Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge is running for the U.S. Senate seat held since 1981 by Republican Chuck Grassley. She becomes the fourth Democrat to enter the race.
Judge announced her candidacy with a news release this morning and a post on her Facebook page, calling herself, "the Judge Chuck Grassley can't ignore." Grassley heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has said it would not hold a hearing for anyone President Obama nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.
“Chuck’s been there too long," Judge told Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters. "He waited 36 years to be the chairman of the judiciary committee and now he’s decided he doesn’t want to hold a hearing. So maybe it’s time for some new blood.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to support GOP candidates for U.S. Senate, is dismissing Judge as an, "an out-of-touch liberal who was shown the door by voters last time she ran for office."
Judge will likely face three other Democrats in the June 7th primary: Democratic State Senator Rob Hogg and former State Senator Tom Fiegen filed their nomination petitions this week. Former State Representative Bob Krause is also running. The deadline to file petitions is March 18th.
Fiegen issued a statement in which he welcomed Judge to the race because of the stark contrast she represents.
"She represents the worst of big money industrial agriculture, where poisoning Iowa's water is 'just the cost of doing business.'" he said. "Iowans will now have a clear choice between Judge’s status-quo politics where everything is for sale to the high bidder vs. my mission to put working people ahead of the Super PACs.”
Judge was Iowa's Lt. Gov. under Gov. Chet Culver from 2007-11, served as the state's Secretary of Agriculture from 1999-2007, and served two terms in the state senate before that. She and her family have owned a cow and calf farm in Monroe County in southern Iowa for more than 40 years.