Bruce Braley is really fixated on the Koch brothers


U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa). (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Democrats are banking on the Koch brothers being their ticket to victory in the 2014 election -- or, at least, their ticket to raising a bunch of money.

But perhaps nobody has relied more on the anti-Koch strategy than Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa).

The anti-Koch missives from his campaign, for a time, were almost a daily occurrence. Most of them have been targeted at fundraising -- particularly at the end of the first quarter of fundraising -- but others have been news releases.

Having received a bunch of these e-mails over the course of the last few months, I decided to see precisely how many the campaign had sent. Here's what I came up with:

  • Since Jan. 1, the Braley for Senate campaign has sent at least 46 e-mails mentioning the Koch brothers. That works out to one e-mail every 2.4 days.
  • Over that same span, The Fix has received 92 total e-mails from the Braley campaign. That means roughly half of the communications coming from the Braley campaign have included some mention of the Koch brothers.

Worth noting in all this is that Braley has far outpaced his potential GOP opponents when it comes to fundraising. He raised $1.25 million in the first quarter of 2014, which is about par-for-course for big-name Democratic recruits.

So will Braley's campaign continue to be all-Koch-all-the-time? Probably not. As the 2014 race really ramps up -- Braley has no primary opposition, and the GOP primary is crowded -- his campaign will undoubtedly be talking about other things. For now, the name of the game is all about raising money (and avoiding stumbles).

But perhaps no candidate demonstrates just how reliant Democrats have become on the Koch brothers as a political bogeyman that will help them raise money and (ideally) scare people away from the Republican Party come November.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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