Labor Unions Endorse Patty Judge Despite Past Misgivings

The AFL-CIO officially gave an endorsement nod to U.S. Senate candidate Patty Judge this week at their state convention in Altoona. That followed AFSCME’s formal backing last week. It’s a notable change in labor’s disposition to the former Lt. Governor, and a sign of continuing unity around Judge in a race Democrats see as a potential pick-up opportunity. It didn’t always use to be this way. Iowa’s labor community has never forgotten – nor quite forgiven – Judge’s involvement in former Governor Chet Culver’s veto of the collective bargaining bill in 2008. Both AFSCME and the AFL-CIO endorsed and actively […]

Just How Well Does Everyone Know Patty Judge?

Patty Judge has been involved in statewide politics since 1992 when she was first elected to the State Senate, serving two terms. She was elected as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 1998 and served 8 years. She was elected as Lieutenant Governor in 2006.  But do Iowans really know her and her progressive positions? One must ask that question when you see the Quinnipiac Poll showing 17% of Grassley supporters plan to vote for Clinton.  Why are they splitting their tickets to vote for Clinton and Grassley? The Des Moines Register’s articles on Sunday and Monday point to both Democrats […]

Meet Iowa Democrats’ All-Female Tickets

When voters go to the polls in the Northeast Iowa counties of Allamakee and Clayton this year, this is what they’ll see in the Democratic column of their ballot: President: Hillary Clinton U.S. Senate: Patty Judge Congress: Monica Vernon State Senate: Jan Heikes State House: Patti Ruff Voters in Marion and Dubuque will see similar all-female tickets from the Democrats. In Marion, Senator Liz Mathis and State House candidate Molly Donahue are on the ballot. In Dubuque, Senate President Pam Jochum and Representative Abby Finkenauer fill out the down-ballot slots. Those three districts make up a particularly historic ballot for […]

Patty Judge Hits The Doors In Search Of Suburban Vote-Switchers

In the year of Donald Trump, Democrats are increasingly looking to make inroads into independent and Republican-leaning suburban voters, typically those with higher education and higher income. So that’s exactly where Democratic Senate candidate Patty Judge was this weekend, going door-to-door with State House candidate Jennifer Konfrst in West Des Moines. If Judge is to pull off an upset win against six-term incumbent Chuck Grassley this November, she’ll need Trump’s poor poll numbers to pull down Grassley’s, who has aligned himself closely with the bombastic nominee (though Trump is in an essential tie in Iowa in recent polls). Grassley has […]

Which Senate Candidate Is Really The More Electable One?

When Patty Judge entered the U.S. Senate race a little over two months ago, some Iowa Democrats were excited about the prospect. Chuck Grassley might finally be vulnerable thanks to his historic obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination, but some were worried Rob Hogg couldn’t fully take advantage of the situation. A candidate like Judge, who’s won statewide office before, who could raise serious money and has rural credibility as a longtime farmer seemed like a good bet. Yes, there’s concerns among the Democratic base over Judge’s past record on water quality issues, the agricultural industry and organized labor. Some will […]

When The Establishment Fails To Back The “Establishment” Candidate

What do you get when the so-called “establishment” fails to back the so-called “establishment” candidate? The Iowa Senate Democratic primary, apparently. Throughout this year’s presidential primary, both Republicans and Democrats have obsessed over “establishment” politics, and which candidates the powers to be are backing. Typically aligning themselves with the seemingly more moderate or electable candidate, party leaders and top donors succeeded on the Democratic side while failing miserably among Republicans. I hesitated to write an entire post about “establishment” forces because I don’t really like the term. It’s vague and fluid and is usually just used as an epithet against […]

Patty Judge’s Awesome Time-Traveling TV Ad

Iowa Senate candidate Patty Judge put out a new TV ad today two weeks in advance of the June 7 primary. It highlights her leadership as the Homeland Security advisor for Iowa during the 2008 floods. It’s a little heavy on the “let’s work together” rhetoric, but seems to lay the foundation for her eventual contrast with Chuck Grassley as a creature of D.C. It’s a pretty decent TV ad, well-shot and does a nice job of framing Judge’s past leadership in her role as Lt. Governor. I can’t help but think it’s not quite impactful enough, however, in a […]

A Day On The Trail With Patty Judge

Patty Judge was running a few minutes behind when she got her travel schedule last Thursday, full of meetings and event drop-bys in northern Iowa. She gathered with her campaign staff in her East Village office housed out of Jeff Link’s consulting firm. “I need a fast car and somebody to drive it,” Judge told her campaign manager when asked if there was anything else she needed for the road. The car they ended up taking was her own, a black Chrysler 300. The car has a nickname. She calls it “Dr. Dre.” When she and her husband bought it […]

Iowa Already The Center Of The Political Universe Again

That didn’t take long. A mere seven weeks ago the TV satellite trucks and campaign headquarters packed up and headed out from Iowa following the caucus. As it happens every four years, the national spotlight flickers out on Iowa in the blink of an eye, with all the political staff and reporters that we’ve become friends with vanishing to now more-interesting states. Iowa doesn’t quite turn into a pumpkin, but we’re certainly not a fancy stagecoach anymore. But guess what? The political gods determined this couldn’t stand for long and have thrust Iowa back into center stage. As is only […]

Does An Actual Nominee Affect Chuck Grassley’s Race Much?

For weeks Senator Chuck Grassley has come under fire for his refusal to hold hearings for President Barack Obama’s eventual Supreme Court nominee. That nominee now has a face, a name and a record, with Merrick Garland getting the nod to be Obama’s choice to replace Antoin Scalia. Does it matter? And for the Iowa angle, does it change anything that much in Grassley’s re-election race Obviously, simply having a nominee drives the story more and now puts the ball in Grassley’s court. “Now that President Obama has done his job by making a nomination, it’s time for Chuck Grassley […]