GOP groups launch Braley attacks after 'farmer' comments

A number of Republican groups are launching attacks on Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE (D-Iowa) following his comments that Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley: 'Good chance' Senate panel will consider bills to protect Mueller Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea GOP state lawmakers meet to plan possible constitutional convention MORE (R-Iowa), "a farmer from Iowa," shouldn't be Judiciary Committee chairman.

The conservative group Priorities for Iowa is up with a TV ad accusing Braley of "putting Iowa's Senate seat up for sale," while the National Republican Senatorial Committee is making robo-calls in the state attacking Braley for his comments.

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"Caught at a closed-door fundraiser with trial lawyers in Texas, Braley says if they don't help him, Chuck Grassley, 'a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,' might be the next Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. Tell Bruce Braley, we'd rather bet the farm on Chuck Grassley than a bunch of trial lawyers from Texas," the Priorities for Iowa ad says.

Braley's campaign is in full damage control mode after video surfaced of him telling Texas trial lawyers that he's better qualified to serve on the Judiciary Committee than Grassley. Braley has since apologized, and his campaign is pushing hard to show he's in touch with average voters and Iowans in the state.

"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 30 years, in a visible or public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee," Braley said in the clip, which Republicans have been gleefully circulating. "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."

The conservative group Citizens United, meanwhile, endorsed former radio host Sam Cllovis (R) in his bid to face Braley in the fall, calling him the "true conservative" in the primary field. Clovis is an underdog in the primary.

This post was updated at 9:55 a.m.