By Emily Kresse | Emilyfirstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Grassley, R-Iowa, has cruised into a seventh term, defeating Democrat Patty Judge. The race was called by the Associated Press moments after polls closed in Iowa at 9 p.m. With 35 percent of precincts reporting, Grassley is up by a 16 point margin.
Grassley was introduced by his grandson, Pat Grassley, who is a member of the Iowa state House of Representatives.
During his victory speech, Grassley maintained that regardless of who wins the top ticket, he will continue to work to “ensure fiscal discipline, to secure our borders,” and to “fight terrorism like a nationally security threat, not like some law enforcement problem,” he said. “We need to keep rural America thriving.”
A mere six blocks away, Judge gave her concession speech at Forte Banquet and Conference Center. She said she ran for senate because she “could no longer stand by and watch Grassley neglect the needs of Iowans,” she said.
“I was going to call Chuck Grassley and concede to him personally, but he gave his victory speech before I even had a chance,” said Judge.
Sen Joni Ersnt, R-Iowa, was on stage at the Iowa GOP election party at the Marriott hotel in downtown Des Moines when the race was called.
“My dear friend and colleague: six more years in the senate,” she said before leading the crowd in a “Grassley works” chant.
From New Hartford, Grassley, 83, served in the state legislature in 1958 until being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 and was first elected to the senate in 1980. He makes a point to visit every single county in Iowa every year since taking office in 1981, which has been coined a “Full Grassley.” Other politicians from the state and presidential hopefuls have taken on the tour in their campaigns.
Grassley was cast into a national spotlight this election cycle because he is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has refused to hold hearings for President Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Justice Merrick Garland. A vacancy became open after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of earlier this year.
This race was one of the closest during Grassley’s tenure. His opponent, Patty Judge, was the Former Lieutenant Governor under Tom Vilsack. Championing herself as, “The Judge Grassley can’t ignore,” Judge’s campaign tried to capitalize on Grassley’s involvement with preventing the SCOTUS to have a full bench and that he had changed from being an independent senator for Iowa, to being more loyal to his party than his constituents.
Judge supporter Gloria Cano, 64, said she was proud of Judge’s campaign efforts. “I think she gave him a run for his money,” she said.
Grassley’s campaign manager Bob Haus has been with the Senator for the last three campaigns, and Haus said Grassley’s work ethic has not changed. “He worked just as hard in this [campaign] as in the first one I was on,” he said.
Regarding the outcome, Haus said, “It’s really good for Senator Grassley, and I think the state of Iowa, that he’ll retain his chairmanship of the judiciary committee and his seniority will come to bear for us,”Haus said.
Daily Iowan Reporter Anna Kayser contributed to this story.