Monday, April 19, 2010

Convention Challenge to Patty Judge

Convention Challenge to Patty Judge

Here's an odd one: a nomination challenge to Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge.

Barb Kalbach, current board president of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI), has announced plans to challenge Judge at this June's state Democratic convention. Team Fallon is giving her air time today:
Many rural Iowans feel Culver, Judge and the Legislature have ignored issues affecting family farms and Main Street economies, despite promises made by Democratic leaders and candidates.

Barb’s is an unusual campaign, since the focus is not an election but on winning enough delegate votes at the State Convention in June. This weekend, Barb makes her case at the district conventions. She feels if she replaces Patty Judge on the Democratic ticket, there’s a much better chance that corporate-owned factory hog confinements, campaign finance reform, vertical integration, and big-box store development -- all issues that presently stymie rural Iowa’s progress -- will be taken seriously.
Nothing like this has happened since the 1988 constitutional amendment that ended the separate elections for lieutenant governor. Five governor-year conventions of each party have come and gone, and all have rubber-stamped the candidate's choice.

Rumors floated last fall that Culver was considering dropping Judge, but the printed campaign materials all say Culver-Judge. The two campaigned together in Iowa City last month following President Obama's visit here.

It's just another serving of bad news for the governor, who already had a full plate today with campaign finance questions and another staff departure. (Silver lining: Frew's departure put's Iowa City's own Jim Larew in the top spot on the governor's office side.)

Frankly, for Democrats frustrated with Culver, it's too little too late and it targets the wrong person. Overthrowing Patty Judge would only further weaken the guy atop the ticket, but wouldn't replace him. The window of opportunity for a challenge to Chet from within the Democratic Party closed on March 19 when filing closed for the primary.

Kalbach, who lives just over the line into Adair County, could have done more good running for the Legislature rather than further beating up an already weakened Governor Culver. Both of her incumbent Republican legislators - Sen. Nancy Boettger and Rep. Clel Baudler - are running unopposed. Baudler only won 58% last time, and Boettger hasn't had an opponent since 2002. Indeed, it's not too late to put together a convention.

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