Who Should Lead the Iowa Democratic Party?

(This guest diary raises important issues. A post is in progress containing the case for each of the four candidates for Iowa Democratic Party chair. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

On Saturday the IDP will elect a new state chair.  Douglas Burns has a useful summary of the candidates' positions and experience. I have the impression from conversations with a few members and other committed Democrats that all the candidates are viewed as capable and with their hearts on the left side.

I have a question:  should the IDP chair be a declared partisan for one (as yet undeclared) presidential candidate? That is Dr. McGuire, according to The Hill

A new Democratic Party chairman also will soon be in place in the state, and a Clinton friend, Andy McGuire, is in the running for the top spot, which will be decided in a Saturday election. 

A Bloomberg Iowa poll in October found the former secretary of State received support from 76 percent of Democrats who planned to participate in the caucus, a sign to Crawford and others that Clinton is right where she wants to be.

“What she needs to do is come to Iowa and use it to get very connected at the retail level, which will be good for her in Iowa and nationally, as well,” Crawford said. “Are there some activists who want another option? Of course there are. That will always be the case. But I’m not particularly concerned.”

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Iowa's Governor tries again on his education "reform" plan

(Interesting analysis and a good read. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Iowa is one of the states where Michelle Rhee, ALEC, and a Republican Governor have joined forces in support of an agenda of education “reform” that is all about funneling public dollars to corporate welfare. Governor Terry Branstad announced Round #2 of the fight over education reform in a January 14th press conference.  Round #1 ended in a compromise bill in May 2012, which scaled back the Governor's initial proposals. With the beginning of the legislative session, the battle resumes.

More below the fold.

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Todd Prichard Has a Republican Opponent in HD 52

(Bumping some pre-holiday news about the first Iowa election of 2013 in House district 52. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Last night the GOP picked Dennis Litterer of Ionia as the Republican nominee for the January 22 special election to replace Brian Quirk, a New Hampton Democrat who resigned suddenly. Litterer is in the insurance business, grew up on a farm, and farmed on his own before taking up his current occupation.  He is reportedly a staunch conservative, and his views will begin to be examined in the next few weeks.  The Iowa Republican has more.

I am asking for help on behalf of every active Democrat in Floyd and Chickasaw Counties.  We are doing everything we can to keep this seat blue.  I am also asking on behalf of Iowa.  If we lose this seat, we are another step closer to being Wisconsin.  In the words of Mary Jo Wilhelm, who beat Merlin Bartz by a mere 120 votes, we cannot let that happen to Iowa. These two counties are part of Mary Jo's Senate District, and make up the majority of HD 52 (which also includes the three eastern precincts in Cerro Gordo).The more conservative counties to the north are not part of the House District, so there is a good chance to win.

Why should you help if you are not in HD 52?  An answer, below the fold.

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Todd Prichard is the Dem choice for HD 52 UPDATED

( - promoted by desmoinesdem)

UPDATE: Todd has an ActBlue account.  You can help put another Democrat in the Iowa House at: https://secure.actblue.com/entity/fundraiser/33307


Democrats in House District 52 held a contested convention last night to choose a candidate to replace Brian Quirk, who resigned a few weeks after winning reelection.  Two candidates came forward: retired teacher Tom Sauser of New Hampton and Todd Prichard, a lawyer from Charles City. Prichard won with 4988 allocated votes to 3790 for Sauser.

Tom Sauser deserves appreciation for being willing to step forward and run.  Running for office is no walk in the park in any season, but January in Iowa, two months after a national election, during the Christmas season, has to be the worst possible timing.

He was the first to enter the race, and was recruited by Quirk, a  conservative Democrat who was, until recently, a member of ALEC. Sauser taught middle school for 38 years, and retired in 2011.  He conceded that he was not conversant with many issues affecting the state, but committed to learn as much as he could, and listen to his constituents.  His speech, which he read from prepared remarks, was well-received. He had introduced himself to Floyd County Democrats in a meeting on Wednesday last week, a meeting that Prichard attended. It was clear from that meeting that Sauser had a steep learning curve ahead of him, but anyone in that room would have preferred him to the various far-right Republicans who are rumored to be running.The Chickasaw County delegates clearly regarded him with respect and affection.

Todd Prichard left the Wednesday meeting thinking about running himself.  He called Floyd Democrats through the weekend and made the decision on Sunday. He immediately had the support of many of the people who have been knocking doors in Floyd County throughout 2012.  He is an activist—always there when there is a candidate event or grunt work to do, and very well-liked.

By Monday evening, the word was out that the convention would not be a pro-forma event, and delegates showed up from all but one precinct in Cerro Gordo and two precincts in Chickasaw.  Because of redistricting, Chickasaw and Floyd Counties were combined for the first time in the 2012 election, and activists from each county were wearing name tags and introducing themselves to one another. With a coin flip, Prichard chose to speak second, so Sauser spoke first.  Each candidate gave gracious assurances to the other that he would support the victor.

More on the convention, and what Prichard had to say, below the fold.


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Hello Dolly! The War on Women, Iowa Edition

(Great post. Iowa Senate District 26 is one of the tossup races that will determine control of the Senate for the next two years. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Merlin Bartz is an Iowa State Senator who carries around an unusual picture of his opponent, State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm.  The photo is a life-size legless paper doll. At public events he sets his creepy companion in a chair next to him.  If Senator Wilhelm arrives at the event, she has to move it so she can sit down.
What message do you think this sends to Iowans? To women? To Senator Wilhelm?

There is more below the fold.

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Accountability is NOT The Word of the Day

(Skepticism is warranted, given the Obama administration's handling of all issues related to mortgages and foreclosures. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Not when it comes to the banksters, anyway.  While I would like to be optimistic on this topic, I think the claim of victory is premature, at best.  

Last night I heard that Huffington Post was reporting that the White House has created a new unit to investigate the financial collapse and the mortgage crisis, and Eric Schneiderman would chair it.  I got excited until I read the article, at which point hope mostly died.


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