U.S. Senate hopeful Mark Jacobs will go up on Eastern Iowa cable television Friday with an ad highlighting Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley’s comments about Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Jacobs’ ad plays off comments by Braley that Sen. Chuck Grassley, “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,” might be the next Senate Judiciary Committee chairman if Republicans win control of the Senate.
In addition to his television spot, Jacobs released an online petition calling for Braley to send back or donate the money he raised at a private fundraiser where “got caught red-handed making offensive remarks Sen. Chuck Grassley to a group of his trial-lawyer buddies.”
Braley, who is running to succeed Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who is retiring, has apologized publicly as well as personally to Grassley, but Jacobs said that if the four-term House member truly regrets his comments he should return the money or donate it to the FFA.
The ad’s tagline is: “Iowa needs a leader who will work with Sen. Grassley."
The Jacobs campaign did not release details of its ad buy such as the cost and how many times it will run.
Other GOP Senate hopefuls aren’t running broadcast ads off the Braley comments. A spokesman for state Sen. Joni Ernst said the campaign has been making statements and using social media to highlight the “contrast between Joni’s Red Oak roots and Bruce Braley’s anti-farmer trial lawyer pandering.”
So far, he added, that approach has been successful in attracting “earned media,” such as news coverage of her statements.
Priorities for Iowa, which bills itself as a non-partisan 501c4, said it is spending $250,000 on broadcast television, cable and Internet advertising for 10 days to hit Braley over his remarks.
“Bruce Braley was caught on video saying what he really thinks, and his apology doesn’t really hold up,” said Sara Craig, Priorities for Iowa director. In addition to insulting Grassley, farmers and people without law degrees, Braley is “trying to sell a seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, telling Texas trial lawyers he’ll be their ‘voice’ on the committee.”
“We need our next senator to be Iowa’s voice, not the voice of trial lawyers,” she said.
Since apologizing, the Braley campaign has gone on the offensive, highlighting his support for farm-friendly legislation, such as the Renewable Fuel Standard, and has provided testimonials from farmers who support him.
Braley had been “fighting for policies that help Iowa farmers and strengthen the middle class,” spokesman Jeff Giertz said. Referring to Jacobs’ previous employment, Giertz referred to him as a “Goldman Sachs executive” who is calling for “a return to the days when Wall Street titans like Jacobs crashed our economy.”
A Rasmussen Report poll out Thursday showed Braley holding leads of 3 percentage points over Jacobs and Ernst, 4 points over former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker and 13 points over college professor and former conservative talk show host Sam Clovis.