First on CNN: Kochs turn to vets, a mom to condemn Democrats in key states

Story highlights

  • A Koch-affiliated super PAC is spending $2 million on new 2014 ads
  • The group is targeting Senate races in Iowa and Arkansas
  • The Democratic candidates in both states are considered vulnerable
A super PAC affiliated with the conservative Koch brothers is spending more than $1 million each in Arkansas and Iowa on a second round of television commercials that feature U.S. veterans and a mother critical of Democratic Senate candidates running in those two states, CNN has learned.
The Freedom Partners Action Fund has already dedicated $1 million for an ad in Iowa and nearly $1.2 million for a commercial in Arkansas.
And the GOP-friendly group plans to drop an additional $2 million in each of those states in the next six weeks to try to help the Republican Senate nominees win in November. In all, the Koch-affiliated super PAC plans to spend about $4 million in each state on TV ads, James Davis, spokesman for Freedom Partners Action Fund, told CNN.
Arkansas and Iowa are two critical contests that will help determine which party controls the Senate in 2015.
The latest Freedom Partners Action Fund commercial in Arkansas features six U.S. veterans speaking directly to the camera about their displeasure with Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor. Specifically, the veterans accuse Pryor of failing to help prevent medical negligence at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Freedom Partners Action Fund cites Pryor's membership on a committee to make this claim. Pryor is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, which oversees funding for the agency. Seven Democrats and six Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, sit on this subcommittee. In addition, there is a stand-alone full committee, Veterans' Affairs, that oversees the VA.
And in an attempt to tie Pryor to President Barack Obama, another veteran says in the commercial that the senator "votes with Barack Obama 90% of the time." A recent CNN/ORC Poll shows that Obama's approval rating is 33% in Arkansas. Rep. Tom Cotton, the GOP Senate nominee, is not mentioned in the ad.
In Iowa, Freedom Partners Action Fund relies on "Christina," a mom from Urbandale, to criticize Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic nominee, as a poor example for her children to look up to as a role model. "Christina" highlights comments Braley made earlier this year that she says were disparaging to farmers, as well as missed votes as a House member.
Instead, "Christina" touts GOP Senate nominee Joni Ernst, a member of the Iowa National Guard, as a person for her children to emulate. The Iowa commercial makes no reference to Obama, whose approval rating is 37% in the state, according to the latest CNN/ORC Poll.
The Arkansas and Iowa ads came as the Democratic-aligned political group American Bridge launched two online ads Wednesday criticizing Charles and David Koch for using their fortune to try to influence the midterm elections.