Will Jake Chapman's big swing at teachers play in a swing district?

Opening day speeches at the Iowa legislature are often filled with boring platitudes. But Senate President Jake Chapman dispensed with cliches about bipartisan work for the common good in his welcoming remarks on January 10.

Instead, the chamber’s second-ranking Republican called on colleagues to “take a stand” against what he described as a “sinister agenda” by the media and teachers, “who wish to normalize sexually deviant behavior against our children.”

Chapman’s broadside made headlines across the state and quickly inspired a new RAYGUN t-shirt: “Just another SINISTER TEACHER who’s passionate about education.”

Many conservatives have applauded Chapman for his crusade to remove books he considers “obscene” from public schools and create a felony offense for teachers and librarians who disseminate such material. But Iowa’s new political map put the Senate president in a swing district for the first time. He hinted last month that he will seek re-election there, rather than moving to a solid Republican district nearby.

Conspiracy theories that play well in some GOP circles could drive suburban moderates toward Democratic State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott, who is already running in Senate district 14.

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Koch-backed group taking sides in Iowa House GOP primaries

Americans for Prosperity — Iowa announced its first two endorsements for Republican legislative primaries on January 13. In both Iowa House districts, the candidates backed by the influential conservative lobby group will face more experienced GOP lawmakers in the June 7 primary.

Drew Klein, state director of the Koch-funded network‘s Iowa chapter, declined to comment for the record about the reasons underlying AFP — Iowa’s 2022 primary endorsements. AFP lobbies for or against dozens of bills Iowa lawmakers consider every year. The group’s priorities include tax cuts, undermining public sector unions, reducing occupational licensing requirements, and various measures to redirect public funds away from public schools.

AFP is backing Zach Dieken in the new House district 5, where State Representative Dennis Bush is seeking re-election, and first-term State Representative Steven Bradley in the new House district 66, where six-term State Representative Lee Hein is also running. The group is already publicizing its endorsements in Facebook ads.

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Faith leaders support Deidre DeJear for governor

Cynthia Sebian-Lander is Deidre DeJear’s 2022 campaign manager. Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts advocating for Democratic candidates for local, state, or federal offices.

Dear Friends,

Wishing you and yours all of the blessings during this new year. As we begin 2022, we are looking forward to a renewed hope in our political discourse and trajectory. And with that in mind, we are honored and delighted to support Deidre DeJear at the head of the ticket in 2022. She is the best moral choice for the future of Iowa.

Here’s why:

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Iowa House district 58 to be open; Todd Prichard retiring

State Representative Todd Prichard announced on Facebook January 11 that he will not seek another term in the Iowa House. The Democrat from Charles City won his first legislative race in a 2013 special election and has been re-elected four times. He served as House minority leader from November 2018 until June 2021.

Prichard was the Iowa House member with the most crossover appeal in 2020, based on results from the presidential and legislative races in all districts. His decision to retire at the end of this year opens up the new House district 58, where recent voting trends favor Republicans.

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Four thoughts about Mary Ann Hanusa's state auditor campaign

Former State Representative Mary Ann Hanusa finally gave up her Congressional ambitions and announced on January 5 she’s running for state auditor. She won’t face any competition in the Republican primary, coming out of the gate with endorsements from Governor Kim Reynolds, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Joni Ernst.

Democrat Rob Sand won the 2018 state auditor’s race by 660,169 votes to 601,320 for GOP incumbent Mary Mosiman (50.9 percent to 46.4 percent). Turnout set a modern midterm record for Iowa that year. Participation could be far lower in 2022—perhaps 1.1 million to 1.2 million voters.

Whether Hanusa emerges as a strong challenger will become more clear as her campaign unfolds, but here are some initial thoughts.

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