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2014 elections

IA-04: Democracy for America endorses Jim Mowrer

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:55:00 AM CDT

Democracy for America announced this morning that it has endorsed Jim Mowrer, Representative Steve King's Democratic challenger in Iowa's fourth Congressional district. I've posted the official statement after the jump. The progressive advocacy group Howard Dean created after his 2004 presidential campaign has 1 million members across the country, including 9,589 members in Iowa. Some of them may be more likely to volunteer for Mowrer knowing he has DFA'a backing.

The group's endorsement should also help Mowrer raise more money from inside and outside Iowa--although he's done quite well in that department already, raising more money than King the last three quarters. Recognizing the strong campaign Mowrer is building, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee already flagged IA-04 as an "emerging race" despite the uphill climb for any Democrat in this district.

Democracy for America has previously endorsed five other Democratic U.S. House candidates, including Staci Appel in Iowa's open third district.

UPDATE: I missed this last week; Mowrer informed supporters that his three-year-old son suffers from a rare degenerative neurological disease. Healing thoughts to the whole family.

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Tom Harkin endorses Ned Chiodo in Iowa Senate district 17

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 07:05:00 AM CDT

Iowa politics junkies, help me out here: Has U.S. Senator Tom Harkin ever endorsed a candidate for an Iowa legislative district in a competitive Democratic primary with no incumbent? I can't think of any prior examples, but it happened yesterday. The full text of Ned Chiodo's press release is after the jump. Money quote: "I am proud to support Ned Chiodo for State Senate," said Harkin. "I have known him for many years, and without question he has the integrity and experience to lead Iowa forward."

Chiodo certainly has a lot of political experience: five terms in the Iowa House, one term as Polk County Auditor, and many years lobbying the Iowa legislature. Harkin's endorsement is a slap at the other highly experienced candidate in the SD-17 primary: Tony Bisignano. I guess the long friendship allowed Harkin to overlook Chiodo's effort to knock Bisignano off the ballot, which could have disenfranchised tens of thousands of Iowans had the Iowa Supreme Court reached a different conclusion.

Harkin is an original co-sponsor of a U.S. Senate bill "that would reduce recidivism rates by restoring voting rights to individuals after they have served their time and have been released from incarceration." Yet he is endorsing an Iowa Senate candidate who argued that ineligible voters in Iowa include anyone convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor which can carry a prison sentence--regardless of whether the person was ever incarcerated.

I am urging my friends in Iowa Senate district 17 to support Nathan Blake, the third candidate in the Democratic primary. The Iowa Senate Democratic caucus already has plenty of members with at least decade's experience as state legislators. How about a capable new person, who supports progressive values and doesn't have Chiodo's or Bisignano's baggage?  

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Thoughts on the primary polls in IA-01, IA-02, and IA-03

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 10:30:22 AM CDT

Loras College in Dubuque released its first-ever set of polls on Iowa Congressional primaries this week. Click here for the polling memo and here (pdf) for further details, including the full questionnaires.

After the jump I've posted my thoughts on what these polls tell us about the front-runners (or lack thereof) in each primary. Unfortunately, a big methodological flaw makes it more difficult to interpret the results.

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IA-01: First-quarter fundraising news roundup

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Apr 18, 2014 at 12:18:31 PM CDT

Since the last quarterly fundraising reports came in, the Republican primary race in Iowa's open first Congressional district has settled into a predictable win for Rod Blum. The Democratic primary is still highly competitive, though, with all five candidates in a position to run a district-wide race before June 3.  
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IA-02: First-quarter fundraising news roundup

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 10:25:00 AM CDT

Three candidates qualified for the Republican primary ballot in Iowa's second Congressional district, but the latest fundraising reports suggest that Mariannette Miller-Meeks will get a third chance at beating Representative Dave Loebsack.

Follow me after the jump for details on the first-quarter reports each candidate in IA-02 filed with the Federal Election Commission.

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IA-03: First-quarter fundraising news roundup (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 17:24:28 PM CDT

Yesterday was the deadline for Congressional candidates to file quarterly reports with the Federal Election Commission. Because so many candidates are running for Congress this year in Iowa, I'm breaking up these posts by district rather than doing a statewide roundup.

After the jump I've enclosed highlights from the first-quarter fundraising and spending reports of Democratic candidate Staci Appel and the six Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in the third district. Spoiler alert: one of the GOP candidates is still carrying debt from a previous campaign.

I also added details below on what retiring ten-term Representative Tom Latham is doing with his substantial war chest.

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IA-04: Jim Mowrer out-raises Steve King for third straight quarter

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:55:09 AM CDT

If this has ever happened before in an Iowa Congressional race, I'm not aware of the precedent: Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer has raised more money than incumbent Representative Steve King for the third straight quarter in Iowa's fourth district. Not only that, during the first three months of 2014, Mowrer's fundraising eclipsed King's by even more than we saw during the third and fourth quarters of 2013.

Details from the reports both candidates filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission are after the jump.

UPDATE: The Iowa .Gif-t Shop weighs in. I really did laugh out loud.

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Divided Iowa Supreme Court rules Tony Bisignano can run in Iowa Senate district 17 (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 18:22:20 PM CDT

A three-way Democratic primary is assured in Iowa Senate district 17, as the Iowa Supreme Court announced this afternoon that it has affirmed a district court ruling on Tony Bisignano's eligibility to run for office. Rival candidate Ned Chiodo filed a lawsuit last month, saying Bisignano's recent aggravated misdemeanor conviction for second-offense OWI should be considered an "infamous crime." The Iowa Constitution disqualifies citizens convicted of "infamous crimes" from exercising the privileges of "electors."

Chief Justice Mark Cady wrote the plurality opinion, joined by Justices Daryl Hecht and Bruce Zager. Overturning Iowa Supreme Court precedents set in 1916 and 1957, the court ruled that "infamous crimes" cannot be interpreted to mean any crime punishable by a prison sentence, including aggravated misdemeanors. On the other hand, the court did not simply accept the 1994 law defining "infamous crimes" as felonies. Citing historical references including an 1839 Iowa territorial statute, the plurality argues that not all felonies are "infamous," and that the words had different meanings at the time the Iowa Constitution was adopted in the 1850s. It did not go on to define which felonies should be considered infamous crimes in the present context.

Justice Edward Mansfield wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Thomas Waterman. The concurrence agrees that Bisignano retains his rights as an elector, because aggravated misdemeanors cannot be considered "infamous crimes." However, Mansfield would have accepted the bright-line definition from the 1994 state law, equating felonies with "infamous crimes." He warned that the plurality opinion would serve as a "welcome mat" for future litigation from felons claiming that they should be entitled to vote, because their convictions were not for "infamous crimes." On balance, I agree most with Mansfield's opinion.

Justice David Wiggins dissented, arguing that the court should not have rewritten "nearly one hundred years of caselaw." He would have found Bisignano ineligible to run for office under the longstanding precedent that "infamous crime" means any crime punishable by a prison sentence. Wiggins' dissenting opinion does not accept the 1994 law which defined "infamous crimes" as felonies, because interpreting the state Constitution is a job for the Iowa Supreme Court, not the state legislature.

Justice Brent Appel recused himself from this case.

The Iowa Supreme Court did not rule on Chiodo's separate claim that Attorney General Tom Miller should have recused himself from the panel that allowed Bisignano to remain on the ballot. Chiodo argued that Miller had a conflict of interest, because one of his employees, Assistant Attorney General Nathan Blake, is also seeking the Democratic nomination in Senate district 17.

You can read the Iowa Supreme Court's three opinions in this case here (pdf). After the jump I've enclosed summaries and excerpts from each opinion. I also included a statement from Bisignano hailing the ruling and announcing several more labor union endorsements.

One thing's for sure: today's ruling won't be the last attempt by the Iowa Supreme Court to clarify the definition of "infamous crimes."

UPDATE: Added Nathan Blake's comment below. SECOND UPDATE: Added more thoughts about the implications of this case.

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Cautionary note for early Iowa voters

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 10:07:06 AM CDT

A growing proportion of Iowans have chosen to vote early during the last few election cycles. During the 2012 presidential election, 43.2 percent of Iowans who participated cast early ballots. In yesterday's Des Moines Register, Jason Noble highlighted a problem that has and will continue to nullify the votes of some of them: missing postmarks on ballots that arrive after the general election. Post offices do not always postmark envelopes without a stamp. That's not a problem when county auditors receive mailed absentee ballots before election day, but current Iowa rules instruct auditors to throw out ballots that arrive late, unless a postmark proves they were mailed on or before the day before the election.

Iowa lawmakers discussed several ideas for addressing the problem, but lack of consensus led them to drop the issue this year. After the jump I've posted an excerpt from Noble's piece.

As things stand, Iowans who plan to vote early either in the 2014 primary or general elections can do a few things to make sure their votes count:

1. Mail in your absentee ballot well before election day, to ensure that it arrives on time.

2. Hand-deliver your absentee ballot to your county auditor's office.

3. Place a stamp on your absentee ballot envelope, so that the post office will have to put a postmark on it.

4. Vote early in person, either at the county auditor's office or (for the general election) at a satellite location. I prefer this option, because I know for sure that my ballot got to the right place on time. If you take this route, I recommend reviewing a sample ballot online first, so that you have time to research ballot initiatives and candidates for more obscure offices.  

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Another look at the uncontested Iowa House districts

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 11:35:00 AM CDT

Over at the Smart Politics blog based at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Eric Ostermeier takes a look at the uncontested Iowa House districts today. He leads with this surprising fact: "Iowa Republicans failed to field candidates in a party record 32 State House districts this cycle." I recommend clicking through to read his whole post, which explores historical trends in Iowa House candidate recruitment for both parties.

Bleeding Heartland previously commented on the uncontested Iowa House races here. After the jump I've posted my thoughts on Ostermeier's analysis.

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IA-Sen, IA-Gov, Iowa caucus: Highlights from the new Suffolk poll

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 15:40:00 PM CDT

The Suffolk University Political Research Center asked 800 Iowa "likely voters" about this year's biggest races. The margin of error for the survey, conducted between April 3 and April 8, is plus or minus 3.5 percent. Suffolk's press release summarizing the highlights is here. Full results are here (pdf). Tables are here (pdf).

Representative Bruce Braley leads all Republican rivals for U.S. Senate in the first Iowa poll conducted after Braley's comments about Senator Chuck Grassley gained wide attention. Braley is still better-known than the GOP candidates, and more Iowans have a favorable than unfavorable impression of him. The bad news for Braley is that he is below 40 percent against each of the Republican candidates.

Suffolk's poll indicates that the GOP IA-Sen primary is now a two-tier race, with State Senator Joni Ernst and Mark Jacobs each commanding more than 20 percent support, and the other candidates in the single digits. That makes sense, since Ernst and Jacobs have the most establishment support and are the only Senate candidates who have been able to raise their name recognition through paid advertising. But 40 percent of respondents were undecided.

Governor Terry Branstad's still in positive territory, with 48.5 percent of respondents viewing him favorably and about 35.4 percent unfavorably. His lead over Democratic State Senator Jack Hatch is smaller in this poll than in any other Iowa survey I've seen, though: 42.4 percent to 32.1 percent.

Among respondents who said they are likely to participate in the 2016 Democratic caucuses, 63 percent favor Hillary Clinton. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was far behind with 12 percent, followed by Vice President Joe Biden with 10 percent. It's hard to say who is really in second place, since the margin of error for the Democratic caucus-goer subsample is quite large (plus or minus 8.4 percent). Nevertheless, Clinton clearly maintains a commanding lead.

I wouldn't read much into the Iowa GOP caucus results from this survey. All the potential presidential candidates (Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Sarah Palin, Marco Rubio, and Condoleezza Rice) are clumped close together, between 6 and 11 percent support. That's within the the margin of error of plus or minus 8.7 percent for that subset of the Suffolk poll.

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Monica Vernon's Latest Ad is Everything That is Wrong with Politics

by: everettbrowniv

Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 15:20:40 PM CDT

I’ve lived in Cedar Rapids since high school (I attended the same high school at the same time of Monica’s daughters). Anyone who knows Cedar Rapids is fully aware that there are parts of town that have been depressed for many years. We know the neighborhoods on the southeast side of town that have been plagued with high crime rates and poverty. The folks in these neighborhoods who are working hard jobs for low wages are in the throes of an epic and unfortunate struggle.

I recently saw an ad released by Monica Vernon’s campaign that began with the narrator claiming Monica Vernon “understands the struggle.”  From what I know about Monica, she comes from a wealthy home, was the previous owner of a successful business, is married to a well-to-do attorney, and lives a stone’s throw from the country club.

My question to Monica Vernon is simple: what exactly do you know about the struggle? I came from extraordinarily humble beginnings, where you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with a country club membership let alone a home right next to one. I’d like to know where Monica Vernon’s struggle experience originated.

Monica’s ad is everything that is wrong with politics because it is willfully dishonest and leads people to believe that she has experience with real struggles, and had to work doubly hard just to get by, and raise her daughters largely on her own. This is the sort of thing that cheapens our politics and Iowans deserve better.

In my opinion, Monica’s largest struggle will come after she loses this Primary and must decide whether or not to remain in the Democratic Party, or revert back to the Republican Party, where she undoubtedly is more comfortable. 

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Court rejects challenge to Bisignano candidacy in Iowa Senate district 17

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 17:20:00 PM CDT

Polk County District Court Judge David Christensen on April 2 rejected Ned Chiodo's appeal against a panel decision allowing Tony Bisignano to run for Iowa Senate district 17. Chiodo, Bisignano, and Nathan Blake all qualified for the Democratic primary ballot in the seat Senator Jack Hatch is vacating in order to run for governor. Chiodo challenged Bisignano's eligibility to run for office, citing a drunk driving offense that is an aggravated misdemeanor. A panel of Attorney General Tom Miller, State Auditor Mary Mosiman, and Secretary of State Matt Schultz concluded that Bisigano could run, because Iowa Code specifies felony convictions (not aggravated misdemeanors) as disqualifying citizens from voting or running for office.

Chiodo's appeal in Polk County District Court rests on two legal arguments: Miller should have recused himself from the panel deciding whether Bisignano is eligible, and Bisignano's second-offense OWI should be considered an "infamous crime" under Iowa case law. Judge Christensen concluded that Chiodo "failed to assert sufficient grounds to disqualify the Attorney General from serving on the Panel," nor was Chiodo "prejudiced by the inclusion of the Attorney General in the Panel."

After the jump I've posted the second half of Judge Christensen's ruling. Although three Iowa Supreme Court decisions indicate that crimes punishable by a prison sentence can be considered "infamous crimes," the Iowa legislature has since spelled out its clear intention to revoke the rights of electors only in cases of felonies. The judge denied Chiodo's petition for review, since he "failed to carry his burden to show that the Panel's decision was unconstitutional," and there was no evidence that decision was "based upon an erroneous interpretation of a provision of law," or illogical, arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. The judge ordered Chiodo to pay court costs.

The Iowa Supreme Court is likely to have the final say on this matter, but I find it hard to imagine they will disqualify Bisignano. Doing so would potentially disenfranchise tens of thousands of Iowans with aggravated misdemeanor convictions.

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IA-Gov: Iowa Supreme Court rejects Narcisse bid for spot on primary ballot

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 10:46:20 AM CDT

State Senator Jack Hatch will be unopposed on the Democratic primary ballot for governor. The Iowa Supreme Court issued a short opinion on March 31 affirming without comment a District Court's decision rejecting Jonathan Narcisse's claim that he submitted enough signatures to seek the Democratic nomination for governor. The Supreme Court justices agreed to hear the case on an expedited schedule because primary ballots need to be sent to the printer soon. They did not explain the reasoning behind affirming the lower court's decision. Reports last week indicated that three of the seven Iowa Supreme Court justices would hear Narcisse's appeal: David Wiggins, Daryl Hecht, and Edward Mansfield. However, the ruling released yesterday indicates that all justices concurred except for Brent Appel, who recused himself.

Speaking by telephone this morning, Narcisse confirmed that he will run a write-in campaign for the Democratic primary. He said he was "disappointed the Supreme Court affirmed the decision without reviewing the evidence." He acknowledged his campaign's oversight in not making sure the "governor" line was filled in on all the nominating petitions: "Ultimately, this happened because we messed up, but the law was not equitably applied. This was not a disqualifiable offense." He particularly objected to how the District Court considered a 2012 election law ruling from Arizona but rejected as evidence the Iowa panel ruling from the same year allowing State Senator Joe Seng to run for Congress, despite missing information on some of his nominating petitions.

Narcisse said he has "no illusions about a write-in campaign" but is compelled to keep talking about issues that need to be addressed, including the "disparity in justice," the "phony war on drugs which is really a war on the poor," and Iowa's "bipartisan alliance brutalizing poor working people." In his view, Hatch "has not fought the good fight the way he should have." Narcisse said he has not decided yet whether he would mount a second bid for governor as an independent.

After the jump I've posted a more extensive comment from the Narcisse campaign about the lower court's ruling on his ballot access.

UPDATE: Added a comment below from Alfredo Parrish, who represented Narcisse.

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IA-03: First look at Robert Cramer's campaign messaging

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 08:27:24 AM CDT

With six candidates seeking the Republican nomination in Iowa's open third Congressional district, I've decided to focus on individual campaigns rather than news roundups on the whole field at once. Robert Cramer's up first, since he is already running his introductory ad on television.

Cramer is defining himself as the business mind in the field, not a bad place to be in a GOP primary. Although he is emphasizing his connection to "conservative principles and enduring values," he is downplaying his social conservative activism. If you need any proof that Bob Vander Plaats' ship has sailed, even in Iowa Republican circles, look no further than Cramer's case to primary voters.

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Rick Santorum not ready to back Sam Clovis in IA-Sen race (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 10:00:00 AM CDT

Politics ain't beanbag. As a talk radio host with a sizable conservative audience in northwest Iowa, Sam Clovis must have been a valuable ally for former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum during the 2012 Iowa caucus campaign. Clovis has explicitly modeled his U.S. Senate campaign on Santorum's grassroots effort. But speaking to Iowa reporters yesterday, Santorum indicated that for now, he is staying out of the GOP primary for U.S. Senate.

"I have a very, very good friend who's in the race - Sam Clovis who's a terrific guy, is a good friend and someone who was a great support of mine, you know, Sam's a #1, top-flight kind of guy," Santorum says. "Right now I have sort of not gotten engaged in that race. I may."

But Santorum said he is being selective about his endorsements because, he said, "the more you do, the less effective you are."

You mean, less effective like endorsing State Representative Walt Rogers for Congress, only to see Rogers bail out of the IA-01 primary?

Santorum was in town yesterday to raise money for Secretary of State Matt Schultz's Congressional campaign in IA-03. I wasn't surprised when Santorum backed Schultz, but arguably, Clovis did a lot more to promote Santorum's presidential aspirations than Schultz with his 11th hour endorsement. For sure Clovis was more influential than Rogers during the Iowa caucus campaign.

Unfortunately for Clovis, money talks, and he hasn't raised enough of it to run an effective statewide Senate campaign. How tough to be blown off by Santorum, though. As a consolation prize, Clovis got the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum yesterday. I wonder how many rank and file Iowa Republicans remember Schlafly, a conservative icon of the 1970s and 1980s.

UPDATE: David Bossie's group Citizens United just endorsed Clovis as "the only full-spectrum conservative" in the IA-Sen race.

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NRCC picks Rod Blum in IA-01, not playing favorites in IA-02 or IA-03

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 16:03:18 PM CDT

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced its latest batch of candidates for the "Young Guns" program today. Dubuque-based business owner Rod Blum, one of three GOP candidates in Iowa's open first Congressional district, is among 50 Republicans on the bottom rung, called "on the radar." Candidates who meet certain benchmarks for fundraising and campaign organization have a chance to move up to "contender" status and perhaps eventually to "young gun" level, which entails more direct support from the NRCC.

During the 2012 primary in IA-01, the NRCC favored establishment candidate Ben Lange over Blum. At this point, Blum is the obvious favorite to win the GOP nomination, with State Representative Walt Rogers out of the race and the other contenders way behind Blum financially.

Last year, the NRCC put IA-02 on its long list of targets and indicated that it was ready to defend Tom Latham in IA-03. None of the three registered GOP candidates in IA-02 or the six registered candidates in the open IA-03 are on the NRCC's radar yet. Depending on fundraising, the winner of the IA-03 primary has a strong chance to become a "contender" or a "young gun" by this fall. The NRCC will almost surely spend money to defend that seat. I am skeptical that IA-02 will become a serious target for Republicans, though.

Any comments about Iowa's Congressional races are welcome in this thread.

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IA-Sen: Joni Ernst's first tv ad arrives at remarkably convenient time (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 11:27:40 AM CDT

In what may be merely a coincidence, two stories related to Iowa's U.S. Senate race made a big splash yesterday on national blogs and cable news networks as well as in local media.

In what may be merely a coincidence, State Senator Joni Ernst's campaign released its first television commercial on the same day the 501(c)4 group Priorities for Iowa released a video drawing national attention to a gaffe by Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley.

In what may be merely a coincidence, several prominent Ernst supporters run that 501(c)4 group, which was created a few weeks after Ernst's campaign launch.

It's common nowadays for candidates' campaigns to spend money spreading positive messages, while outside entities (political action committees, 501(c)4 advocacy organizations, or 527 groups) pay to get the best opposition research into the public sphere. But candidates are not allowed to coordinate messaging or timing with those outside groups.

I'm not saying someone from the Ernst campaign gave Priorities for Iowa a heads-up on when they were planning to release their tv ad. I'm not saying someone from Priorities for Iowa let Ernst staffers know ahead of time when they planned to drop their bomb on Braley. I'm just saying, the clip from a two-month-old speech by the Democratic candidate couldn't have been released at a better time for Ernst to capitalize on her attention-getting "castration" spot.

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IA-Sen: Braley learns painful lesson in 21st century campaigning (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 17:59:19 PM CDT

Every candidate for public office has to learn basic rules of campaigning, such as, "Every mic is a live mic." In other words, always assume you may be overheard when you stand next to a microphone, even if you think it's not turned on.

In the age of camera phones and YouTube, candidates may be speaking into a live mic even when there's no microphone to be seen. Representative Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa, learned that lesson the hard way today.  

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Panel clears Tony Bisignano to run in Iowa Senate district 17; court may have final say

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 12:11:32 PM CDT

Attorney General Tom Miller, Secretary of State Matt Schultz, and State Auditor Mary Mosiman decided unanimously that Tony Bisignano may run in the Democratic primary to represent Iowa Senate district 17 despite a recent drunk driving charge. Democratic rival Ned Chiodo had challenged Bisignano's candidacy, saying a second-offense OWI is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by a prison sentence. Therefore, "long-established case law from the Iowa Supreme Court" place this charge among the "infamous crimes" that render citizens ineligible to vote or hold office under the Iowa Constitution. You can read the full text of Chiodo's challenge here (pdf).

Attorneys representing both sides presented their case to the three-member panel on Wednesday. Tipping his hand, Miller shared concerns expressed by Bisignano's lawyer that thousands of Iowans could lose their voting rights if Chiodo's challenge were upheld. In fact, Miller estimated that 35,000 to 50,000 people could become ineligible to vote under that standard.

Today Chiodo's attorney confirmed plans to appeal in Polk County District Court. The case may eventually reach the Iowa Supreme Court, as language in the state constitution and a 1994 law are in conflict. I don't see how the matter could be resolved before the June 3 primary, let alone before the Polk County Auditor's office will have to print primary ballots.

After the jump I've posted statements from Bisignano's campaign. The winner of the Democratic primary is virtually guaranteed to succeed Jack Hatch in Iowa Senate district 17. Republicans do not even have a candidate running in this heavily Democratic area of Des Moines.

I'm disappointed that Ned Chiodo is willing to sacrifice the voting rights of thousands of people in order to advance his political career. By the same token, I would prefer not to elect a repeat drunk driver to the legislature. Whether or not Bisignano's offense meets the legal definition of an "infamous crime," his behavior posed a danger to himself and others. If I lived in Senate district 17 I would vote for new blood in the Democratic caucus: Nathan Blake. The official announcement of his candidacy is at the end of this post.

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