Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge has dropped out of the race for governor and former rival Chet Culver has named her as his runningmate. The two Democrats stood side by side this morning to make the announcement. “This is an exciting day and it’s great to be here,” Judge told the reporters who’d assembled in the statehouse for the event.
Neither Judge nor Culver would reveal the behind-the-scenes details which led to their new political partnership. But Judge indicated in her remarks that she’s throwing her support to Culver, in part, because the two of them back abortion rights, an increase in the minimum wage and a state economic development policy that focuses on the renewable fuel industry.
“The future of our state is at risk if we turn the clock back and if we turn the governor’s office over to Jim Nussle or Bob Vander Plaats instead of continuing the progress of the Vilsack/Pederson Administration,” Judge said. Judge asked her supporters and all Democrats to “rally around” Culver, and she urged the other Democrats in the race to drop out, too.
Culver said he asked Judge to be his Lieutenant Governor runningmate because she has a proven record of winning elections. He says Judge has won four elections in the past 15 years — two races for the Iowa Senate as well as winning two statewide elections for Secretary of Agriculture. “This is the ticket that will win in June, win in November and be ready to govern in January,” Culver said.
When Judge announced her candidacy eight months ago, she said Iowa was ready for a woman governor. With her exit from the race, there is no other woman candidate and Judge says this is obviously not going to be the year that Iowa makes history by electing a woman governor. “I came to the conclusion that for the good of our party, for the future of this state that it was the best thing for us to join forces,” Judge says. “I know that Chet and I share a common vision and I believe that we’ll be a very, very strong team and a team that can win and that was my decision.”
Culver said their alliance adds a new dimension to the race. “I gave this serious consideration,” Culver said. “We are committed. We are energized. We’re excited.” Judge has campaign debts, including the 50-thousand dollar loan she made to her own campaign, but Judge says she’ll worry about retiring that debt after the election’s over.