For Patty, Past is Prologue: No Enthusiasm, No Campaign Presence, No Talk of the Issues
FROM: Robert Haus, Grassley Committee Campaign Manager
TO: Interested Parties
RE: What To Expect In The Final Three Weeks Of The Senate Campaign
DATE: Tuesday, October 18, 2016
For Patty, Past is Prologue
For an indication of what to expect from Patty Judge in the final three weeks, a look back at the previous three weeks tells the story of a campaign that lacks grassroots enthusiasm, lacks a consistent presence on the campaign trail and lacks a clear, positive message with solutions to the concerns of Iowans.
Patty Judge Lacks Grassroots Enthusiasm
A recent article in the Journal-Eureka underscored what is likely a candidate-induced problem with its report that only two people showed up to a campaign event in Anamosa, one of whom was a Democratic candidate for the Iowa House.
While the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed Grassley with a 17% lead and an approval rating of 56% (“identical to where it stood in September 2010, before he cruised to victory that November, defeating Democrat Roxanne Conlin by 31 percentage points”), it also showed that “some Iowans would have preferred a different Democratic candidate [other than Patty Judge] this time around.” According to the Register:
Some Democratic primary rivals this spring contended Judge was too cozy with corporate agriculture and not strong enough on environmental regulation. They also noted her Senate candidacy got strong backing from state and national Democratic Party leaders and operatives, while she appeared to be generating lackluster enthusiasm among grassroots voters.
According to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:
Chris Petersen, a longtime Democrat and former head of the Iowa Farmers Union, said he won’t be voting for Judge or Grassley. “I’m going to write in another Democrat because I think she’s too close to industrial ag and entities like that,” Petersen said. “I understand the Supreme Court stuff and all that, but I just can’t vote for her. I just can’t.”
Additionally, it is unclear whether the striking absence of Patty Judge yard and barn signs across the state indicates a lack of enthusiasm among grassroots supporters or a campaign that is financially unable to afford providing signs to supporters.
Patty Judge Missing on the Campaign Trail
Beyond speeches given to local Democratic committees and friendly, partisan audiences (examples 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 in recent weeks), Patty Judge is rarely seen in formats that provide non-partisan audiences with the ability to ask unfiltered questions. This stands in stark contrast to Senator Grassley, who has held at least one Q&A with Iowans in every county, every year he’s been in the Senate. In Polk County alone, he’s held more than 30 meetings this year. The Q&As are composed of non-partisan audiences where he talks issues and takes questions on any subject for an hour.
In the Democratic primary, Patty Judge flouted the debate schedule and snubbed voters, missing five of ten debates. This included the Poweshiek County Democrats’ Debate on May 13, the Eastern Iowa Democrats’ Debate at St. Ambrose on May 16, the Des Moines South Side Democrats’ Debate on May 24, the Iowa City Candidate Forum on May 27 and the Waterloo Senate Forum at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church on May 28. One Democratic activist described Judge’s absenteeism as “spitting in the face of democracy.” On one occasion, Judge chose to attend an out-of-state fundraiser in San Francisco, a sanctuary city, rather than sit on the same stage with her opponents. She even failed to respond to an invitation for a debate in Waterloo.
A recent Burlington Hawkeye editorial highlighted this recurring problem, describing Judge as running an “ineffective, almost invisible, campaign,” noting that they didn’t believe that “even if she ramps up appearances and advertising in the closing weeks of the campaign, she’ll change the minds of enough voters to unseat the popular Grassley.”
All of these facts point to Judge’s unpreparedness and lack of familiarity with the issues.
Patty Judge Prefers Attacks to Solutions
Des Moines Register columnist Kathie Obradovich in May noted that Patty Judge’s editorial board interview “helped clarify a few things — [but] not so much about her positions on issues,” describing Judge as giving “limp-noodle answer[s]” to questions posed by the board. Unsurprisingly, Judge’s inability to discuss the issues has not changed, as evidenced by her recent disastrous editorial board interview with the Sioux City Journal, in which she revealed herself to be ill-informed on major immigration policy areas such as sanctuary cities and Sarah’s Law.
Unfortunately for Iowans, it appears that Patty Judge has stayed true to her pledge in June to attack her opponent instead of discussing the issues when she said, “I’d like this [campaign] to be about some lofty ideas of mine – things that I would like to see happen – but that’s probably going to have to wait until after November, because what I think my job is going to be, is holding his [Senator Grassley’s] feet to the fire.”
According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Patty Judge recently said that she wanted to bring the focus of the Senate campaign “back to issues affecting Iowans,” saying she wished the conversation wasn’t about Donald Trump’s “locker room talk.” This newfound focus on the issues was regrettably short-lived. The next day, she returned to attacking her opponent by invoking Trump, even though she insisted the previous day she wished to discuss policy. Indeed, at the time of her saying as much, nine of her previous thirteen tweets were about Trump and two of the remaining three were about surrogates who focused on Trump (tweets Oct. 8-Oct. 12).
Grassley to Continue Crisscrossing Iowa, Focusing on Issues Important to Iowans
While Patty Judge continues to add to the negativity of American politics in 2016 with her preference for attacks instead of solutions, Senator Grassley will continue to stick to the issues that have earned him the broad support of Iowans.
An excerpt from the Des Moines Register poll illustrates the results of this difference:
Pam Mettee, a Grassley supporter and a political independent from Davenport whose family owns a car dealership, said she “can’t imagine trusting anyone else.”
“I am a 67-year-old woman and I have seen the loyalty that Grassley has to our community and our state,” she said. “It will be a sad day when he is not around. He doesn’t miss a vote. He is always there. He gives 100 percent. You can’t say that about many people.”
In the analysis of the poll, University of Iowa political scientist Tim Hagle said, it is “certainly important that he gets around to all 99 counties every year.” The analysis went on to note, “Grassley has gone more than 23 years in the U.S. Senate without missing a vote, which is a record.”
Steve Noe, a welder from Anamosa who is a Republican, said he will vote for Grassley again in November. He praised the senator, describing him as conscientious and concerned about important policy issues, such as protecting Iowans from illegal immigrants who are dangerous criminals.
Senator Grassley’s hard work, bipartisan record and historically productive leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee have provided him much to discuss with Iowans. During this Congress, Senator Grassley:
• Was in the top 5 for bipartisanship by a nonpartisan analysis conducted by Georgetown;
• Led 30 bipartisan bills through the Judiciary Committee, including landmark anti-opioid legislation, anti-trafficking legislation, a sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights and oversight of numerous federal departments and agencies;
• Responded to more than half a million inquiries from Iowans;
• Sent more than 500 inquiries to government agencies to improve transparency and accountability;
• Conducted live tele-town hall meetings with constituents, reaching out to 120,000 Iowa households this year; and
• Held more than 99 county meetings this year alone, totaling more than 3,537 meetings throughout his service to Iowa in the United States Senate;
Iowans can expect to hear more about these themes in the final three weeks of the campaign.