Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday waded into an ugly Senate battle brewing in Iowa, a state that would be key to his presidential hopes, should he choose to run in 2016.
Last week, video was published in which Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley — the likely Democratic nominee in the Senate race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin — denigrated Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” Braley suggested that made Grassley unqualified to be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a position he is in line for if Republicans regain control of the Senate in November.
The speech was made to a group of lawyers; Braley himself is a trial lawyer.
But the backlash was severe, and Braley apologized.
In an opinion piece published in The Iowa Republican Thursday, Cruz, a lawyer himself, touted Grassley and his accomplishments in the Senate.
“Well, let me tell you something. Washington would be a lot better off if we had more farmers in Congress and a lot fewer trial lawyers,” Cruz writes.
“I’m a constitutional lawyer who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in my opinion Chuck Grassley – that Iowa farmer whom Braley was denigrating – would make an outstanding chairman of that committee,” he went on.
Cruz lauded Grassley’s work in the Senate opposing the comprehensive immigration reform plan, and his efforts to “protect Second Amendment rights,” among others.
“The biggest political divide in America is not between Republicans and Democrats. It’s between Washington and the rest of America,” Cruz wrote. “We need more people like Sen. Grassley who rely on good, old-fashioned commonsense than those who depend on an army of accountants, lawyers, and lobbyists to get their way in Washington.”
“That’s why I’d venture that if any Republican had to choose between a trial lawyer and a farmer, they’d pick the farmer,” Cruz concluded. “I would.”
Cruz, who appears to be mulling a presidential bid in 2016, has been spending a fair amount of time lately in Iowa, the state that holds the first nominating contest in presidential primaries every four years. Last month, he spoke at an event about homeschooling and attended a fundraiser.
Braley will face an as-yet-undetermined opponent in the general election to replace Harkin. Cruz has not endorsed in that race.