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IA-03: Republicans try oldest trick in the book against Staci Appel

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Sep 19, 2014 at 14:42:37 PM CDT

UPDATE: Appel's response ad is here.

For decades, Republicans have tried to win elections by painting Democrats--especially Democratic women--as soft on crime or weak on national defense. So no one should be surprised by the smear at the heart of the National Republican Congressional Committee's latest attack on Staci Appel in Iowa's third district. Taking out of context comments Appel made during her first debate with David Young, the NRCC is claiming Appel supports "passports for terrorists."

Background and details are after the jump, along with the latest ads from both sides. Politico's "Morning Score" reported on September 18 that David Young's campaign has "gone dark"--not airing any television commercials--for the time being. It's not clear whether the Young campaign is running short of funds or simply taking a break while the NRCC does the heavy lifting. Typically candidates will run positive ads while outside groups run attacks. The NRCC already has a positive spot running about Young as well as the misleading ad they've launched against Appel.

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Catching up on the IA-01 race, with ads from Pat Murphy and Rod Blum

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Sep 18, 2014 at 16:47:46 PM CDT

Since the June primary, I haven't written much about the first Congressional district campaign between former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy and longtime business owner Rod Blum. In theory, the race could be competitive. IA-01 leans Democratic with a partisan voting index of D+5, meaning that in the last two presidential elections, voters living here skewed about 5 percent more Democratic than the nationwide electorate. Crucially, this is a midterm, not a presidential year. The latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's office indicate that the 20 counties in IA-01 contain 156,344 active registered Democrats, 134,313 Republicans, and 186,446 no-party voters. Hardly an overwhelming advantage. The right Republican could win this district.

Nevertheless, I doubt Blum has a strong chance in IA-01 for three reasons. First, the hero to the "Liberty" crowd and Steve Forbes is not moderate enough to win a lot of crossover voters. Blum applauded a key vote that led to last year's federal government shutdown. The Republican won't be able to run up the score in his home county either, because both Murphy and Blum are from Dubuque.

Second, Bruce Braley's Senate hopes are dead in the water if he doesn't get a strong Democratic turnout in the Congressional district where he is best known to voters. So his campaign and the Iowa Democratic Party have incentive to focus on GOTV in the key IA-01 counties. Unless the "coordinated campaign" is an epic failure, Murphy should benefit.

Third, as in Iowa's second Congressional district, we haven't seen a lot of activity from outside groups in IA-01. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is committed to defending this seat, but to my knowledge has not spent any money on radio or television commercials here. Likewise, the National Republican Congressional Committee put Blum in its top tier of challengers but hasn't reserved air time or spent significant money against Murphy. I believe they would do so if they smelled a real opportunity here.

We haven't seen much polling on this race. In August, Murphy released partial results from an internal poll indicating that he was ahead by 51 percent to 40 percent. Blum countered with his own internal showing Murphy leading by just 40 percent to 35 percent. Take those with a grain of salt, as with all internals.

Loras College surveyed 300 voters in IA-01 earlier this month and found Murphy barely ahead, by 34.6 percent to 33.0 percent, with 32.3 percent either undecided or refusing to answer. Both candidates have been campaigning around the district, but neither Murphy nor Blum started running general election television commercials until this month, which could explain the high number of undecideds. On the other hand, Loras doesn't have a long track record in polling, and that survey had a relatively small sample and a relatively large margin of error (plus or minus 5.6 percent). The cross-tabs included some unusual findings, such as Murphy barely ahead among women and Blum barely ahead among men. If true, that would be a big red flag for Murphy, who defeated three women candidates in the Democratic primary. While Republican blogger Craig Robinson draws big hope from this aspect of the Loras poll, I am skeptical that the gender gap we've seen in so many elections for decades is magically absent from this race. The margin of error for a subsample of a poll is always larger than the margin of error for the whole survey.

After the jump I've posted the first two general election ads for Murphy and the debut general election ad for Blum, as well as the spot Blum ran before the GOP primary. They all look solid to me. Any comments about the IA-01 race are welcome in this thread.  

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IA-03: DCCC on the air against David Young

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 15:58:00 PM CDT

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running its first television commercial attacking Republican nominee David Young in Iowa's third Congressional district. I don't know exactly when the ad went up on the air, because I haven't seen any official announcement from the DCCC, nor is the video on their YouTube channel yet. I saw it for the first time today during the lunchtime newscast on a Des Moines-based station. Bleeding Heartland readers in southwest Iowa, please let me know if you've seen the spot on an Omaha/Council Bluffs station.

Since I didn't catch the ad on video yet, I don't have an exact transcript. The gist was that David Young is a Washington insider who will "never work for you," only for special interests that want to do bad things like eliminate the Department of Education. When possible, I'll update this post with the ad and its script. It was very cookie-cutter in style.

Ater the jump, I've posted a statement the DCCC released today, mocking Young's new television ad for promising to bring "Iowa reality" to Washington.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved television time in IA-03, but to my knowledge, they are not on the air yet against Democratic nominee Staci Appel. CORRECTION: The NRCC started running its first tv spot against Appel on September 4. Click here for details.

UPDATE: Added the video and transcript below.

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Who's right about impeachment prospects: John Boehner or Steve King?

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 21:40:00 PM CDT

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner doesn't want to impeach President Barack Obama. His plan to sue the president is a gambit to appease Republicans bent on fighting the president's alleged failure "to faithfully execute the laws." At this week's meeting of the House GOP caucus, both Boehner and Greg Walden, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, urged colleagues not to talk about impeachment, saying such talk only helps Democrats. Today, Boehner assured a roomful of reporters, "We have no plans to impeach the president," claiming that such speculation was "all a scam started by Democrats at the White House."

There's no question Democrats have been hyping the impeachment speculation, to remarkably successful effect. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took in $2 million over four days from e-mail appeals warning of Republican plans to oust the president.

But it's a stretch for Boehner to claim Democrats dreamed up the impeachment "scam." Dave Weigel posted a good overview of Republicans inside and outside Congress calling for impeachment within the past year, and especially within the past month.

Just a few days ago, Iowa's own Representative Steve King predicted House Republicans will be motivated to launch impeachment proceedings if President Obama uses executive orders to give "amnesty" to undocumented immigrants. After the jump I've posted excerpts from those comments, as well as King's latest op-ed piece on immigration policy (which does not mention impeachment).  

To put it mildly, King and Boehner don't always see eye to eye on political messaging. With House leadership strongly opposed, I'm skeptical Republicans aligned with King would be able to force a vote on articles of impeachment, let alone pass such a measure. Too many people remember how calls to impeach President Bill Clinton backfired during the 1998 midterm elections. But it's worth noting that House Republicans proceeded with efforts to remove Clinton despite the verdict voters delivered in 1998. A recent national poll indicated that even as Obama's approval ratings remain low, two-thirds of Americans oppose impeaching him. The same poll suggested that a majority of Republican respondents favor impeachment.

What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers? Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

P.S. - Great piece by Lynda Waddington on King saying, in effect, that Obama can't feel true patriotism because "he was not raised with an American experience."

UPDATE: Added new comments from King below. He isn't currently pushing for impeachment but thinks the president might want to be impeached because of a narcissistic personality and "messiah complex."

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IA-01, IA-04: DCCC put Murphy and Mowrer in "Red to Blue" program

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 17:15:00 PM CDT

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included Pat Murphy (IA-01) and Jim Mowrer (IA-04) in the latest group of candidates promoted to the highest level of the "Red to Blue" program. (Staci Appel, the Democratic nominee in the open IA-03, was already promoted in the Red to Blue program earlier this year.) Mowrer is running in a tough district for any Democrat but raised more money than incumbent Steve King for the last three quarters. The DCCC had previously named IA-04 as an "emerging race."

Murphy just won a five-way primary in the Democratic-leaning first district. His opponent will be Rod Blum. Technically, IA-01 isn't a "Red to Blue" district because it's not Republican-held now; it's the open seat Bruce Braley is vacating in order to run for U.S. Senate.  

Red to Blue candidates are eligible for the highest level of support from the DCCC, although the committee won't necessarily spend much money in every named district. Last week the DCCC reserved television air time in IA-03 and IA-04, though ad buys are subject to change. Details are after the jump.

To my knowledge, the DCCC hasn't reserved any air time in IA-01 media markets. I doubt Murphy will need major independent expenditures to beat Blum. By the way, Murphy's four rivals in the Democratic primary endorsed him in statements released by the Iowa Democratic Party today. I've enclosed that press release below as well.

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DCCC flags Jim Mowrer in IA-04 as "emerging race"

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 14:34:00 PM CST

Jim Mowrer, the Democratic challenger to Representative Steve King in Iowa's fourth Congressional district, is one of twelve candidates the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considers to be "emerging races" in 2014. According to the statement from the DCCC, enclosed below, this category "highlights candidates and districts that are making themselves competitive by running smart campaigns which are becoming increasingly competitive." Mowrer's campaign out-raised the six-term Republican incumbent in both the third quarter and the fourth quarter of 2013. He is running as a "common-sense" candidate more in touch with the values of Iowans than King, who gets bogged down in "reckless partisan politics." Mowrer's official comment on today's news is after the jump.

Candidates in "emerging races" do not receive as much financial or logistical support from the DCCC as the top-tier "Red to Blue" candidates, but in past years a fair number of these races were bumped up to "Red to Blue" status during the general election period. IA-04 is an uphill climb for any Democrat, with 123,932 registered Democrats, 174,879 Republicans, and 174,235 no-party voters as of March 2014.

Speaking of King, he has long been one of the House Republicans progressives most "love to hate," and he is commonly quoted in fundraising appeals by a wide range of Democratic Party committees and Democratic-aligned organizations. But he does have limits. I noticed last week that someone came up with an anti-gay bill that was too stupid and bigoted even for King to co-sponsor. Some idiot lobbyist claims five House Republicans and one senator are interested in co-sponsoring a bill to stop gay athletes from playing in the National Football League. King commented,

"I don't support the idea that we advertise our sexuality, whatever it might be," said King. "So, therefore I don't support the idea of legislation addressing anyone's unidentified, unadvertised sexuality."

King presumably doesn't have a problem with heterosexuals "advertising" their sexuality by appearing in public with their spouses.  

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IA-03: DCCC puts Staci Appel in "Red to Blue" program

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 09:20:52 AM CST

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced this morning the first wave of "Red to Blue" candidates running in U.S. House districts. Former State Senator Staci Appel, who is running for Iowa's open third Congressional district, is one of the sixteen candidates (including ten women) at the highest "Red to Blue" level. After the jump I've enclosed a press release from Appel's campaign.

Even before anyone suspected Representative Tom Latham would retire this year, the DCCC had promised Appel "early financial communications, operational and strategic support." Her strong fundraising and endorsements from many labor unions and progressive organizations make Appel the heavy favorite in the Democratic primary. Gabriel De La Cerda is the other declared candidate in IA-03.

Appel is likely to face one of the following six declared GOP candidates in IA-03: State Senator Brad Zaun, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, construction company leader Robert Cramer, former U.S. Senate staffer David Young, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw, and Des Moines-based teacher Joe Grandanette.

The latest official numbers from the Iowa Secretary of State's office indicate that sixteen counties in IA-03 contain 154,061 registered Democrats, 160,782 Republicans, and 157,001 no-party voters.

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IA-04: Jim Mowrer planning to run against Steve King

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 10:35:00 AM CDT

A Democratic challenger to Representative Steve King has emerged for 2014. Citing an unnamed source, Abby Livingston reported for Roll Call today that Jim Mowrer is "all but certain to run" in Iowa's fourth Congressional district next year.

Some Bleeding Heartland readers will recognize Mowrer's name. An Iraq War veteran who used to live in Des Moines, Mowrer headed the Iowa Veterans for Joe Biden committee in 2007 and was Midwest Veterans Chair for the Obama-Biden campaign in 2008. Since late 2009, he has worked as special assistant to the Under Secretary of the Army in the U.S. Department of Defense. Mowrer has also been a senior adviser to Vote Vets, a political advocacy group focused on veterans' issues.

Livingston's source says Mowrer has met with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staff and will run in IA-04 whether or not the seat is open. I am still confident that Steve King will seek a seventh term in the House, but he hasn't ruled out running for U.S. Senate.

Mowrer could be a strong candidate, but the fourth district is very tough for Democrats. The latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's Office indicate that IA-04 contains 130,864 registered Democrats, 180,410 Republicans, and 178,050 no-party voters.

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Iowans split on party lines over bill on federal job training

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 06:50:00 AM CDT

On Friday the U.S. House approved a bill that would reorganize nearly three dozen federal job training programs into one fund providing job training money to states. Iowa's four representatives split on party lines.
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Loebsack votes with House Republicans on government funding resolution

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:20:00 AM CST

Yesterday the U.S. House approved a bill to fund the federal government through the remainder of the current fiscal year. Dave Loebsack (IA-02) was one of 53 House Democrats to vote for the spending bill, along with most of the Republican caucus. Follow me after the jump for details and the latest sleight of hand by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
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IA-03, IA-04: DCCC robocalling against King and Latham

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 11:45:00 AM CST

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is paying for robocalls in Iowa's third and fourth Congressional districts accusing Republicans Tom Latham and Steve King of "holding the middle class hostage."
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IA-03: Least inspiring campaign ever?

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 08:15:00 AM CST

I planned to write several posts this fall about the third Congressional district race between Representatives Tom Latham and Leonard Boswell. Instead, every time I sat down to write about the campaign, I found myself turning to other topics. Central Iowa radio and television stations have been so over-saturated with cookie-cutter attack ads against both candidates. If a political junkie like me finds it off-putting, I can't imagine how disengaged other people feel when they hear the beginning of yet another negative commercial.

Neither Latham nor Boswell has offered a compelling case for re-election, but after the jump I review the main messages from both campaigns and from various outside groups that have been advertising in Des Moines and Omaha.

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New thread on Congressional races

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 20:17:44 PM CDT

This thread is for any comments about Congressional races you are following, whether in Iowa or in other states. Steve King and Christie Vilsack held their seventh (!) debate tonight, but I was unable to listen, because Windsor Heights holds trick-or-treating the night before Halloween.

Democrats are starting to talk about a net gain of U.S. Senate seats, but I am not that optimistic. While some races are trending toward the Democratic candidates, others where Democrats led last month are tightening (Virginia, Wisconsin).

To me, the most amazing development in a Congressional race is President Bill Clinton campaigning for Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and recording a television commercial for her. Bleeding Heartland readers who are old enough to remember 1990s politics, could you ever have believed that Bill Clinton would be considered an asset to a Democratic candidate in North Dakota a week before the election?  

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

U.S. House and Senate race discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Oct 23, 2012 at 23:39:59 PM CDT

It's time for another discussion thread on any competitive U.S. House and Senate races. More detailed posts about the four Iowa Congressional districts are in progress, but after the jump I've posted the latest information on independent expenditures for and against the major-party candidates. Bleeding Heartland covered the third-quarter financial reports for the Iowa Congressional candidates here. Early voting totals for each of the four Congressional districts are here.

I've also added a few links on U.S. Senate races around the country. I'm amazed that Democrats still appear to be favorites to hold a small Senate majority. For me that has been one of the most surprising political stories of the year. Republicans could still win a majority, but they would have to run the table in the tossup races.

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Iowa Congressional 3Q fundraising news roundup

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 07:20:00 AM CDT

The latest Federal Election Commission disclosure reports are out, covering money raised and spent by Congressional candidates between July 1 and September 30. Details from Iowa's four races are after the jump, along with information on groups that have made independent expenditures in each of the districts. The latest voter registration totals in the Congressional districts are here, and I'm updating absentee ballot totals for each district on weekdays here.

Any comments about these campaigns are welcome in this thread. I'd be particularly grateful if some Bleeding Heartland reader could explain what Tom Latham has been saving his money for, and why the PAC of the Credit Union National Association is supporting both Latham in IA-03 and Christie Vilsack in IA-04.

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IA-02: Archer running first general-election tv ad

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 13:35:00 PM CDT

Republican candidate John Archer is running his first television commercial since the primary in Iowa's second Congressional district. It's mostly a positive spot introducing the candidate and doesn't mention incumbent Representative Dave Loebsack by name. (The National Republican Congressional Committee went up on tv earlier this month with an attack ad on Loebsack.) The video and annotated transcript of Archer's commercial are after the jump.
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IA-01, IA-02: NRCC reserves ad time

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:05:00 AM CDT

The National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved more than $1 million of television advertising time in eastern Iowa, although it's not clear how much the committee will spend to assist GOP challengers Ben Lange in IA-01 and John Archer in IA-02.
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Loebsack, Boswell vote with Republicans on extending Bush tax cuts

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 09:15:00 AM CDT

The U.S. House voted yesterday to extend for one year all the tax rates established by the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. Without Congressional action, those tax cuts will expire at the end of 2012. Once again, three-term Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and eight-term Representative Leonard Boswell (IA-03) were among a small group of Democrats to vote for a GOP bill.
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Boswell, Loebsack vote with Republicans on oil drilling bill

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 13:10:00 PM CDT

For a good example of gamesmanship on Capitol Hill, look no further than yesterday's U.S. House votes on offshore oil drilling. Republicans pushed a bill that won't go anywhere in order to score points against the president's energy policy. Democrats added language about U.S. sanctions against Iran and Syria to their motion to recommit in order to accuse Republicans of showing "reckless disregard for American national security."

Yet again, Representatives Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Leonard Boswell (IA-03) were among the Democrats who voted with Republicans on legislation affecting the oil industry.

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Iowans split on party lines over health care reform repeal

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 16:55:00 PM CDT

The U.S. House voted today to repeal the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as health care reform.  
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