03/03/2016 18:25 EST | Updated 03/04/2017 00:12 EST

Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge wants to challenge Grassley

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge plans to seek the Democratic nomination to run against U.S. Senator Charles Grassley.

Democrats in Iowa and Washington with knowledge of her plans but not authorized to discuss them say she'll announce as early as Friday.

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Grassley refuses to hold Supreme Court nominee hearings, a position Democrats believe weakens him politically.

Judge, Iowa's first woman agriculture secretary, served four years as former Gov. Chet Culver's lieutenant governor. They were defeated in 2010 after one term. She didn't respond to messages Thursday.

The 82-year-old Grassley hasn't lost a general election since winning an Iowa legislative seat in 1958. He's served in Congress since 1974 and in the Senate since 1980.


David Pitt, The Associated Press