Iowa Democrat Dismisses Chuck Grassley As ‘A Farmer From Iowa Who Never Went to Law School’

Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Braley has a “47 percent” moment at a Texas fundraiser.

Rep. Bruce Braley says that Sen. Chuck Grassley belongs more in this field than the Senate Judiary Committee.
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
March 25, 2014, 10:57 a.m.

If there’s one thing that can­did­ates should have learned from the 2012 elec­tion sea­son, it’s to watch what they say in closed-door fun­draisers. One Iowa Demo­crat ap­par­ently didn’t get the memo.

While at­tempt­ing to court a group of law­yers at a South Texas fun­draiser, Rep. Bruce Bra­ley took a swipe at Sen. Chuck Grass­ley by warn­ing of a pos­sible Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate ma­jor­ity after the midterms.

“You might have a farm­er from Iowa who nev­er went to law school, nev­er prac­ticed law, serving as the next chair of the Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee,” Bra­ley said in a video re­leased by the con­ser­vat­ive Amer­ica Rising PAC. “Be­cause, if Demo­crats lose the ma­jor­ity, Chuck Grass­ley will be the chair of the Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee.”

Grass­ley is the rank­ing mem­ber of that com­mit­tee. Bra­ley, who prac­ticed law be­fore join­ing the House, told the crowd he would be someone on the Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee with “your back­ground, your ex­per­i­ence, your voice, someone who’s been lit­er­ally fight­ing tort re­form for 30 years.”

The video may have been re­cor­ded without Bra­ley’s know­ledge, sim­il­ar to Mitt Rom­ney’s now-in­fam­ous “47 per­cent” video that may have in part cost him some voters in the last pres­id­en­tial elec­tion. And it could have a sim­il­ar ef­fect in this elec­tion for Bra­ley.

Bra­ley is seen as the de facto Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee in the race to suc­ceed re­tir­ing Sen. Tom Har­kin, a Demo­crat who held his seat since 1985. His un­chal­lenged primary is in stark con­trast to the Re­pub­lic­an race that has be­come one of the messi­est in the coun­try.

Des­pite Iowa’s cent­rist tend­en­cies, Bra­ley is heav­ily favored to win, and wasn’t con­sidered a ma­jor pickup op­por­tun­ity for Re­pub­lic­ans. That may change now, thanks to this video.


After the video was re­leased, Bra­ley re­leased an apo­logy in a state­ment.

“I apo­lo­gize to Sen­at­or Grass­ley and any­one I may have of­fen­ded,” Bra­ley said in a state­ment to Na­tion­al Journ­al. “I re­spect Sen­at­or Grass­ley and en­joy our work­ing re­la­tion­ship even though we dis­agree on some is­sues.”

Bra­ley made a point to men­tion farm­ers in the rest of his state­ment, cit­ing his fam­ily ties to farm­ing and say­ing the work he has done “hand in hand with Iowa farm­ers” has helped “grow Iowa’s farm eco­nomy and cre­ate good pay­ing Iowa farm jobs.”

He con­tin­ues: “I have tre­mend­ous re­spect for Iowa farm­ers and ap­pre­ci­ate how im­port­ant they are to our state, and I’m grate­ful to have the sup­port of hun­dreds of farm­ers across Iowa.”