GOP Leads In Iowa Senate

By John Celock

The Senate Republican decision to not hold hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland is not hurting the judiciary committee chairman’s bid for seventh term.

A Quinnipiac Poll released Friday shows that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is easily leading his Democratic opponent, former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, 56 percent to 38 percent. Judge entered the race earlier this year amid uproar from Democrats in Washington about the decision to not hold confirmation hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination. The initial thinking had been that the delay could lead to backlash against Grassley. The Iowa Senate race had not on been national radar screens prior to the decision not to hold a hearing on Garland.

Grassley has expanded his lead since Judge entered the race as the debate over the Garland nomination fades from the front pages. Grassley, who was first elected in 1980, has been known for his regular tours of Iowa’s 99 counties.

The poll indicated that Judge leads 58-38 percent among early voters in Iowa, while Grassley leads among men 63 percent to 33 percent and women 50 percent to 43 percent. Grassley also leads among independents and Republicans, while Judge leads among Democrats.

Judge served one term as lieutenant governor, before being defeated for a second term on a ticket with then Gov. Chet Culver (D) in 2010. As lieutenant governor, Judge oversaw homeland security and emergency management for the state. She has also been elected to two terms as state agriculture secretary.