Elections

Obama endorses Judge in U.S. Senate race

But 'president couldn't think of a single accomplishment,' Grassley campaign retorts

Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge speaks at the Iowa Democratic Party's state convention at the Iowa Events Center-Hy-Vee
Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge speaks at the Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention at the Iowa Events Center-Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines on Saturday, June 18, 2016. Judge was elected in June to be the Democratic nominee to run against Sen. Chuck Grassley in the 2016 election. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has endorsed former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge in her race against Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has led the GOP effort to block the president’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination.

In a statement, Obama praised the Democrat.

“Patty has never backed down from a challenge,” he said. “I have no doubt that she will carry this spirit with her to the United States Senate.”

Obama has not been afraid to jump into Senate races this year to support Democrats, endorsing Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, Rep. Tammy Duckworth in Illinois and Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida.

Obama and Grassley have clashed since March when Grassley said he would not hold hearings for federal appeals Judge Merrick Garland, Obama’s selection to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

Judge alluded to the stalemate in her remarks.

“Chuck Grassley has become part of the problem,” she said. “Instead of doing his job, he’s playing cynical political games that have stalled progress for working families in Iowa.”

The Roll Call/Rothenberg & Gonzales race rating has labeled the race as a safe Republican one, and Grassley leads Judge in several polls.

“It should come as no surprise that the president would endorse Patty Judge,” Grassley’s campaign said in a statement Thursday. “… She supports Obamacare, the misguided Iran nuclear deal, and dramatically expanding (Environmental Protection Agency) regulation of Iowa’s farmland. What is surprising is that the president couldn’t think of a single accomplishment she’s had during her long public career. As far as endorsements go, that’s pretty embarrassing.”

Roll Call contributed to this report.

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