Braley Gets Farm Credentials Wrong in Iowa Race for Senate

Image: Braley Gets Farm Credentials Wrong in Iowa Race for Senate

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 06:08 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley — who mocked GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley as a "farmer" with no law degree — reportedly posted a farm photo to Facebook that depicts a fruit farm in England, not Iowa, and misspelled basic farming terms in a release defending his farmer credentials.

BuzzFeed reported the missteps Thursday after Democrat Braley's speech to lawyers at a fundraiser in south Texas earlier this year that was posted to YouTube by the conservative America Rising political action committee.

"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 and public way on the Senate Judiciary" Committee, Braley told the lawyers.

"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. Because if Democrats lose the majority, Chuck Grassley will be the next chair of the Senate Judiciary."

The fallout had some Democrats worried the remarks would hurt the party's once sure-shot at a seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin. Braley leads four possible Republican opponents in a Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday, however it was taken before his comments had been made known.

But Braley hasn't been helping his own case.

BuzzFeed caught the un-Iowa farm photo, reporting Thursday that TripAdvisor listed it as a fruit farm in England. The website reported a farm employee identified only by the first name of Sonya said the Facebook photo was, in fact, a shot of the Cammas Hall Fruit Farm.

Braley's Facebook page has since taken the photo down, BuzzFeed reported.

His credibility with farmer constituents also took a hit with a news release that misspelled basic terms like "detasseling" and "baling," the Des Moines Register reported Thursday.

"Bruce grew up in rural Iowa and worked on Iowa farms, detassling corn and bailing hay," the release stated.

The newspaper said Braley aides wrote the release to quiet criticism over the videotaped insult to farmers.

Meanwhile, the Gazette reported a conservative advocacy group has already aired a $250,000 10-day TV ad campaign to rip Braley for the fundraiser comments.

The newspaper also reported Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad referred to the congressman's remarks a sign of his "arrogance."

"I think it will be a huge issue," Branstad told reporters in Des Moines, according to The Associated Press. "I think it will be very damaging. I think it shows his arrogance that he thinks only a trial lawyer can be the chairman of the Judiciary committee."

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