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Hillary Clinton

Pella Electric Cooperative trying to discourage customers from installing solar or wind

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jul 27, 2015 at 18:01:32 PM CDT

Solar power made big news in Iowa today, as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Des Moines about ambitious goals for installing solar panels. In a forthcoming post, Bleeding Heartland will compare the Democratic presidential candidates' proposals to combat climate change by increasing renewable energy production and decreasing carbon emissions.

Iowa has tremendous potential to generate electricity from the sun. Recognizing that fact, large bipartisan majorities in the Iowa House and Senate "triple[d] the size of Iowa's successful solar tax incentive program" in 2014 and during this year's session increased available solar energy tax incentive funds by another $500,000 to $5 million per year.

But some segments of the utilities sector have been slow to embrace solar power. One of Iowa's major investor-owned utilities persuaded the Iowa Utilities Board to block certain financing arrangements that made it easier for customers to install solar panels. An appeal of that administrative decision went to the Iowa Supreme Court, which overturned the Iowa Utilities Board last year.

Rural electric cooperatives, which supply electricity to roughly 650,000 Iowans, have approached renewable energy and solar power in vastly different ways. Farmers Electric Cooperative in the Kalona area installed the largest solar farm in Iowa last year.  

But as first reported by Karen Uhlenhuth at Midwest Energy News last week, the Pella Electric Cooperative is seeking to penalize customers who choose to install new solar or other renewable technology. Lee Rood picked up the story on the front page of today's Des Moines Register. The cooperative's new monthly charge for a handful of consumers is brazen and probably illegal.  

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Weekend open thread: ADA anniversary and Iowa caucus polls edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Jul 26, 2015 at 11:55:31 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

The Americans With Disabilities Act took effect 25 years ago this week. How many laws have changed the country for the better as much as Senator Tom Harkin's greatest achievement? The ADA helped millions of people who might have been housebound--like my friend who was able to run errands or take her son to the park, even though she was confined to a wheelchair. Judy Schmidt, who chairs the Iowa Democratic Party's Disability Caucus, shared how the ADA has affected her in a guest column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. I've enclosed excerpts after the jump. Bleeding Heartland posted more background and links about the law to mark its 20th anniversary. For the record, Iowa's senior Senator Chuck Grassley also voted for the final version of the ADA, as did most of his fellow Republicans. UPDATE: Added below excerpts from Harkin's guest editorial in the Sunday Des Moines Register.

Donald Trump has led the last five national polls of Republican voters and is rising in stature in Iowa, if you believe the latest surveys of likely GOP caucus-goers. Follow me after the jump for details.

I brought my kids to Bernie Sanders' town-hall in West Des Moines on Friday night. My reflections on that event are at the end of this post.

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Latest Quinnipiac poll shows three Republicans leading Clinton, other Democrats in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jul 22, 2015 at 14:12:27 PM CDT

Quinnipiac's new swing-state poll paints a worrying picture of the 2016 general election for Iowa Democrats. If the poll is accurate, Hillary Clinton's favorability has plummeted in recent months, and at least three Republican candidates lead Clinton and other prospective Democratic candidates head to head in Iowa.  
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New poll of Iowa Democrats testing messages about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jul 20, 2015 at 21:52:03 PM CDT

This evening I was a respondent for a lengthy poll testing messages about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I assume the Clinton campaign commissioned this survey. If not her campaign, then some allied group. Most of the questions seemed geared toward determining what is driving Iowa Democrats toward or away from the front-runner and the senator from Vermont, who has claimed the progressive alternative niche in the presidential race. Several of the questions drew from rhetoric Clinton uses in her stump speech.

The caller identified herself as representing "National Data Collection." She was calling from 586-200-0157, the same number used for a different message-testing phone poll I received in early March.

I almost feel sorry for these pollsters having to repeat so many questions when they call my house. My notes are after the jump. I've been a respondent for many polls over the years, but this one included a device that was new to me.

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Weekend open thread: Hall of Fame and Family Leadership Summit edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Jul 19, 2015 at 11:52:06 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

All five Democratic presidential candidates appeared at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids on Friday night. I've posted below my impressions from the speeches; you can watch the videos on C-SPAN. It's a shame the venue couldn't accommodate more people, because lots of interested Iowa Democrats were unable to get tickets for the event.

Before the Hall of Fame dinner, I spent some time with an old friend who's a huge Hillary Clinton supporter. Huge, as in, she didn't take down her Hillary yard sign until the grass was long enough to need mowing in the spring of 2008. She mentioned to me that she's relieved to see Clinton working hard this year instead of "ignoring" Iowa like last time. When I told my friend that Hillary visited Iowa more than 30 times in 2007, spending all or part of 70 days in the state, she was surprised. I'm amazed by how many Iowans have bought into the media-constructed narrative that Clinton "bombed" in the caucuses because she took the state for granted.

Ten Republican presidential candidates came to Ames on Saturday for the Family Leadership Summit organized by Bob Vander Plaats' FAMiLY Leader organization. C-SPAN posted all of those speeches here. As usual, Donald Trump sucked up most of the oxygen in the room by questioning whether Senator John McCain had been a hero during the Vietnam War. O.Kay Henderson posted the audio at Radio Iowa. Rival presidential candidates with the exception of Ted Cruz rushed to condemn Trump's remarks. Some of the Family Leadership Summit attendees may have been more upset by Trump's comments about his three marriages and his admission that when he's done something wrong, "I don't bring God into that picture."

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Big gains for Bernie Sanders in latest Q-poll of Iowa Democrats

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jul 02, 2015 at 09:59:56 AM CDT

Quinnipiac's latest survey of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers shows Senator Bernie Sanders cutting into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's lead. The front-runner is ahead by 52 percent to 33 percent, compared to 60 percent for Clinton and 15 percent for Sanders in the previous Iowa Q-poll, released in May. The memo, results, and questionnaire for the latest survey are here. Vice President Joe Biden, who is very unlikely to run for president again, placed third with 7 percent support. Rounding out the declared Democratic field, former Governor Martin O'Malley registered 3 percent, former Senator Jim Webb 1 percent, and former Senator Lincoln Chaffee did not even reach the 1 percent mark among Quinnipiac's respondents. Click here for more details on the sample and methodology. Live interviewers polled 761 likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers between June 20 and 29, producing a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

The person who should be most worried about this poll is O'Malley. Sanders has firmly occupied the niche of progressive alternative to Clinton--not just in New Hampshire, where he is better-known as a neighboring state's senator, but across the country. I've seen speculation that O'Malley could position himself as a more electable alternative to Clinton than Sanders. But any Democrat concerned primarily about electability will probably vote or caucus for Clinton. Quinnipiac's Iowa Democratic respondents still view her positively: 85 percent favorable, 10 percent unfavorable. So Sanders isn't riding an anti-Hillary wave; rather, he has stronger appeal among liberals.

Any comments about the Democratic presidential race are welcome in this thread. Last weekend, I saw a fun example of the Iowa caucus-goer mentality when a local acquaintance on vacation in New England posted to Facebook photos from a Sanders rally she attended in New Hampshire.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Polling for the Democratic Race - July 1

by: idiosynchronic

Wed Jul 01, 2015 at 20:20:21 PM CDT

(If any other Bleeding Heartland readers were respondents for the same survey and have more details to share, please post a comment or contact me confidentially.   - promoted by desmoinesdem)

From 515-512-4155. If you do a search in the right places it shows up as a residential DM/Windsor Heights number. I suspect someone is either volunteering with their own cell or working with a provided cell.

One of these days, I'm actually going to get the name of the polling firm doing the call. But for once, it's obviously local.

The caller actually confirmed my name.

1) Am l likely to participate in the Caucuses? How likely am I to vote. (Likely)

2) Which Caucus? (D)

3) How well do I know the candidates? (all)

4) Whom are you likely to support? (Bernie)

5) Let me read to you this statement - pollster reads a hellaciously long quote from Sanders' stump that aggressively summarizes his campaign. Are you still going to support Sen. Sanders? (hell, yes)

6) Why don't you support Clinton? (Because she doesn't give statements like what you just read)

6) Could you support Hillary Clinton (yes)

7) What would it take to support Hillary Clinton? (Sanders to leave the race)

6) Are you conservative, liberl, or moderate? (liberal)

7) And asks me my birth year. End of call.

I almost questioned if it was a push poll from the Clinton campaign with that long quote, but I think the Clinton campign or close supporter is getting really nervous about Sanders' support.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Supreme Court saves health insurance subsidies for 6 million Americans (and 40,000 Iowans)

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jun 25, 2015 at 16:10:00 PM CDT

Some 40,000 Iowans will continue to receive federal subsidies for purchasing health insurance, thanks to a 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court opinion announced today. Plaintiffs in King v Burwell had argued that Congress intended for subsidies to be available only to Americans who purchased health insurance through state-run exchanges. Chief Justice John Roberts rejected that interpretation in his opinion (pdf), joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Amy Howe explained the ruling in "plain English" at the SCOTUS blog, where Lyle Denniston wrote a separate analysis of the opinion.

Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia accused his colleagues of changing "usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act," as the Supreme Court majority did (in his view) when it upheld the individual mandate to purchase health insurance in 2012.

A ruling for the plaintiffs in King v Burwell would not only have threatened health care access for roughly 6.4 million people who receive subsidies for health insurance purchased through the federal website Healthcare.gov. It could have caused cascading effects such as sharp premium increases for millions of Americans who do not qualify for subsidies but would nevertheless have been priced out of the health insurance market. In theory, Congress could have fixed the problem with a one-paragraph bill clarifying that people who buy insurance through the federal exchange qualified for subsidies, but most House and Senate Republicans appeared unwilling to go that route.

Today's Supreme Court decision removes the only remaining threat to federal health insurance subsidies for eligible Iowans. Last month, several insurance companies applied to offer policies for 2016 to Iowans through the exchange. Only one provider did so for 2015, and if that company had pulled out of Iowa, health insurance subsidies would not have been available to anyone in our state for next year.

UPDATE: Added Iowa political reaction below. Note that several of the Republican statements renew a vow to repeal and replace "Obamacare." Though destroying the system created by the 2010 health care reform law was transparently the goal of the King v Burwell plaintiffs, their lawyers maintained the charade that the lawsuit was only about getting the Obama administration to follow the Affordable Care Act.

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Five strengths of Hillary Clinton's campaign launch and Iowa swing

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Jun 14, 2015 at 23:46:54 PM CDT

Hillary Clinton kicked off her presidential campaign Saturday with a big rally on New York City's Roosevelt Island. TIME published the full transcript (as prepared) of her speech, which covered values and personal reflections about her mother as well as a long list of policies she would champion in order to win "Four Fights" for Americans. Clinton then traveled to Sioux City, where her remarks at a house party were "simulcast to 650 house parties nationwide, including 55 in Iowa" on Saturday evening. This morning, hundreds of people turned up to see Clinton in Des Moines, at her first Iowa event of this year that was open to the public. After the rally, she gave interviews to Radio Iowa's O.Kay Henderson and the Des Moines Register before heading to Burlington for a house party in the afternoon.

From where I'm sitting, Clinton helped her cause quite a bit this weekend.  

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Democratic presidential candidates converging on Cedar Rapids, July 17

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jun 11, 2015 at 17:00:00 PM CDT

The Iowa Democratic Party's annual Hall of Fame dinner will draw a larger-than-usual crowd this year, thanks to confirmed appearances by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Governor Martin O'Malley, and former Senator Jim Webb. (I assume former Senator Lincoln Chaffee, who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, will join the list of speakers as well.) Tickets for the event at the Cedar Rapids Convention Complex on Friday, July 17 are available here.

After the jump I've posted details on the seven Iowa Democrats who will be honored at the Hall of Fame event. No one deserves the "outstanding elected official" award more than Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum. Following Iowa statehouse politics closely can be a discouraging pastime, especially this year, but the highest-ranking Democratic woman to serve in the Iowa Senate always makes progressives feel well-represented. I can't think of a better candidate for governor in 2018.

Former State Representative and Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran will receive the Iowa Democratic Party's "outstanding supporter" award. Outside her home town, she is best known for having served as mayor during the devastating 2008 floods.

The "outstanding activist" award is going to Tri-County Democrats chair Kurt Meyer. He was the runner-up candidate to lead the Iowa Democratic Party in January. As I wrote at that time, Meyer has done tremendous organizing work in northern Iowa. His efforts contributed to Mitchell County being the whitest county in the U.S. to vote for Barack Obama (and Howard County the fifth-whitest to favor Obama over Mitt Romney), as well as to State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm's narrow victory over Republican Senator Merlin "Build my fence" Bartz in 2012. Without Wilhelm, there's no Iowa Senate majority.  

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Weekend open thread: latest Des Moines Register Iowa caucus poll edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Jun 07, 2015 at 17:00:34 PM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome. After the jump I've enclosed highlights from Selzer & Co's latest Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics. I had planned to focus on that poll last weekend, until I heard the devastating news about Beau Biden.

Speaking of the Selzer poll, I'm waiting for the self-styled "Dr. Politics" (Iowa State University professor Steffen Schmidt) to square his assertion that Iowa Democrats "truly hate [Hillary] Clinton's 'listening tour' campaign" with Selzer's findings that 86 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers view Clinton favorably, and 57 percent say she is their first choice for president. Yes, Bernie Sanders got great turnout for his Iowa events last weekend. But where is the evidence that Iowans "hate" the Clinton campaign?

The Des Moines Register ran lots of articles featuring poll results this past week. I got a kick out of the "Captain Obvious" headline for this piece: "Moderates, very conservative in GOP not always in sync." You don't say. I guess that's why moderate and very conservative Republicans have gravitated toward different presidential candidates every four years for the last several decades.

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It's about time: MoveOn and Democracy for America suspend Run Warren Run campaign

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 07:32:06 AM CDT

Democracy for America and MoveOn.org announced today that effective June 8, they will suspend the effort to convince Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president. Organizers say the Run Warren Run campaign collected more 365,000 signatures on petitions since December and generated substantial support in other ways, described in detail in the press release enclosed below. From where I'm sitting, there are better ways to spend $1.25 million on progressive advocacy efforts. Warren will receive a copy of the petition, and MoveOn and DFA will presumably retain contact information for everyone who signed.

Today's announcement says nothing about whether MoveOn.org or Democracy for America will endorse one of the two Democrats running for president as progressive alternatives to Hillary Clinton: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont or former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. The Iowa Democrats I know who were excited about Warren seem to be either supporting Sanders already or leaning in that direction. Run Warren Run ceased to have any real purpose the day Sanders announced his candidacy, but this past month, organizers have continued to ask Iowans to sign petitions, claiming there was a real chance Warren would change her mind.

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Martin O'Malley's immediate problem: Bernie Sanders

by: desmoinesdem

Sun May 31, 2015 at 21:36:32 PM CDT

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley launched his presidential campaign in Baltimore yesterday before holding events in the Quad Cities and Des Moines later in the day. He was well-received at both venues and in New Hampshire today. I challenge any Democrat to find much to disagree with in O'Malley's message.

O'Malley's pitch to Democrats draws several indirect contrasts to front-runner Hillary Clinton, starting with the "new leadership" tag line on his campaign materials. His stump speech includes riffs on declining real wages, trade policy and the banking industry that put him to Clinton's left. But from what we saw in Iowa this weekend, O'Malley has a lot of work to do to.

O'Malley's immediate problem isn't the large lead for Clinton in name recognition and opinion polls. It's that Senator Bernie Sanders has already claimed the "progressive alternative to Hillary" niche.  

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Just when I was starting to think Mike Huckabee was smart

by: desmoinesdem

Tue May 26, 2015 at 16:13:54 PM CDT

Blogger's lament: let's say you have a post in progress about a Republican carving out a promising niche in a crowded presidential field. He's talking about highly salient issues for non-wealthy Americans, in a way that will distinguish him from most of his rivals. Not only do those policies relate to the well-being of many voters, they also allow the candidate to position himself against "elite" GOP strategists and other establishment figures hated by the party's conservative base.

Then the guy does the stupidest thing you could imagine.

With one Facebook status update on Friday, Mike Huckabee may have wiped out any chance of broadening his appeal through the smart decision to focus his early campaign rhetoric on Social Security and trade.

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Iowans split on party lines over 20-week abortion ban

by: desmoinesdem

Thu May 14, 2015 at 13:50:00 PM CDT

Yesterday the U.S. House passed by 242 votes to 184 (roll call) a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. House GOP leaders originally planned to pass this legislation around the anniversary of the Roe v Wade ruling in January, but pulled the bill from the floor "following a revolt from female members who objected to language regarding exceptions for rape." Sarah Ferris and Cristina Marcos reported for The Hill yesterday that the bill "requires a 48-hour waiting period, informed consent forms and mandatory counseling for victims of rape and sexual assault before abortions." The latest version "eliminates a requirement for rape victims to go to the police, though it did not change a controversial provision that allows victims of incest to receive an abortion only if they are under 18 years old."

Republicans Rod Blum (IA-01), David Young (IA-03), and Steve King (IA-04) all voted for the 20-week abortion ban, while Democrat Dave Loebsack (IA-02) voted against it. Iowa's House members split along the same party lines regarding another anti-abortion bill that passed earlier this year, as well as a resolution that would "overturn the District of Columbia's law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on reproductive health choices."

I haven't seen any comments from Blum, Loebsack, Young, or King on yesterday's votes, but I'll update this post as needed. UPDATE: Added a statement from Blum.After the jump I've enclosed comments from Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire, an e-mail blast Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign sent regarding the vote, and a statement from the pro-choice PAC EMILY's List, which has endorsed Monica Vernon in the Democratic primary to challenge Blum.

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While Iowa GOP levels playing field for underdogs, DNC gives them extra burden

by: desmoinesdem

Thu May 07, 2015 at 13:25:14 PM CDT

Democrats in Iowa and nationally have been worried all year that a more competitive GOP presidential campaign will boost Republican organizing and enthusiasm going into the 2016 general election.

Yet this week, while the Iowa GOP announced plans to help long-shot presidential candidates be heard on equal footing, the Democratic National Committee sharply limited opportunities for voters to compare the whole presidential field side by side.  

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Highlights from Bernie Sanders' first day as a Democratic presidential candidate

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 18:26:39 PM CDT

After serving in Congress for 25 years as an independent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president.  
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Iowa caucus: PPP finds Walker leading GOP field, Clinton way ahead among Democrats

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 29, 2015 at 11:14:50 AM CDT

Public Policy Polling is out with its first Iowa caucus survey since last May. Click here for full results or here for Tom Jensen's polling memo. I enclose below highlights and my thoughts on the most interesting findings.

Any comments related to the Iowa caucus campaign are welcome in this thread.

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Fake Iowan for Hillary

by: sarased

Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 22:05:06 PM CDT

(Thanks for this first-person account of an Iowa campaign stop that drew international attention. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Last Tuesday morning, I woke up a lifelong Iowan, a working mom, a wife, a small business owner. By dinner, I was being portrayed by national - and international - media as a "fake" Iowan.

It has taken nearly a week for the reality of my unexpected cup of coffee with Hillary Clinton to sink in. As soon as she sat down, I realized how privileged I was to have her ear that morning. The experience, from start to now, has been surreal, to say the least.  

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Excessive demands for personal attention hurt the Iowa caucuses

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 14, 2015 at 08:41:47 AM CDT

Hillary Clinton embarked on a road trip to Iowa immediately after making her campaign official on Sunday. She has several small-scale events scheduled for today and tomorrow in Monticello (Jones County) and Norwalk (Warren County), a sign she is committed to winning over Iowa caucus-goers.

Most politically engaged Iowans look forward to seeing presidential candidates in person during caucus season. We like to hear first-hand where the contenders stand on issues that matter to us. As a group, we are generally willing to give all contenders serious consideration before making up our minds.

Unfortunately, some Democratic activists seem to think that candidates prove their worth in Iowa by fawning over local VIPs. That mentality hurts the Iowa caucuses, especially when pooh-bahs broadcast their sense of entitlement to national reporters covering the campaign.

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