March 10, 2016

Meet Patty Judge: Iowa’s Next Bruce Braley

Remember Bruce Braley? The once-upon-a-time Democrat rising star who was favored to win the 2014 Iowa senate race until he was caught on video condescendingly referring to Sen. Chuck Grassley as a “farmer from Iowa” who “never went to law school”? You probably haven’t heard much about him since he lost badly and was named the “worst candidate of the 2014 election” by The Washington Post.

Well, Washington Democrats have a new favorite Iowan, and it’s former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge, voted out in 2010 amid rising unemployment, ballooning state debt, and sweeping corruption scandals across state government during her time in office.

Now Judge, naturally, could be expected to learn from Braley’s mistakes and avoid the D.C. insider image that played into Braley’s dowfall, right?

Wrong. Judge’s first act as an official candidate was to fly straight to Washington for a closed-door lunch with Party bosses like Sens. Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid. BuzzFeed reported:

And on Tuesday afternoon, she huddled with Senate Democrats during their weekly lunch to talk about the race. Coming out of the meeting, Democrats spoke highly of their latest recruit.

Schumer & co. also seemingly haven’t learned from Braley’s bad example, using patronizing Braley-esque language to tout Judge’s “real Iowa” appeal:

“She seemed down-home, home-spun, real Iowa,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate. “I think she’s going to be a very formidable candidate. She would have been a formidable candidate before the issue of hearings for the Supreme Court, but now even more so.”

Politico described the Party leaders as “showcasing” Judge, having her huddle with a clique of Capitol Hill reporters before lunching, and Roll Call suggested the group was already testing out TV ad slogans:

As Democrats filed out of lunch with Judge, many repeated a canned line that easily translates to a campaign ad, that she is “one judge Sen. Grassley can’t ignore.”

If Judge was seeking to distinguish herself from Grassley – who is famed for visiting all 99 Iowa counties each year –  by glad-handing with Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid before shaking the hand of a single Iowa voter, she certainly succeeded.