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Political Mercury

Patty Judge says Trump will drag Grassley down



In his nearly 60 years of public service — having first been elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1958 — U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley has run on tickets with many Republicans.

Now his name is on the ballot under Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and that will prove devastating for Grassley’s re-election hopes, Patty Judge, the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat, said in an interview.

“I think Donald Trump is a liability to Republicans up and down the ticket,” Judge said.

Judge, 72, said Grassley, 82, has had a career in Congress that has simply spanned too much time.

Prep Iowa

“I think we should talk about term limits,” Judge said.

poli 16-06-04 Patty Judge in Carroll

Democratic Senate candidate Patty Judge talks about her prospects during a recent interview.

But doesn’t Iowa, a rural state of 3 million people, benefit from seniority in the Senate? That was the argument for having Grassley and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, all those years right?

“I don’t think all that tenure is working for us at all,” Judge said.

Judge’s chief line of attack on Grassley is what she terms his “obstruction” of President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. Grassley has refused to hold hearings on Garland as chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Concerns about that decision cross party lines, Judge said.

“Republicans are asking him tough questions about why are you doing what you’re doing,” Judge said.

What’s more, Judge said, Trump is feeding the obstructionist narrative in the Grassley campaign as the presumptive GOP White House nominee takes on an Hispanic judge involved in Trump’s own legal battles.

In a Wall Street Journal interview, Trump said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had “an absolute conflict” in presiding over civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University given that he was “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association.

According to The Journal, Trump said the background of the judge, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants, was relevant because of his campaign stance against illegal immigration and his pledge to seal the southern U.S. border. “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Trump said.

Judge, in the interview with this newspaper, said the comments represent ethnic and racial baiting — and that Grassley, as well as Trump, will have to answer for them in the election.

  • • •

We talked twice in recent weeks with Judge in rural Iowa.

We interviewed her in Carroll, which is part of Iowa Senate District 6, a sweeping stretch of five counties, Audubon, Carroll, Crawford, Sac and Buena Vista, now represented by Republican Mark Segebart. In all of those counties, not one Democrat came forward to challenge for the seat, no one from Carroll or Storm Lake, both cities with strong histories of Democratic politics.

Not too long ago, Mike Peterson, a former state representative from Carroll, served as Iowa Democratic Party chairman. Demographic changes in Storm Lake are pushing it toward the Democrats.

But no Democrat foe for Segebart. Same story in other reaches of western Iowa.

So why, we asked Judge, wouldn’t it be fair to run a headline proclaiming the Democratic Party dead in rural western Iowa?

“I’m here,” Judge said. “So we’re not dead in rural Iowa.”

  • • •

Post Orlando …

Following the terror attack on The Pulse night club in Orlando, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, issued a statement saying the United States is sitting “on the sidelines” in the battle against terrorism.

What does she propose the U.S, government do that it isn’t already? Is there something more she wants happening on the ground here, since, as her statement notes, the Islamic State is present in Iowa?

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrific tragedy, and their loved ones who are suffering unimaginable loss,” Ernst said. “Let us also express our utmost gratitude to our first responders who put their lives on the line to save others.

“This tragedy underscores that we must do more in our fight to defeat terrorism here at home and across the globe. We have already been told that ISIS is present in all 50 states. We simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines as attacks on Americans, powered by Islamic terrorism, continue to take place.

“Now is the time to stand united against this evil, and prevent future acts of terror from happening here at home.” CV


Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who resides in Carroll. He and his family own and publish newspapers in Carroll, Jefferson and other neighboring communities.



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