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UPDATE: Judge wins Democratic U.S. Senate primary

UPDATE: Judge wins Democratic U.S. Senate primary

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DES MOINES — Patty Judge, a former lieutenant governor and state ag secretary, won a four-way Democratic primary election Tuesday, giving her the right to challenge longtime Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley for one of Iowa’s seats in the U.S. Senate.

“I am the Judge that Chuck Grassley can’t ignore,” Judge said in her victory speech late Tuesday in Des Moines.

Judge, 72, a retired farmer from Albia, edged state legislator Rob Hogg, while attorney Tom Fiegen and veterans advocate Bob Krause lagged far behind.

With all precincts reporting, Judge secured roughly 47 percent of more than 95,000 votes cast to Hogg’s 38 percent, according to official results on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.

Fiegen and Krause both were at 7 percent.

Using her name recognition advantage as a former lieutenant governor, state secretary of agriculture and state senator, Judge earned her party’s nomination and the right to face Grassley, 82, a six-term incumbent, in Iowa’s 2016 U.S. Senate race this fall.

“He’s been in Washington way too long,” Judge said. “It’s time for government to start working for us. Tonight we took the first step in making government work again.”

Judge performed well in Iowa’s rural counties, while Hogg, 49, a 14-year veteran of the Legislature and a current state senator, was strongest in the urban areas.

Shortly after she entered the race in March, Judge was endorsed by the Democratic Party’s national committee that works to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate. She also was the primary’s best fundraiser: she raised nearly $370,000 in roughly 2½ months, while Hogg raised just more than $250,000 over the course of 10 months.

“Together, we are going to win in November. And now it’s time to party,” Judge said.

Hogg ran an active grassroots campaign, traveling across the state to hold dozens of meetings. He was endorsed by the state’s largest labor groups.

Fiegen and Krause offered themselves as candidates rich in ideas to bolster the sagging middle class, but challenged in the campaign financing needed to wage an effective statewide campaign. Instead, they relied heavily on social media to carry their messages to rank-and-file Democrats and independents.

Grassley has been re-elected by Iowans five times, never by fewer than 30 percentage points and each time garnering at least 60 percent of the vote.

But Democrats believe Grassley is vulnerable this year, largely because of two issues: Grassley’s stand with Senate Republican leadership to not hold confirmation hearings on President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, and the potential down-ballot impact of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

In a statement issued Tuesday night, Grassley campaign manager Robert Haus suggested Judge failed to garner widespread support from Iowa Democrats, particularly those interested in labor, environmental and agricultural issues.

“Members of these key constituencies voted against Patty Judge for clear reasons, and she will need to spend considerable time and resources to try to win back the support of those that remain hostile to her candidacy,” Haus said, adding, “Iowans know what she did when she had control in Iowa. They shudder at what she’ll do if she’s sent to Washington, D.C.”

EARLIER STORY

DES MOINES --- Democrats Patty Judge of Albia and Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids are locked in a tight primary-election battle Tuesday to land their party’s nomination and the right to face six-term Republican Chuck Grassley in Iowa’s 2016 U.S. Senate race this fall.

Using her name recognition advantage as a former lieutenant governor, state secretary of agriculture and state senator, Judge emerged as the frontrunner Tuesday night, forging a lead in the early balloting of Democratic primary voters.

Des Moines television station WHO-TV projected Judge as the race’s winner shortly after 9 p.m.

Judge, 72, was performing well in Iowa’s rural counties, while Hogg, 49, a 14-year veteran of the Iowa Legislature and a current state senator, was strongest in the urban areas.

Trailing the early leaders were attorney Tom Fiegen of Clarence and veterans advocate Bob Krause of Fairfield.

Shortly after she entered the race in March, Judge was endorsed by the Democratic Party’s national committee that works to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate. She also was the primary’s best fundraiser: she raised nearly $370,000 in roughly 2 1/2 months, while Hogg raised just more than $250,000 over the course of 10 months.

Hogg ran an active, grassroots campaign, traveling across the state to hold dozens of meetings. He was endorsed by the state’s largest labor groups.

Fiegen and Krause offered themselves as candidates rich in ideas to bolster the suffering and sagging middle class, but challenged in the campaign financing needed to wage an effective statewide campaign. Instead, they instead relied heavily on social media to carry their messages to rank-and-file Democrats and independents.

Grassley has been re-elected by Iowans five times, never by fewer than 30 percentage points and each time garnering at least 60 percent of the vote.

But Democrats believe Grassley is vulnerable this year, largely because of two issues: Grassley’s stand with Senate Republican leadership to not hold confirmation hearings on President Barack Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, and the potential down-ballot impact of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

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State house reporter for The Courier/Lee Enterprises.

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