight Iowa Senate race

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Story highlights

  • Michelle Obama to campaign for Democrat in Iowa
  • Bruce Braley faces Joni Ernst to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin
  • With low approval rating in some areas, Barack Obama isn't welcome
First lady Michelle Obama is heading to Iowa next month to campaign in one of the closest Senate races of the 2014 midterms.
In what is only her second announced appearance on the trail for a candidate, Obama will stump for Bruce Braley, a four-term Democratic congressman seeking the open seat.
The Braley campaign confirms the first lady's plans to come to Iowa next month, though no dates, events or locations have yet been set.
The first lady could inject some momentum into the race that CNN currently rates as up for grabs. In a sign of how tough this year could be for Democrats, the seat has been held by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin since 1985.
Braley is campaigning against Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iraq War veteran who beat a large primary field earlier this year with popular ads (including one about castrating pigs) and endorsements by many well-known Republicans, including Mitt Romney, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sarah Palin.
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Braley is trying to frame Ernst as an extremist whose views are not in line with Iowans on issues such as minimum wage and personhood. Ernst counters by hitting Braley for his years as a trial lawyer and accusing him of being a Washington bureaucrat.
It might not come as a big surprise to Iowans that the first lady will be making a public appearance on the trail instead of her husband. A recent Gallup poll showed the President with a 38% approval rating in the Hawkeye State, a few points below the national average.
Other popular Democrats will appear in Iowa this weekend as well. Bill and Hillary Clinton will both appear at Harkin's annual Steak Fry this weekend. Braley will also be though, though neither of the Clinton's have plans to stump specifically for him.
Earlier this week, the first lady debuted on the campaign trail, stumping for Michelle Nunn in Georgia. The Peach State is one of the few opportunities Democrats see as a race in which they could pick up a Senate seat and help maintain their majority in the chamber.
The Des Moines Register first reported Obama's plans.