Living in Society

Iowa Democratic U.S. Senate Candidates

Colorado Curry Powder
Colorado Curry Powder

This week, former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge said she is considering a run in the June 7 primary to be the Democratic candidate to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. The filing period begins Monday and ends March 18.

If Judge enters the race, that would make four contenders, each of whom I know better than most politicians. Based on many conversations with all four, I plan to vote for Rob Hogg, a current state senator, author and climate advocate.

Tom Fiegen, a bankruptcy attorney, is running in the primary. Like fellow candidate Bob Krause, a former military officer and defense contractor, Fiegen challenged Roxanne Conlin in the 2010 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, placing third of three candidates with 6,357 votes. Krause was ahead of Fiegen with 8,728 votes. Both lost to Conlin, the clear leader who garnered 52,715 votes that election.

Six years later Fiegen and Krause are running again. Fiegen has become a Sanders Democrat, hitching his wagon to the revolution Bernie Sanders asserts is needed. Bob Krause is, well, Bob Krause, a man with an irresistible urge to run for office, not unlike Saul Bellow’s character Henderson the Rain King, with a personal quality “that manifests itself as an inner voice crying out I want, I want, I want.” I like them both, but as I said, will be voting for Hogg. Judge should stay out of the race unless she has something new to offer.

The discussion about a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States has generated anti-Grassley sentiment. The general election campaign should be heated. It will be almost impossible for Grassley to avoid addressing his obstruction in this because Republicans have put the Senate Judiciary Committee he chairs front and center, saying they won’t even consider an Obama nominee.

It will take more than moral outrage to defeat Chuck Grassley in the general election. Grassley has a token primary opponent who will likely be vanquished. I don’t see much outrage directed toward Grassley in society beyond social media. Without that the race is an open question. Whether Democrats can get beyond commenting on blogs and in social media to organize is unknown at this time. I am hopeful — some, tempered with realism.

Filing closes at 5 p.m. on March 18 when the primary races will be defined. Until then, there will not be a lot of action, just work — sustaining a life in a turbulent world.