A Democrat who has won three statewide elections says U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley has “lost his way” and she’s launching a campaign to try to defeat him in November.
Republican Chuck Grassley is seeking a seventh term in the U.S. Senate this November. Democrat Patty Judge, the former lieutenant governor who served two terms as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, says she hadn’t planned to run for the U.S. Senate. That all changed last month after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia died and Grassley immediately announced his Judiciary Committee will not hold a hearing to consider whomever President Obama nominates to fill the vacancy.
Judge told Radio Iowa this morning that she talked with her family and they came to this conclusion: “Things were lined up. There was a real chance to beat Chuck Grassley, not just to harass him, but to beat him and so we’ve jumped in, with both feet.”
Judge said Grassley is acting like someone who has been in Washington for far too long.
“I worked with Chuck through the years, particularly the years I was in the Department of Agriculture. I always found him to be cooperative and a person that was very helpful to me and who had Iowa’s best interests at heart,” Judge said. “I don’t know what’s happened.”
Judge said after serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee for 36 years, Grassley is finally the panel’s chairman, but is refusing to do the committee’s work when it comes to a nominee for the Supreme Court.
“That is something that doesn’t sound like Chuck Grassley,” Judge said. “…It appears to me that he has caved into Washington thinking.”
Judge is a nurse and her family farms near Albia. She served eight years in the state legislature and two terms as Iowa’s Ag Secretary. She ran for governor in 2006, but ended that campaign to become Chet Culver’s lieutenant governor running mate. Culver and Judge lost to Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds in 2010 and a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee said Judge was rejected by Iowa voters the last time she ran because she’s an “out of touch liberal.”
“I have served as a state senator, as the secretary of agriculture, as the lieutenant governr, as homeland security advisor during the floods of 2008 and I think people know that I’m not out of touch and I think they know that I’m a pragmatic person that likes to find solutions to problems,” Judge told Radio Iowa.
Judge suggested Grassley has become part of the problem in the U.S. Senate.
“This whole campaign season has been about anti-establishment. It’s been about people’s frustrating with government. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, that’s the conservation,” Judge said. “I think people are really tired of electing people to go out to Washington, D.C., and then watching them sit on their hands.”
Judge promised to run a “vigorous campaign” against Grassley.
“Chuck Grassley’s been there too long,” she says. “He’s lost his way and I’d love to replace him.”
Judge faces at least one Democrat in the June Primary. State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids filed the paperwork Monday to place his name on the June ballot. Three other Democrats have talked about running for the U.S. Senate as well, but so far none of the three have submitted the required number of petition signatures to the Secretary of State to qualify for the ballot.
A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a written statement, saying “no one works harder for Iowa than Chuck Grassley” and Grassley “wrote the book” on how to talk with voters “and take their ideas and concerns directly to Washington.”