A newly announced challenger to Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate A guide to the committees: Senate Republicans at risk in 2018 steering clear of town halls MORE huddled with Senate Democrats Tuesday as they hammer the Iowa Republican over the Supreme Court.
Patty Judge, a former Iowa lieutenant governor and secretary of Agriculture, met with Democrats during their weekly closed-door policy lunch.
The meeting with Judge comes as Senate Democrats slam Grassley and other Senate Republicans on a daily basis since their announcement that they wouldn't give President Obama's forthcoming Supreme Court nominee a hearing or vote.
Asked about the lunch, Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidHopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief MORE (D-Nev.) told reporters Judge did a "good job," and he reported that she said "a number of things" that impressed him.
"The thing she said that was really very, very powerful, is that she's one judge that Sen. Grassley can't ignore," he added.
Her meeting with Senate Democrats comes days after she announced she would vie to be Grassley's Democratic challenger in November, citing frustration with the GOP Supreme Court strategy.
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerEllison holds edge in DNC race Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump defends Flynn, blasts leaks | Yahoo fears further breach Overnight Finance: Trump's Labor pick withdraws | Ryan tries to save tax plan | Trump pushes tax reform with retailers MORE (D-N.Y.), expected to be the next Democratic leader, added that Judge "is a candidate who I think — who shows that the people of Iowa are not happy with their senator's stand, and that's true throughout America."
Democrats are betting that Republicans will face political repercussions as they defend 24 seats this November over their quick decision to block the president's pick.
Two-thirds of Americans believe Republicans in the Senate should give the nominee a hearing, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released late last week, including 67 percent of Republican voters.
Republicans, however, quickly pounced on the meeting. The National Republican Senatorial Committee said Judge was on her way to meet with a group of "core supporters" and is getting "her marching orders from party insiders."
Despite the timing of Judge's meeting with Democrats, Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinA guide to the committees: Senate McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order MORE (D-Ill.) suggested that many Senate hopefuls attend the weekly policy lunches.
"Virtually every one of them stops by. We've had Maggie Hassan come by. We've had candidates, state after state have come by," he said. "They all come by. ... This is not unusual."
Durbin declined to say if he would travel to Iowa to campaign against Grassley.