- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Comments made by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley about Sen. Charles Grassley’s ability to lead the judiciary committee have damaged Braley’s U.S. Senate campaign, Gov. Terry Branstad said Wednesday.

“I think it will be a huge issue. 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,” he told reporters.

Braley apologized Tuesday to Grassley after video from a January fundraiser in Texas was released. The video shows Braley, a Democrat who worked as a lawyer before being elected to Congress, telling lawyers that if they didn’t support him and Republicans gained a Senate majority, Grassley would become judiciary chairman. Braley described Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law.”

Branstad, like Grassley a Republican, called such a description “unbelievable.”

“It’s unthinkable. For him to say that we should never have a farmer as chairman of the judiciary committee. I think this is something that Iowans will not forget,” Branstad said. “I think that says we don’t need another trial lawyer congressman as a U.S. senator from Iowa, we need Grassley as chairman of the judiciary committee.”

Grassley, a New Hartford farmer, routinely notes he’s is the only non-lawyer on the panel, which oversees judicial nominations.

On Wednesday, Braley issued a statement noting his support for the agriculture industry and backing by many farmers.

The statement includes comments by a half-dozen farmers, including Gary Lamb, of Chelsea, who noted, “While some folks try to score political points, Bruce Braley is delivering for Iowa farmers. He’s been a tireless champion for Iowa agriculture because he comes from a rural background.”

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