- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican Charles Grassley on Tuesday won a seventh U.S. Senate term, defeating Democrat Patty Judge and extending a political winning streak that stretches to the 1950s.

Judge, a former state lieutenant governor, had been seen by national party officials as the Democrats’ best hope to dislodge Grassley. The Republican has never lost an election, with a string of victories that started with winning a legislative seat in 1958 and continued with his election to the U.S. House in 1974 and Senate in 1980.

A jubilant Grassley addressed a room of supporters shortly after being declared the winner.

“Regardless of which political party is going to control the United States Senate, regardless of who is going to be president. Regardless, I will operate in the same way I always have operated. In the best interest of all of you and three million Iowans,” he said.

If there was ever a year for Grassley to face a serious re-election challenge, this might have been it. The 83-year-old was criticized for his decision as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to not hold confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Democrats had also noted Grassley’s support for Trump in hopes of peeling away support from women and some independent voters.

Judge’s background as a state agriculture secretary and farmer may have helped her win her party’s primary in June, but polls consistently showed her trailing Grassley.

Grassley argued he was a conservative but independent voice in Washington. Robert Haus, Grassley’s campaign manager, compared Grassley to an oak tree for his ability to withstand a tough election challenge.

“Those roots are deep, that bark is thick and people like to hang out under the shade that it provides,” he said ahead of the election. “It’s just a solid tree and that’s Chuck Grassley.”

Judge, 73, also faced fundraising challenges. She raised about $2 million between the start of her campaign and mid-October. The latest records showed she had roughly $300,000 available in cash. Between the start of 2015 and mid-October, 2016, Grassley raised nearly $8 million. He had roughly $2.3 million available to spend, and has used some of that money to fill television airwaves with multiple ads.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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