March 21, 2016

Iowa Dems Are Lining Up Against D.C.’s Favorite Judge

For the latest example of a Democrat senate candidate setting Capitol Hill hearts aflutter but leaving local leaders and activists cold, look no further than Iowa’s Patty Judge.

Judge, who was voted out as lieutenant governor in 2010 after racking up a terrible jobs record, became the darling of D.C. Democrats within minutes of announcing her run against Sen. Chuck Grassley, but a breaking Des Moines Register report pours cold water on the Beltway buzz:

Even so, those state-level Democrats have largely declined to endorse her, and some see her late entry as a heavy-handed and unwelcome intervention from Washington.

“The Washington oligarchy has chosen Lt. Gov. Judge to go after this seat, to go after Grassley,” said former Iowa state Sen. Jack Hatch, who was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2014. “But that’s a political oligarchy that oftentimes interferes with the natural flow of politics in a state.”

The vast majority of Iowa Democrat officials have made their choice – and it’s not Judge:

That Judge has the support of national Democratic leaders and operatives looking to recapture the U.S. Senate is unmistakable: the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a statement lauding her candidacy 47 minutes after she declared March 4. On March 8, she met privately with Democratic senators in Washington, after which several spoke glowingly of her qualifications.

In Iowa, though, most of the state’s Democratic leadership is backing Hogg, who began exploring a challenge to Grassley in July. Hogg has endorsements from 63 of the state’s 69 Democratic lawmakers and 30 more former legislators.

If local leaders are skeptical, the grassroots are in full rebellion:

The party’s liberal grassroots, meanwhile, has shown outright hostility to Judge’s late-breaking entry into the race, as well as her record during 12 years in statewide office. Of particular concern is her perceived coziness with the state’s agricultural interests and opposition to environmental regulation…  

…“People do not forget how bad Patty Judge has been on rural issues, on environmental issues and on agriculture,” said Ed Fallon, a liberal activist who ran for governor in 2006. “She’s been shilling for some of the same interest groups that Democrats at the grassroots level are constantly fighting against.”

It appears Patty Judge is finding out the hard way that jetting to Washington for backroom meetings with establishment insiders like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer wasn’t the best campaign kickoff strategy.