- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley has $2.7 million in the bank, putting him far ahead of Republican opponent and state Sen. Joni Ernst when it comes to cash, according to campaign finance numbers released Wednesday.

Braley’s campaign said the congressman from Waterloo raised nearly $1.7 million between April 1 and June 30.

Ernst pulled in nearly $1.8 million during that fundraising period, but her campaign said she had less cash on hand, with over $1 million in the bank.

Sen. Tom Harkin announced last year that he would not seek another term, creating the first open Senate seat in Iowa in 40 years. The race for the seat is expected to play a key role in the battle for control of the chamber, as Republicans have made the traditional swing state one of their top targets.

Ernst won a competitive five-way primary race for the GOP nomination, while Braley is been his party’s lone candidate.

Braley has more experience than Ernst, who was first elected to the state Senate in 2010. He has won four consecutive terms to the U.S. House, and beat back a challenge in 2010 when an outside group spent more than $1.5 million against him.

But Ernst has been an aggressive campaigner and has drawn attention with her ads about her farm upbringing, including her experience castrating hogs.

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