Dem Senate candidate apologizes for 'farmer' crack about Grassley

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) apologized on Tuesday after a video surfaced of him mocking Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) for being a “farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”

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

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Braley is running to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Conservative group American Rising PAC posted the YouTube video showing Braley making the comments, arguing that he needed to keep the state's open Senate seat in Democratic hands to keep Grassley from becoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee if Republicans win control of the upper chamber. 

"To put this in stark contrast, if you help me win this race you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice, someone who's been literally fighting tort reform for thirty years, in a visible or public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Braley said. 

“Or, 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. Because, if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” he continued. 

According to America Rising PAC, Braley was speaking to a group of lawyers at a fundraiser in South Texas.

In his apology, Braley said he had “tremendous respect” for Iowa farmers, especially since he grew up in their environment.

“My parents both grew up on Iowa farms during the Great Depression. It deeply influenced who they are and who I am, and gave me a profound appreciation for what farmers do for the world,” Braley said. “ 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.”

Grassley is currently the ranking member on the Judiciary committee, and could be appointed chairman if the Republicans take control of the Senate next year. 

Before his career in politics, Grassley was a farmer in Iowa. His son, Robin, now runs the family farm. 

This story was updated at 5:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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