DES MOINES — Democrat Patty Judge — a lifelong Iowan, farmer, and political officeholder — on Friday announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, seeking the seat currently held by Republican Chuck Grassley.
“I’ve been fortunate to grow up in Iowa and to farm in Monroe County,” said Judge in a statement. “I have served my friends and neighbors in the state Senate, and as Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture and lieutenant governor.
“Throughout my entire life in Iowa and during my time in office, I’ve always been proud of the way Iowans work together. From leading our state’s response to catastrophic flooding in 2008 to advocating for Iowa agriculture and biofuels, I’ve witnessed Iowans from all walks of life join together to strengthen our state,” she added.
Judge said she has worked with Grassley on bipartisan effort but added “unfortunately he has changed” and is “acting like someone who has been in Washington for far too long.”
The Albia Democrat said that “Instead of working on behalf of Iowans, he’s working for his friends in Washington to block progress and promote obstructionism.”
Judge said she has decided to enter the 2016 primary for the Democratic Party’s Senate nomination because the state needs a senator who will work for Iowans again.
“We need a senator who will promote progress and not forget who they represent,” she said in her statement. “I look forward to traveling across our great state in the weeks and months ahead. I hope Iowans will support my campaign and send a strong message about the kind of representation we want in Washington.”
Judge served for two terms in the Iowa Senate representing a south-central Iowa district before becoming the first woman in Iowa history to become the state’s Secretary of Agriculture.
She served as lieutenant governor with former Gov. Chet Culver overseeing flood-recovery efforts beginning in 2008 in a dual role as the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor.
A lifelong resident of Iowa, Patty and her family have owned a cow/calf farm in Monroe County for over 40 years. Patty and her husband John have three sons and four grandchildren, all of whom still call Iowa home.
Republicans wasted little time in attacking Judge as the expected front-runner in a primary that already has attracted state Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, who filed his nominating papers with the Iowa Secretary of State’s office earlier this week.
Greg Blair, a spokesman for the National Republican senatorial Campaign, issued a statement saying no one works harder for Iowa than six-term Republican Grassley.
“Sen. Grassley wrote the book on how public servants should talk to voters and take their ideas and concerns directly to Washington,” Blair said in his statement.
“Patty Judge is an out-of-touch liberal who was shown the door by voters last time she ran for office. Democrats might be celebrating the fact they were able to convince someone to pursue the fool’s errand of running against Chuck Grassley, but Judge will have no more luck than those who tried before her.
“Aside from Senator Grassley’s unwavering commitment to the Hawkeye State, Judge’s support for the failed policies of Barack Obama and her inescapable ties to the unpopular legacy of Chet Culver are enough to sink her electoral prospects on their own,” according to Blair.
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