Winners and losers from Iowa's primary election

Democratic candidate for US Senator Patty Judge orders lunch during a stop at Hamburg Inn #2 in Iowa City as she campaigns on Monday, June 6, 2016. Judge is a former Iowa Secretayr of Agriculture and Lt. Governor. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Democratic candidate for US Senator Patty Judge orders lunch during a stop at Hamburg Inn #2 in Iowa City as she campaigns on Monday, June 6, 2016. Judge is a former Iowa Secretayr of Agriculture and Lt. Governor. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Here are a few winners and losers from Tuesday’s primaries.


Electability over shoe leather — U.S. Iowa Senate hopeful Patty Judge’s familiar name and hefty statewide political resume prevailed among voters who saw her as a more electable pick to take on U.S. Sen Chuck Grassley. Her rural background could make her a tougher target for Republicans than some city-slicker with a law degree.

The runner-up — It’s true, state Sen. Rob Hogg, D- Cedar Rapids, fell short in his bid to take on Grassley. But his long, uphill run netted a respectable showing and drew accolades from Democrats. Hogg already is being mentioned as a possible candidate for attorney general or governor. It seems like the guy with a funny name will get a second act.

Apathy — Fewer than 100,000 Democrats bothered to vote in the U.S. Senate primary on a beautiful spring day, more than 70,000 fewer voters than turned out on a cold February night to caucus.

Party-switchers — Democrats in Iowa’s U.S. House 1st District didn’t give a rip former Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon used to be a Republican.

That switchboard — Murphy’s loss means we won’t spend the next several months hearing him scream about “THAT SWITCHBOARD!”

Losers — Vernon won big Tuesday after losing the 1st District Primary race in 2014, as well as being part of the losing gubernatorial ticket. Jim Mowrer, who lost a congressional race in the 4th District two years ago, won the Democratic nod in the 3rd District Tuesday. The last time Judge was on the ballot in 2010, she was part of a losing gubernatorial ticket.

Lawn mowers — I bet Grassley will ride one of his famous mowers into a TV ad. And with U.S. Rep. Steve King surviving a primary challenge, the great debate over Iowans’ right to legally marry their John Deere lawn tractor will continue. Push mowers, by the way, are great for developing cantaloupe calves.


Outside meddling — Hogg might have won the Senate primary if it wasn’t for that meddling Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recruiting Judge. And yes, I did watch a lot of Scooby-Doo as a kid.

Soap operas — “The Days of Our Linn County” has been renewed for new season after county Auditor Joel Miller’s primary victory over Joe Stutler, who was backed by the auditor’s county critics. Is it payback time, or will the auditor suddenly develop amnesia and forget the whole thing? Don’t miss an episode.


Glass ceilings — With Vernon clobbering Murphy and Judge winning the Senate nomination, a state that hadn’t even elected a woman to Congress until 2014 might have a 50 percent female delegation when the 2016 dust settles. Oh, and we just might elect the first woman president.

Water — Hogg has been a leading voice on the need to clean up and protect Iowa waterways. Judge, regardless of her rhetoric, has deep ties to agricultural interests that, regardless of their public platitudes, really don’t think there’s much of a problem.

People hoping to forget the Culver administration — If Republicans have their way, former Gov. Chet Culver, bounced by voters after one term, will be Judge’s unofficial senatorial running mate. If you loved the film office fiasco and “Big Debt Chet,” you’re going to love 2016.

Bruce Rastetter and his band of King dumpers — Rastetter and his allies came at the King and missed by a country mile. The Rick Bertrand bandwagon ran out of ethanol somewhere along a lonely stretch of Highway 20.

Linn County Supervisors — Multiple members worked overtime to oust the auditor in a nasty, personal campaign, but came up far short. The result doesn’t bode well for a ballot measure this fall that could shrink the board from five to three members.

l Comments: (319) 398-8452; todd.dorman@thegazette.com



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