Now that the election is finally over (with Republican Martha McSally being declared the winner in one of the closest House races in history), it makes sense (obviously) to look back at some of the better stories from this cycle. One of the most important elections was the senate race in Iowa, which Republican Joni Ernst won decisively (another point that hasn’t been covered nearly enough is that the De Moines Register accurately predicted the outcome that national polling outfits were all over the place for; basically, local organizations tend to have a better grasp of the facts on the ground than national pundits [see: Maryland’s gubernatorial election]). Keep in mind that this is the state where Obama took off in 2008, and where Tom Harkin won by 25% just six years ago. These facts combine to make their repudiation of Obama even more, to quote myself, “historic.”
From the start, it was obvious that it would require something of a perfect storm (or one might say, a wave) for Republicans to take Harkin’s seat. From the very onset, when Bruce Braley was recorded disparaging farmers, it was obvious that Republicans stood a very good chance at a pickup here, in a state that has never elected a woman to federal office and hasn’t had a senate delegation of the same party since the 80s. Once the election was over, polling showed that Braley’s disparaging of Senator Chuck Grassley was the most crucial gaffe he made. However, the story of Braley’s neighbor’s chickens is one for the ages. It won’t come as a surprise to hear that I wrote about this before, but this piece is important in showing how, to quote myself again, “campaigns matter.”
Bruce Braley hates chickens. Considering how important agriculture is in Iowa’s economy and that he wants to represent Iowa in the Senate, I’m shocked that he could feel this way, let alone express it out loud.
In fact, Braley goes further than merely expressing his hatred for the little birds. He actually threatened to sue his neighbor over the fact that her chickens walked on his vacation home’s property.
These aren’t even your run of the mill chickens. Braley’s neighbor, a registered Democrat, uses them to who have mental health and communication problems, so he’s not just messing with Chicken McNuggets. In fact, he’s threatening to sue his neighbor over the poultry equivalent of a seeing-eye dog.
To try to mend things over, his neighbor decided to bring over some of her fresh eggs to Braley’s house, but his wife actually refused to even accept them–the only resident of the neighborhood to do so.
To put all of this into context, remember that just about every time Braley is in the headlines nationwide it’s for something bad: he actually complained about the House Gym being closed during the shutdown.
He also made the claim that he decided to vote for Obamacare after reading it, despite the fact that it is seven times the length of the Bible, and not even Nancy Pelosi read it. Ironically, the other main reason he supported it (so he claims) is hearing. Unfortunately for him, not only is Obamacare bad for Iowa, it is also already a massive liability on his senate bid.
For someone who claims to have farm values (in fact, he actually manages to claim that he himself is a farmer, before his own campaign had to walk the statement back), he can’t even spell basic farming terms on his website, or get pictures from American, let alone Iowan farms. In his poll on a minimum wage, the worker in the picture is actually located in Mazatlan, Mexico
Of course it goes without saying that Braley insulted Iowans by demeaning their intelligence when he called Senator Chuck Grassley a farmer with no law degree.
But back to chickens. Braley’s first negative ad of the race, “Chick,” was widely decried as sexist, in addition to not being true, and Iowans are getting tired of his antics, and the election isn’t even until this fall.
If Braley would rather waste the money of his neighbors on frivolous lawsuits (he was a trial lawyer after all) because his wife was disturbed by the smell of chickens, what does that mean that he’ll do when it comes to spending all of our tax dollars if elected this November?