Patty Judge, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, says decision-makers with the Iowa Farm Bureau’s Political Action Committee did not speak with her before extending the PAC’s endorsement to her opponent.
“That was wrong,” Judge told reporters during a telephone conference call. “I think I should have been given that opportunity to make my case.”
A spokeswoman for the Farm Bureau says voting records, the results of a questionnaire filled out by candidates and input from Farm Bureau members were considered — and no candidates for federal office were invited to speak with the board that made the decision.
“I regret that they did not think that that was necessary and that they would just endorse Chuck Grassley without even talking to me,” Judge said.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley was given the Farm Bureau’s “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement this week. The Farm Bureau’s PAC called Grassley a “proven and reliable advocate for agriculture.”
Judge’s family runs a cow-calf operation near Albia. She served two terms as Iowa’s secretary of agriculture. During her first campaign in 1998, the Farm Bureau designated both Judge and her Republican opponent as “acceptable” to the Farm Bureau’s PAC board, but it was not an endorsement.
Grassley’s 2016 campaign manager issued a written statement when the Farm Bureau’s endorsement was issued Wednesday, saying “Grassley is a farmer” who “never stops working” for Iowa and its agricultural interests.