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Congress

Obama executive order bans federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:40:00 AM CDT

President Barack Obama signed an executive order today that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Labor Secretary Tom Perez explained,

My colleagues in the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs have enforced the government's nondiscrimination laws for federal contractors for years. Their work ensures that contractors and subcontractors doing business with the government don't use taxpayer money to discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. With this executive order, it will also include America's LGBT workers.

We still need to go further. Passage of federal legislation to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity would mean that all workers across the country would enjoy these protections. But with Congress failing to lead on this issue, the president is taking the initiative as part of this Year of Action.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed the U.S. Senate last fall with bipartisan support but is going nowhere in the Republican-controlled U.S. House.

Justin Sink noted in his report for The Hill that the president still wants Congress to pass that bill, although "some gay and civil rights groups have abandoned ENDA over concerns stemming from the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision." After the jump I've posted more background on that aspect of today's news. While the Hobby Lobby ruling ostensibly was limited to a religious exemption from the contraception mandate in the 2010 health care reform law, it's likely to have more far-reaching effects.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. I'll update this post if needed with Iowa political reaction.

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Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup, with a few surprises

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 13:24:37 PM CDT

With all four U.S. House districts in Iowa targeted by one or both parties this year, and competitive primaries happening in three of the four races, I was eager to see where the nominees stood at the end of the second quarter.

Highlights from the Federal Election Commission filings are after the jump. After lackluster fundraising the last three quarters, six-term Representative Steve King finally managed to out-raise his Democratic challenger Jim Mowrer, but to my surprise, Mowrer retained a big advantage over King in cash on hand as of June 30.  

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IA-03: Zaun's out but two "Liberty" candidates are in

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 07:39:09 AM CDT

Catching up on news from last week, State Senator Brad Zaun confirmed on the July 10 edition of Simon Conway's radio show that he will not leave the Republican Party or run for Congress as an independent in Iowa's third district. I had a feeling Zaun was just seeking attention or fishing for compliments with his July 4 Facebook post about friends "encouraging me to switch to an Independent." He told Conway, "I basically just put out a provocative post [...] I didn't commit myself one way or the other and of course it exploded."

Zaun's third term in the Iowa Senate expires in 2016. He has reportedly been telling people he does not plan to seek re-election to the state legislature again. Zaun left his party's Iowa Senate leadership team shortly after Republicans failed to regain a majority in the 2012 election.

Meanwhile, at least two conservative third-party candidates are running in IA-03 this year. Ed Wright received the Libertarian Party of Iowa's nomination in June. His campaign is on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

Council Bluffs native Bryan Jack Holder officially announced his campaign in March as a Republican, but he did not qualify for the GOP primary ballot. Last month he confirmed on Conway's radio show that he will file to run for Congress as an independent.

After the jump I've posted some background information on Wright and Holder from their respective campaign websites. Neither candidate will raise enough money to reach voters district-wide through traditional campaign methods. However, these advocates for restoring freedom and the Constitution could influence the outcome if the race between Democrat Staci Appel and Republican David Young is close. In 2010, two little-known conservative candidates in Iowa's first district gained more votes combined than Representative Bruce Braley's winning margin against Republican Ben Lange.

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IA-03 news roundup: NRCC more interested, Appel releases first ad against Young

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:24:46 AM CDT

As expected, Iowa's third Congressional district campaign between former State Senator Staci Appel and Senator Chuck Grassley's former chief of staff David Young is shaping up to be the most competitive and most expensive of Iowa's four U.S. House races. Within days of Young's surprise victory at a GOP special nominating convention, the Appel campaign released its first paid advertisement highlighting Young's long career as a Congressional staffer and support for cutting Social Security and Medicare. Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee added Young to its list of "contenders" and is now paying for robocalls attacking Appel.

Follow me after the jump for details on the latest IA-03 campaign developments.

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Bleeding Heartland 2014 primary election prediction contest results

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 20:07:14 PM CDT

Now that Republicans have selected a nominee in the third Congressional district, it's time to examine results from Bleeding Heartland's primary election prediction contest. You can view all the entries in this comment thread.  
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IA-01, IA-02: NRCC makes Blum, Miller-Meeks "contenders"

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

The National Republican Congressional Committee has elevated the GOP nominees in Iowa's first and second Congressional districts to the second level of their "Young Guns" program supporting challengers. Rod Blum will face former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy in the open IA-01. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will face four-term Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack for the third time in IA-02. As official NRCC "contenders," Blum and Miller-Meeks now have a chance to move up to the top level ("young guns") if they meet certain targets for fundraising and campaign organization.

Only some of the "young guns" will receive major financial assistance from the NRCC. So far, the group has reserved tv time for independent expenditures in seventeen Democratic-held U.S. House districts, none in Iowa. During the last election cycle, the NRCC paid for a small amount of advertising against Loebsack and against Representative Bruce Braley in IA-01 but never made a big commitment to either race.

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Steve King still worried about immigration reform

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:40:00 AM CDT

I viewed U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's shocking primary loss as a sign that Representative Steve King (IA-04) could stop worrying about comprehensive immigration reform happening during this Congress. I figured, Republican leaders would not dare to move forward with a policy so unpopular with the GOP base. But since when has King ever listened to me? Speaking to Radio Iowa on June 14, he sounded very worried that an immigration reform bill could move "in September or October and then, of course, in a lame duck session it gets to be a very high risk."

King's concern is valid, because House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy quickly consolidated support to replace Cantor as majority leader. McCarthy is on record backing immigration reform principles that King views as "amnesty." Jeb Hensarling of Texas, an immigration reform opponent like King, took himself out of the running for majority leader quickly. Pete Sessions, also of Texas, abandoned his effort in less than a day.

I still doubt House leaders will bring up the immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support in the summer of 2013. But if King is right that House Speaker John Boehner plans to give up that job soon, who knows? He may allow immigration reform to reach President Barack Obama's desk as a a favor to business groups that support the policy and a parting shot to conservative critics. Boehner famously did not appreciate King's headline-making comments about undocumented immigrants last year. The Senate bill would pass easily with a few dozen House Republicans joining most of the Democratic caucus.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

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IA-03: David Young gets talking point to take to convention

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:55:00 AM CDT

With only a few days left before special convention delegates choose a Republican nominee in Iowa's third Congressional district, David Young got a boost from a "poll" by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts. The blog set up a closed, online survey last week and circulated the link to delegates via e-mail.

There's no way to know whether the 118 people who filled out the survey are representative of some 500 district convention delegates or alternates who will gather in Urbandale on June 21. If they are, it's good news for Young, who finished fifth in the June 3 voting. Asked which candidate they support, 27 percent of delegates named Young, equal to the percentage backing State Senator Brad Zaun, who won a plurality of votes in the primary. Some 19 percent of delegates who responded named Robert Cramer, 14 percent Monte Shaw (widely seen as Governor Terry Branstad's favored candidate), and just 8 percent named Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz. The results were even better for Young on the "second choice" question: 34 percent of respondents named him, way ahead of 17 percent for Zaun, 14 percent for Schultz and Cramer, and 10 percent for Shaw.

Young's campaign was quick to spread the news in an e-mail blast I've enclosed below.

I had assumed Shaw held the advantage in a convention scenario, as he has longstanding ties with GOP activists, and to my mind, would be seen as a less-offensive alternative to some other candidates in the race. But if this survey is representative, Young has a chance of filling that "least offensive" niche. Maybe conservatives working together to block Shaw are succeeding in creating a bit of a backlash against the leading establishment candidate.

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Steve King can stop worrying about immigration reform (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 20:50:00 PM CDT

Representative Steve King (R, IA-04) has long been one of the leading voices in Congress against any immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He even lost out on a subcommittee chairmanship because of his perceived hostility to immigrants, especially those who came to this country illegally. In early 2013, many pundits predicted King and his allies would not be able to stop a bill like the one that passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support, because of the Republican Party's urgent need to improve its standing with Latino voters. But the anti-reform Republicans won promises from House leaders not to bring the Senate bill up for a vote on the House floor. (It would surely have passed with a few dozen Republicans joining most of the Democratic caucus.)

Every few months, pro-reform forces mount a new push to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and King mobilizes opposition. I think he can rest easy now that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor just lost his Republican primary to a little-known tea party challenger in Virginia's seventh Congressional district. While immigration wasn't the only issue brought up during the campaign, it was a salient issue in the primary.

[Challenger David] Brat ran hard against immigration reform, and the issue dominated conservative talk radio in recent days as the Obama administration's request of funds to cope with an influx of recently detained young illegal immigrants from Central America.

Cantor sought to neutralize the issue, running hard negative television attacking Brat as a "liberal professor" and sending direct mail pieces saying he fought President Obama on "amnesty."

Regardless of what Cantor said in campaign mailers, beltway insiders considered him a pro-immigration reform Republican.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

P.S. - During my childhood, there were several Jewish Republicans in Congress. Cantor was the last remaining after Senator Arlen Specter switched parties in 2009. Don't hold your breath waiting for another one to be elected.

UPDATE: King commented on Twitter, "Earthshaking primary results in Virginia tonight. Resounding rejection of #Amnesty and support for Rule of Law. Personal regrets to Eric."

SECOND UPDATE: King posted on June 11, "Wanted: Applicants for Majority Leader in US House who have a record opposing amnesty. Come see me."

THIRD UPDATE: Senator Tom Harkin believes Cantor was defeated because he "lost touch with his district." He pointed out that Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina survived his GOP primary this week, despite openly supporting immigration reform. But Graham had six opponents splintering the protest votes, not one challenger making a coherent case against him.

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Four comments and a question about the IA-01 Democratic primary results

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 12:33:17 PM CDT

Past time for a post-mortem on the five-way Democratic primary in the open first Congressional district. Here are the unofficial results from June 3:

IA-01 Democratic primary results photo Screenshot2014-06-10at95141AM_zps4ce44fc8.png

A few thoughts struck me as I reflected on this campaign and looked more closely at the results.  

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IA-Sen: A little outside help for Sam Clovis

by: desmoinesdem

Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:40:00 AM CDT

Sam Clovis has been campaigning hard around the state since last summer, but contrary to what he'd hoped and planned for, he appears not to be able to run any of his own radio or television commercials before next Tuesday's primary for U.S. Senate. Clovis' total fundraising through the end of March was less than $300,000, and a strong statewide paid media campaign would cost at least that much. The Citizens United Political Victory Fund, which previously endorsed Clovis and gave his campaign $5,000, is stepping in with a small television buy on his behalf. $53,000 won't buy many points, but it's better than nothing. The commercial features 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses winner Rick Santorum. He endorsed Clovis earlier this month. As a talk radio host in northwest Iowa, Clovis among Santorum's more influential supporters before the caucuses. After the jump I've posted the video and transcript of the Citizens United ad.

I've also enclosed below the video of Clovis' recent meeting with the Des Moines Register editorial board. Listening to him speak on a wide range of topics, I so wished he'd be able to raise the funds to get his name and views out there. He should have been a phenomenally appealing candidate to the Republican base. He speaks with more authority than the others in the Senate field. I think Bob Vander Plaats hurt Clovis badly by spending so long dropping hints about his own possible Senate candidacy. If he'd ruled out running last summer, rather than stretching out his decision to promote a book project, Clovis would have had a better shot.

Maybe Clovis will do surprisingly well on a shoestring budget, as Ed Fallon did in the 2006 Democratic primary for governor. But I doubt Clovis will manage to keep State Senator Joni Ernst below the 35 percent threshold for winning the nomination outright on June 3. I have been wondering whether he might get some fringe benefit from Mitt Romney's Iowa visit on behalf of Ernst, though. That will generate a lot of media coverage, and Romney isn't popular in some conservative Republican circles.

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Labor union endorsements in contested 2014 Iowa Democratic primaries

by: desmoinesdem

Wed May 21, 2014 at 12:17:37 PM CDT

With less than two weeks remaining before June 3, interest groups with a preference in competitive primaries have presumably made their views known by now. On the Democratic side, labor unions are most likely to get involved in primaries, so I wanted to compile in one place the full list of candidates in competitive Democratic races who have been endorsed by one or more organized labor group. None of the Democrats seeking statewide office in Iowa this year has a primary opponent, and I've omitted county-level races. The list below includes candidates running for Congress in the first district and seeking various Iowa House and Senate seats.

I will update this post as needed if I learn of other labor union endorsements. Note that many other Democratic candidates already have or will have organized labor's official support for the general election campaign. Blog for Iowa posted all of the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO's endorsements for 2014 here. A complete list of candidates who will appear on primary ballots is on this page of the Iowa Secretary of State's website.

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IA-Sen: Rick Santorum finally endorses Sam Clovis

by: desmoinesdem

Fri May 16, 2014 at 10:23:54 AM CDT

Sam Clovis is arguably having the best week of his U.S. Senate campaign. Former Senator Rick Santorum, who narrowly won the 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses, finally got behind Clovis on Wednesday. I've posted the official announcement after the jump. Earlier this week, Clovis got the public backing of two other popular figures among Iowa social conservatives: talk radio host Steve Deace and former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats. All of the above have way more stature among Iowa Republicans than the fringe figures who had previously endorsed Clovis, such as Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas.

I was surprised Santorum didn't take this step sooner. As a talk radio host in northwest Iowa, Clovis was a big supporter of Santorum's last presidential campaign, and he modeled his Senate bid on the same grassroots approach. Last fall, Clovis hired Chuck Laudner, a veteran of the 2012 Santorum effort in Iowa, to manage his Senate campaign.

I have no idea whether Santorum can help turn things around for Clovis, who can't afford anything like the paid media supporting State Senator Joni Ernst, let alone self-funder Mark Jacobs. But even if Clovis fails to win the GOP primary, backing him may boost Santorum's reputation in Iowa among Republicans looking for an uncompromising conservative. His previous endorsements in this year's Congressional races were a bit of a bust. State Representative Walt Rogers didn't even make it to the starting line as a candidate in IA-01, and Secretary of State Matt Schultz has had to contend with embarrassing news about his management as he fights for the GOP nomination in IA-03.

Two other past GOP presidential candidates have endorsed Republicans running for Iowa's open U.S Senate seat. Texas Governor Rick Perry is backing Matt Whitaker, while 2012 nominee Mitt Romney is backing Ernst, as is Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a possible presidential contender in 2016 or 2020.

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IA-03: New Matt Schultz tv ad focuses on Obamacare

by: desmoinesdem

Thu May 15, 2014 at 07:15:00 AM CDT

Matt Schultz's Congressional campaign released its second television commercial yesterday. Unlike the first Schultz ad, which highlighted the candidate's record as Iowa Secretary of State, the new 30-second spot focuses on repealing Obamacare, a "disaster" for the country. After the jump I've posted the video and transcript of "Repeal It."

Incidentally, the 2010 health care reform law is not "government-run health care." That would more accurately describe a Canadian-style single-payer system (which would work much better).

Schultz claims in the ad that Obamacare will cost the country "almost 2 trillion dollars," but the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation indicate that the Affordable Care Act will cost the federal government less than previously thought. The law's insurance coverage provisions are now expected to cost about $1.38 trillion over the next ten years. Considering all features of the health care reform law, CBO and JCT expect "that the ACA's overall effect would be to reduce federal deficits."

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IA-Sen: Sam Clovis lands Steve Deace, Bob Vander Plaats endorsements

by: desmoinesdem

Tue May 13, 2014 at 12:40:03 PM CDT

Talk radio host Steve Deace, an Iowa social conservative icon, announced his support for Sam Clovis yesterday in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Deace asserted that Clovis is "most prepared to actually govern" and pointed out that he "was the only candidate who publicly did everything he could to assist Iowa's historic judicial retention election of 2010, which in our opinion is the most important election we've ever been a part of." Furthermore, Deace noted that "those working and volunteering for Sam Clovis' campaign are some of the most devoted patriots and principled conservatives we know in Iowa politics."

I'm only surprised it took him so long to make up his mind. Deace considered Clovis, State Senator Joni Ernst, and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker. You can read how each of those candidates responded to the radio host's questions here, here, and here. Clovis sent the most detailed reply by far. Ernst was the only candidate who did not reply directly, but had her campaign consultant David Polyansky respond on her behalf. In a not very subtle swipe at Ernst, Deace urged conservatives not to let "the media" pick the Republican nominee and praised Clovis for being "willing to have a serious and substantive discussion about the future of the country," in contrast to those who "just regurgitate talking points or get by on focus grouped catch phrases."

Meanwhile, three-time Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats endorsed Clovis this morning. I've posted the campaign's press release after the jump. Vander Plaats told the Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs that Clovis has the courage of his convictions and is "most prepared to make a difference" in the U.S. Senate. It's the very least Vander Plaats can do after his long flirtation with a Senate campaign kneecapped Clovis for many months. Who knows how many donors and volunteers stayed on the sidelines while Vander Plaats kept dropping hints that he might run for Senate, in what appears to have been a marketing strategy for his latest book. Clovis worked hard to support the campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices in 2010, and in return Vander Plaats gave him a gesture that's likely too little and too late.

A number of right-wing groups have previously endorsed Clovis, including Citizens United, Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, Tea Party Patriots, and the Gun Owners of America. But his campaign's fundraising has been weak, and the latest FEC filing showed only $54,845 cash on hand as of March 31. In three weeks we'll find out whether conservative activist energy can deliver for Clovis, in the absence of statewide direct mail and paid media.

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IA-03: A brilliant pander by Brad Zaun

by: desmoinesdem

Fri May 09, 2014 at 09:30:00 AM CDT

I don't see State Senator Brad Zaun winning the GOP nomination in Iowa's third Congressional district. From the numbers I've seen, Republican donors and voters are looking elsewhere. But give credit where credit is due: Zaun made the most of his interview with Des Moines Register editors this week. GOP activists will eat up news that Zaun "sometimes carries a 9 mm handgun while working in the Senate chamber" or appearing at public events. Never mind that the rules are clear, and legislators are not exempt from the ban on carrying firearms or other dangerous weapons in the capitol complex. The GOP base will love Zaun's explanation of why the rules shouldn't apply to him: "I went through all the lawful procedures that were required of me [to carry a concealed weapon]. I am going to defend myself if someone attacks me, and I have a right to do that."

Click here for other highlights from Zaun's sit-down with Register staff. Explaining why he is "smarter and wiser" than during his 2010 Congressional bid, Zaun explained that he now supports government subsidies for the biofuels industry. I took issue with this whining, though:

On another note, Zaun said he doesn't think it's fair for news organizations to keep bringing up a 2001 West Des Moines police report that surfaced during the 2010 campaign. The police report detailed his conflict with a former girlfriend at a time when he was divorced. No charges were filed. Zaun has since remarried.

Zaun pointed out that the woman provided a statement to The Des Moines Register just days before the 2010 election in which she said she remained friends with Zaun and she planned to vote for him. "It is something that we have just both moved on from, and I think it is unfortunate that this keeps getting brought up," he said.

No, what's unfair is that the mayor of Urbandale was able to keep this incident covered up for so long, including during his first campaign for the Iowa Senate in 2004. When a person's harassment of someone else becomes intense enough for police to be involved, that's a red flag voters should know about. I'm glad Zaun and his onetime girlfriend have reconciled, but that "unfortunate" part of his record was newsworthy and should have been public knowledge way before he ran for Congress in 2010.

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IA-03: Stick a fork in Matt Schultz--he's done

by: desmoinesdem

Tue May 06, 2014 at 08:10:00 AM CDT

Be careful what you brag about in politics. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz highlighted alleged cost savings to the state in his Congressional campaign's first television commercial. As journalists looked more closely at staff reorganization in the Secretary of State's Office, they discovered details that will likely derail Schultz's aspirations in IA-03.

Ryan Foley of the Associated Press was the first to report that Schultz kept his political appointee Jim Gibbons on the payroll for seven months after deciding to eliminate Gibbons' position. It's not clear what work, if any, Gibbons was doing during his final months as a state employee.

Yesterday Foley reported for the Associated Press and Jason Clayworth reported for the Des Moines Register on more political appointees whom Schultz allowed to work from home after requesting their resignations in 2011 and 2012. I've posted excerpts from both stories after the jump, but you should click through to read them in full. In a statement to the Des Moines Register, Schultz defended his actions:

"What the liberals in the media are ignoring as they level their attacks against me, is that the Department of Administrative Services, the state's personnel experts, advised my office that instead of severance an agency could keep an employee on payroll longer than they are required to come to the office, so long as the employee was available for phone calls and questions from home. [...] If the media had real integrity they would be thanking me for protecting Iowa's election integrity and finding ways to save Iowa taxpayers more than $200,000."

I doubt that excuse will fly in a GOP primary where voters have several other credible candidates to choose from. Schultz has some powerful backers and donors, but so do a few rivals with less baggage. Even if Schultz surprises me by winning the Republican nomination in IA-03, the latest revelations provide plenty of ammunition for Staci Appel in the general election--not that we needed more proof that Schultz has been ineffective in his current position. He pursued the wrong priorities and spent federal funds on his own crusade rather than how they were intended to be used.  

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IA-Sen: Matt Whitaker catch-up thread, with first tv ad

by: desmoinesdem

Mon May 05, 2014 at 11:57:21 AM CDT

Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker was the first Republican to jump into the race for Tom Harkin's Senate seat last year and has been campaigning around the state for nearly a year. However, he launched his campaign's first television commercial just last week, a little more than a month before the June 3 primary. (I'm not counting a tv ad for Whitaker's law firm, which ran in heavy rotation during the Winter Olympics, although I suspect that spot was designed to raise Whitaker's profile.)

After the jump I've posted the video and script for Whitaker's campaign ad, along with highlights from the candidate's first-quarter financial report and his most prominent endorsement so far, from Texas Governor Rick Perry. A separate Bleeding Heartland post will focus on several recent Senate candidate debates. I'm not sure whether Whitaker's forceful debating style will strike Republican voters as strong and principled or overly aggressive.

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Things we don't need: Constitution lessons from Robert Cramer

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 12:03:00 PM CDT

As the six Republican candidates in Iowa's third Congressional district made their pitches to the GOP district convention on Saturday, the central Iowa twitterverse focused on this memorable line from Robert Cramer's stump speech: "Liberals want to give out condoms; I want to give out Constitutions." It's part of Cramer's larger ambition to make IA-03 "the most constitutionally literate district in the nation."

Fact is, Cramer is just about the last person I would want giving out constitution tutorials. We're talking about a guy who gave $30,000 to Bob Vander Plaats' 2010 gubernatorial bid. Vander Plaats famously opposed the Iowa Supreme Court's 2009 ruling invalidating part of the state's Defense of Marriage Act. Over time, the wisdom of that ruling has become increasingly accepted. More and more state courts and federal judges, including a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, have rejected same-sex marriage bans on equal protection grounds.

But even if you didn't agree with the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling, it takes a person truly ignorant about our Constitution to get on board with Vander Plaats' campaign agenda. He promised that if elected, he would "immediately issue an executive order putting same sex marriages on hold until the Legislature and, ultimately the voters, pass judgment on it." That's not how the system works. A governor doesn't get to nullify an Iowa Supreme Court decision. He doesn't get to force the state legislature to approve a constitutional amendment of his choice either.

After losing the 2010 gubernatorial primary, Vander Plaats became head of the FAMiLY Leader umbrella organization. Cramer agreed to serve as that group's board president, while Vander Plaats made it his top priority to oust Iowa Supreme Court justices through the statewide retention elections.

This being a Republican primary, I doubt many GOP voters in IA-03 would be put off by Cramer's lack of constitutional literacy and support of the anti-retention campaign. The fact that his construction firm took federal stimulus money for road bridge projects will probably be a bigger minus. Not that I think there was anything wrong with bidding on contracts that allowed Cramer's firm to hire 30 or 40 additional people in 2009 alone.

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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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