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Chip Baltimore charged with OWI, weapon possession

State Representative Chip Baltimore was jailed this morning and charged with drunk driving and possession of a weapon, the Ames Tribune reported. Ames police pulled the Republican lawmaker over while responding to a report about a reckless driver.

Ames police Sgt. Mike Arkovich said a Smith & Wesson pistol was found in Baltimore’s vehicle as it was being impounded. While Baltimore had a permit to carry, the permit becomes void once a person’s blood alcohol exceeds 0.08 percent, Arkovich said. He said Baltimore’s blood alcohol level was 0.147 percent.

After appearing in court, Baltimore told KCCI-TV’s Tommie Clark, “Obviously, it’s not my proudest moment.” He declined to say whether he thinks he should remain chair of the House Judiciary Committee, saying, “That’s not my determination to make.”

In a written statement, Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer said, ““Drunk driving is unacceptable behavior for anyone, let alone a state legislator. We will work through this issue and deal with it quickly. We will also work with Representative Baltimore to get him the help and support that he needs at this time.”

GOP Representative Erik Helland faced few political consequences after his OWI arrest in June 2010. His colleagues elected him House majority whip later the same year.

A shocking winner in the 2010 Republican wave by just 23 votes, Baltimore was re-elected by comfortable margins to his second, third, and fourth terms. The map drawn after the 2010 census added Greene County to House district 47 and took out the corner of Dallas County including Democratic-leaning Perry (see map below). Donald Trump carried House district 47 by about 2,600 votes in 2016, 55 percent to 38 percent for Hillary Clinton. Baltimore won his race with more than 60 percent of the vote.

UPDATE: I had forgotten that Baltimore supported legislation in recent years to combat drunk driving. Added more details on that below.

Attorney Thomas Frerichs asked why Baltimore isn’t facing a Carrying Weapons charge “based upon the invalidation of his carry permit.” Section 8 of last year’s omnibus gun law changed Iowa Code language on possession of firearms while under the influence. Whereas the old language said a gun permit was “invalid” if the person was intoxicated, the new language says an intoxicated person with a gun permit commits a serious misdemeanor if he or she carries the dangerous weapon “on or about the person” or “within the person’s immediate access or reach while in a vehicle.”

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Republican Ginny Caligiuri likely running for Congress in IA-02

Dr. Christopher Peters may soon have a Republican primary rival in Iowa’s second Congressional district. Multiple sources tell Bleeding Heartland that Ginny Caligiuri has been laying the groundwork to seek the GOP nomination and plans to have petitions out for activists to sign at the Republican Party of Iowa’s precinct caucuses on February 5. At this writing, the Federal Election Commission’s website has not published any statement of organization for a Caligiuri campaign. The would-be candidate has not replied to requests for comment.

Caligiuri is well-known in Iowa Christian conservative circles, having served as state director for the United States National Prayer Council, the Iowa Prayer Caucus, and National Governors’ Prayer Team. She’s on the committee planning this year’s Iowa Prayer Breakfast in March.

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"Everybody in, nobody left out": Cathy Glasson spotlights universal health care

Declaring that health care is a “fundamental human right,” and “Iowa should lead the way,” Cathy Glasson is taking her message to Iowa television viewers, beginning January 18. Single-payer health care reform has been a central theme of Glasson’s stump speeches since she began exploring a gubernatorial campaign. Her stance on that issue was a key factor in attracting endorsements from some progressive organizations and many activists who caucused for Bernie Sanders in 2016. It even helped Glasson win over television and movie actor Piper Perabo (hat tip to Christian Ucles). As Gavin Aronsen observed in this Iowa Informer profile, “lefty media outlets” with a national audience “have taken notice of Glasson’s grassroots campaign” too, in part because of her vocal support for Medicare for All.

I enclose below the video and transcript of “Heart,” which will air in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets, according to a campaign news release. The spot is a good way for Glasson to distinguish herself from the rest of the field. Among her six rivals for the nomination, only Jon Neiderbach is also on record supporting single-payer health care. Neiderbach is unlikely to have the funds for substantial television advertising before the primary, though. I am seeking further details on how Glasson envisions creating a state-level universal health care system to replace private insurance and will update this post as needed.

Glasson is the third Democratic gubernatorial candidate to run tv ads this year, after Fred Hubbell and Nate Boulton. Two factors are driving the unusually early start for paid advertising. The upcoming Iowa precinct caucuses will be the first step in a convention process that may select the Democratic nominee, if no candidate receives at least 35 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary. In a departure from usual practice during non-presidential years, many Democratic caucuses will divide into preference groups based on the governor’s race on February 5. Field organizers and volunteers for the various contenders are working hard to turn their people out, because supporters of viable candidates will be able to elect county convention delegates.

Glasson can afford to pay for television commercials now without depleting her resources. Entities affiliated with the Service Employees International Union have contributed at least $1.8 million to her campaign so far, Iowa Starting Line reported on January 16.

UPDATE: Our Revolution, the national group that grew out of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, endorsed Glasson on January 18. In a statement, executive director Shannon Jackson said, “We are proud to support a progressive candidate like Cathy who has such strong ties to the labor community. From her work with the SEIU, to her activism on issues like raising the minimum wage and providing universal health care, Cathy has set herself apart from the competition. Having lived in Iowa her entire life, Cathy knows the needs of the working-class people of all backgrounds. Cathy is a proven leader who will work to ensure all Iowans have access to a good paying job, affordable housing, and quality health care.”

The Iowa CCI Action Fund, which endorsed Glasson in September, announced on January 18 that it will spend $40,000 to support her campaign over the next five months. “The funds will go towards statewide communications as well as grassroots field organizing in seven key counties: Story, Boone, Hardin, Sac, Guthrie, Adair, and Poweshiek.” The SEIU political action committee donated $30,000 to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement in October, funds that will support Iowa CCI’s state PAC. I sought comment from CCI on the funding and endorsement process; scroll to the end of this post for the group’s reply.

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Good news, bad news from Iowa House district 6

Republican Jacob Bossman won today’s special election in Iowa House district 6 by 2,152 votes to 1,712 for Rita DeJong (55 percent to 44 percent), according to unofficial results. The results are disappointing, since Democratic candidate Todd Wendt carried this half of Iowa Senate district 3 just five weeks ago, and a small army of volunteers put in untold hours on GOTV for DeJong.

It’s not all bad news, though.

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Fred Hubbell, Nate Boulton up on tv ahead of Iowa caucuses

For the first time in Iowa history, multiple gubernatorial candidates are airing television commercials four and a half months before the primary. Fred Hubbell’s campaign launched its fourth statewide tv ad last week, while the first spot for Democratic rival Nate Boulton hits the screens today in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets. UPDATE: Cathy Glasson has placed a television ad buy too. Iowa Starting Line reported today that committees affiliated with the Service Employees International Union have donated $1,819,931 to Glasson’s campaign already.

The new Hubbell ad references the themes of his campaign’s first three spots: support for Planned Parenthood, mental health funding, and better economic development practices. (Bleeding Heartland published those videos here, here, and here.) Boulton’s commercial highlights his role leading the opposition to Republican efforts to strip away collective bargaining rights during last year’s legislative session. Scroll down for details on both ads.

Hubbell has been on the air for months, having raised well over $1 million since last summer. Boulton’s campaign war chest is likely to be substantially smaller–we’ll know for sure when all the 2017 finance reports are published later this week. While candidates normally conserve their cash to use on television and radio spots closer to the primary, Boulton has good reason to spend some money now.

The Iowa Democratic precinct caucuses are coming up on Monday, February 5. Caucus-goers will elect county convention delegates, who in turn will select district and state delegates at county conventions on March 24. With seven Democrats running for governor, state convention delegates may end up selecting the nominee on June 16, if no candidate receives at least 35 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary.

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