Rob Hogg predicts growing issues Supreme Court

State Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013.

Alex Hanson

U.S. Senate candidate Rob Hogg predicts the fight over the Supreme Court nominee will only get bigger throughout the campaign season if Chuck Grassley continues to hold up the process.

Hogg, a Democratic state senator from Cedar Rapids, said his campaign will focus around making Congress work, and Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chairman, not holding hearings is a prime example of inaction.

“I certainly hope Sen. Grassley does his job, provides a hearing and we have a vote,” Hogg told the Iowa State Daily on Tuesday. “I continue to hope they have the hearing, and if they don’t, yes, this will be an issue that not only continues, but I think this issue grows.”

Grassley has the power to call the hearings needed to move the nomination process along, but he stuck firm with fellow Republicans in the Senate who have said that a hearing should be delayed until the next president takes office. Republicans cite the need to give the American people “a voice” in the process because some states have already voted in presidential primaries.

Grassley did agree to meet with Garland, a move more than a dozen other Republican senators have also agreed to do, but in the meeting over breakfast, Grassley said he will make it clear why the Senate will not hold a hearing.

“With every day that’s passing, here’s the question people should be asking: ‘So, Sen. Grassley, you’re not having a hearing on Judge [Merrick] Garland, what exactly is it you are doing in Washington?'” Hogg said. “I think he has trouble answering that.”

Hogg, who was visiting Iowa State for a campaign event Tuesday, also praised Garland for his record already, specifically citing his role in convicting the Oklahoma City bombing suspect.

“I think they would be hard-pressed to vote this nominee down,” Hogg said. “In addition to have been confirmed by a Republican Senate in 1997, in my view, he’s an American hero because he was the prosecutor in Oklahoma City. I continue to hope they actually have the hearing.”

Hogg better positioned to win against other Democrats 

Along with Hogg, former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge and two former state legislators, Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause, are hoping to clinch the Democratic nomination to take on Grassley in November.

Judge has received the most attention, mainly because of her statewide recognition and sudden entrance in the race. She also visited Washington, D.C., days after announcing her candidacy to meet with national Democrats.

While Judge has picked up the support of some former statewide office holders, Hogg has support of most Democrats in the statehouse. 

“I admire Lt. Gov. Judge. I voted for her four times, but the reality is the last time she was on the ballot, she lost by over 100,000 votes and there was a lack of enthusiasm in that race,” Hogg said. “In my judgement, I would be a better candidate in the general election because of that.”

Hogg said he is not worried about what people nationally think. He’s instead planning on building a grassroots campaign that meets with as many Iowans as possible.

Iowa’s primary election for the U.S. Senate seat is set for June 7.