By John Celock
The Democratic Senate nominee in Iowa is co-starring with a cardboard cutout of her Republican opponent in new ads attacking her opponent’s 36 years in the Senate.
Democrat Patty Judge, a former lieutenant governor, focuses on what she says is a change in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R) performance in the Senate, saying that he is leading obstructionism and blocking progressive leaning issues. Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been at the center of the Senate Republicans’ decision not to hold confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Democrats have centered in on Grassley’s role in the Garland nomination in an attempt to dislodge the six-term senator.
“It used to be you could work with Chuck. I did plenty of times,” Judge said in one of the ads. “He is all politics and partisanship now and he’s turned his back on Iowa.”
The new ads, the first Judge has debuted in her campaign, both feature the cardboard cutout of Grassley. In one, Judge carries the cutout in front of a garage and then allows for others to attack Grassley on a variety of issues, including Garland, funding for Planned Parenthood and medical costs. In the second, Judge focuses on Garland and what she says is Grassley’s changed behavior in Washington. She then leaves the scene by carrying the cardboard cutout away.
“We know Chuck Grassley stopped the Senate from working,” Judge said. “He also stopped working for Iowa.”
The Iowa Senate race has become a sleeper race in this year’s cycle, with polls showing Grassley vulnerable following the fallout from the decision not to hold a hearing on Garland. Grassley has held a narrow lead in the polls and has long been popular in Iowa, owing in part to his regular tours of the state’s 99 counties. Grassley has held the Senate seat since his first election in 1980 and previously served six years in Congress. Prior to his 1974 congressional election, Grassley spent 16 years as an Iowa state legislator. Grassley is a former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Judge is a well-known candidate in Iowa who has won three statewide races. She was the state’s first female agriculture secretary, winning election to the post in 1998 and 2002 and was elected lieutenant governor in 2006, following a brief bid for governor. She was defeated for a second term alongside her running mate, then Gov. Chet Culver (D), in 2010. While lieutenant governor, Judge headed the state’s homeland security and emergency management agencies. Prior to her election as agriculture secretary, she served in the state Senate for six years.