Four candidates are competing in the Iowa Democratic Party’s Primary for the chance to face Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. Patty Judge of Albia is a former Iowa lieutenant governor and state ag secretary. She entered the race after Grassley’s pivotal role in filling a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court became a flash point.
“Washington isn’t working very well,” Judge says, “and Chuck Grassley just isn’t getting the job done.”
Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids, a 49-year-old state senator, says he provides the “best contrast” against the 82-year-old Grassley.
“Iowans are desperately looking for new leaders who can do the job,” Hogg says, “and I’ve done the job for 14 years in the Iowa Legislature.”
The Des Moines Register’s recent “Iowa Poll” found Judge leading the race with 42 percent support. Hogg was in second with 25 percent. Fifteen percent of likely Democratic voters were undecided. The other two candidates in this race ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Bob Krause got six percent in the “Iowa Poll” and Tom Fiegen got five percent.
Krause, who is from Fairfield, says the middle class is being “hollowed out” and it’s time for federal action.
“I’ve talked that issue ’til it’s blue in the face,” Krause says, “because that’s what I think it’s going to take to win in November.”
Fiegen says he visited each of Iowa’s 99 counties last year and is halfway through visiting each again this year.
“I am hearing the pain of Iowans,” Fiegen says, “and for the all the promises of the politicians in DC and Des Moines, that pain is not getting better.”
Fiegen is a bankruptcy lawyer from Clarence.
Six years ago about 73,000 voters cast ballots in the Democratic Primary to pick a candidate to challenge Senator Grassley the last time he sought re-election.
There are Primary Elections in three of Iowa’s four congressional districts tomorrow and one of those races features an incumbent congressman. Steve King, the Republican congressman for Iowa’s fourth district, faces Republican challenger Rick Bertrand, a state senator from Sioux City.
Bertrand says King is an ineffective congressman because he “doesn’t work well with people within his own party.”
“Likeability is a key in business and it’s a key to being a good legislator,” Bertrand says.
King offers this rebuttal: “Time after time after time I’ve been effective. I’ll continue to be effective and just because he wants the seat doesn’t mean that I’m not.”
King and Bertrand made their comments Friday night in a forum co-sponsored by KSCJ Radio, KTIV TV and The Sioux City Journal.
Tomorrow’s Primary will determine which of three candidates will be the Iowa Democratic Party’s nominee in the third congressional district.
Freshman Republican Congressman David Young is seeking reelection in the third district and the Democrats who’ve lined up to challenge him are Desmund Adams, Mike Sherzan and Jim Mowrer.
Mowrer ran against Republican Congressman King in 2014, moved to Des Moines afterwards and is running for congress again, but in the third district.
“We cannot let the party of David Young and Donald Trump carry out their extreme agenda that is completely out of touch with Iowans,” Mowrer says.
Sherzan is a retired businessman from West Des Moines who says Young ran as a moderate in 2014, but Young’s voting record in congress has been conservative.
“He, time and time again, has done nothing but take orders from the senior officials at the Republican Party,” Sherzan says. “He doesn’t stand out as a leader.”
Adams, the other candidate in the third district race, accuses Young of “flip-flopping” on a ban against discrimination of federal contractors who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
“I think that we need leadership in this district that best represents a broad coalition of individuals,” Adams says.
Adams, who is from Clive, was a high-school drop-out who is now a lawyer.
Tuesday’s Democratic Party Primary in Iowa’s first congressional district features a rematch.
Pat Murphy of Dubuque won the 2014 Democratic Primary in the first district, but then Murphy lost to Republican Rod Blum that November. Two years ago, after finishing second to Murphy in the Primary, Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon was the Democratic Party’s lieutenant governor candidate in November.
During this year’s campaign, Murphy has often cited Vernon’s past as a registered Republican. Vernon this year has the backing of Emily’s List, a group that seeks to elect Democratic women around the country. Iowa’s Democratic attorney general, state treasurer and Congressman Dave Loebsack have endorsed her as well.
Loras College political science professor Christopher Budzisz has been watching it all.
“I think one of the things that certainly is high profile about this race is the disparity between Vernon and Murphy in terms of fundraising, in terms of presence on the airwaves,” Budzisz says. “Vernon has a decided advantage.”
Budzisz says Murphy is touting his long record as a state legislator and the “good old-fashioned networking” he’s done “after being thrown aside” by the party establishment.