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Grassley, Judge trade barbs as new television ads hit Iowa

U.S. Senate candidates deny claims made by campaigns

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DES MOINES — Iowa television viewers may have noticed the state’s U.S. Senate election has made its way into their homes.

The campaigns for that race’s candidates, Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley and Democratic challenger Patty Judge, spent part of Wednesday addressing the content of those ads — touting their own and denying the claims made in their opponent’s.

Grassley’s newest campaign ad — which began running Wednesday in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, and is to later run in other state media markets, the campaign said — plays up his work for the wind energy industry.

Grassley shepherded the 1992 legislation that created the wind energy production tax credit that industry officials say is largely responsible for the industry’s success in Iowa, which now draws more than 30 percent of its electricity from wind.

The wind energy industry features more than 6,000 jobs in Iowa and roughly $10 billion in capital investments have been made in wind farms and manufacturing facilities, according to the Iowa Wind Energy Association.

“Virtually none of that would be possible without Sen. Grassley’s support for wind energy, particularly through the production tax credit,” John DiDonato, vice president for wind development at Next Era Energy Resources, told reporters on a conference call hosted by the Grassley campaign.

Grassley campaign manager, Robert Haus, also pushed back at the Judge campaign’s assertion that Grassley has not been a productive member of the U.S. Senate, and that he has obstructed legislation as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

The committee has passed 27 bills, all of which had bipartisan support, 20 of which passed the full Senate and 12 of which were signed into law by the president, according to the Grassley campaign. Haus said Grassley also has worked on issues like human trafficking, opioid addiction and police safety.

The committee has passed 27 bills, all of which had bipartisan support, 20 of which passed the full Senate and 12 of which were signed into law by the president, according to the Grassley campaign. Haus said Grassley also has worked on issues like human trafficking, opioid addiction and police safety.

“This is a man that starts work at 4:10 or 4:30 in the morning and doesn’t stop until after dark,” Haus said. “His work ethic is unmatched, and his productivity is unmatched, period.”

Judge’s campaign said, according to its research, Grassley’s productivity is not altogether impressive, pointing to the committee’s legislative production before Grassley’s leadership.

“This is the kind of behavior that Iowans are sick and tired of,” Judge told reporters on her own conference call. “Chuck Grassley is no longer doing his job.”

In 2015 and 2016, with Grassley as chairman, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported 27 bills, according to data on the Library of Congress website.

The committee reported 26 and 65 bills in the previous two two-year sessions, both of which were under Democratic leadership. In the previous five sessions going back to 2001, the committee produced an average of 95 bills.

Democratic leadership. In the previous five sessions going back to 2001, the committee produced an average of 44 bills.

Judge also defended herself against a Grassley campaign ad that criticizes her for not volunteering to reduce her pay as lieutenant governor from 2007 to 2011 while the state felt the effects of the recession.

Judge returned the criticism to Grassley, noting his statement that he took a pay cut in the form of rejecting a cost-of-living increase.

“Only somebody who has been in Washington way too long would make that kind of argument,” Judge said.

U.S. Senate salaries have not increased since 2009, when they were raised to $174,000.

Most polls on the race in Iowa have showed Grassley leading Judge by between 7 and 10 percentage points. A new poll published Wednesday by the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling showed Grassley leading Judge, 49 percent to 43 percent.

That poll was commissioned by We Need Nine, an advocacy group pushing for the Senate to hold confirmation hearings on President Barack Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Grassley has joined fellow Republican leaders in the Senate in refusing to consider nominees until a new president takes office next year.

The poll surveyed 827 likely Iowa voters on August 30 and 31, and has a 3.4-percent margin of error.

For all of The Gazette's Election 2016 coverage, please visit our election coverage center.

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