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New Iowa caucus thread: Jeb Bush exploring and a "Run Warren Run" event in Des Moines

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 20:22:06 PM CST

Who's up for a new thread on possible presidential candidates? The big news on the Republican side today was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announcing that he will "actively explore" a presidential bid. Bush is forming a leadership PAC to raise huge piles of money "help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation."

I can't see Bush winning the GOP nomination, given his past support for immigration reform including a path to citizenship. Among Iowa conservatives, his support for "Common Core" educational standards will be a deal-breaker too. On the other hand, Bush poses an immediate threat to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The two would be competing for many of the same donors and Republican moderate voters.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's staff says Bush's decision won't influence Rubio's plans for 2016. I am 100 percent convinced that Florida's junior senator will run for re-election. He has pretty good odds of winning a second term but would be a long-shot to win the presidential nomination.

On the Democratic side, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (technically an independent) was in central Iowa today. I've posted excerpts from news coverage after the jump. It's Sanders' fourth Iowa visit this year, but he told a supportive Ames crowd he hasn't decided whether to run for president.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to repeat that she is not running for president in 2016. But MoveOn.Org's "Run Warren Run" project is organizing an event at Java Joe's coffee house in downtown Des Moines. Some central Iowa Democrats received phone calls from MoveOn today inviting them to the pro-Warren event, which is set for 5:30 pm on Wednesday, December 17.

I still think the draft Warren effort is a waste of time and energy. Apparently, so does progressive hero Al Franken. Minnesota's junior U.S. senator is "ready for Hillary" Clinton:

"I mean, I think that we've not had someone this experienced, this tough, and she's very, very impressive. People have asked me about Elizabeth Warren. She is great, but she's not running. She says she's not running. So I don't-I think Hillary would be great."

Any comments about the next presidential campaign are welcome in this thread.

UPDATE: Democracy for America announced on December 17 that it will invest $250,000 in the Draft Warren effort. I've added the group's press release at the end of this post. Run Warren Run ran a full-page ad in the Des Moines Register on December 17, featuring hundreds of Iowans who are urging the Massachusetts senator to run for president.

Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum attended the "Run Warren Run" event in Des Moines and called Warren "brilliant" and "courageous." But Jochum is not endorsing Warren over Hillary Clinton and hopes the Democratic field will include both women, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and others.

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The "Draft Warren" movement is a waste of progressive energy

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Dec 11, 2014 at 10:33:26 AM CST

At least three progressive Democratic groups (Democracy for America, MoveOn, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee) are mobilizing liberal Democrats to support U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for president. The idea is to make sure the 2016 campaign includes a strong voice for economic populism. In a statement released yesterday, Democracy for America's executive director Charles Chamberlain said one of the group's "top priorities will be ensuring that the battle for the Democratic nomination is a contest, not a coronation." I've enclosed their full press release after the jump.

There's a first time for everything, and I believe this is the first time I've disagreed with DFA's strategy. Warren has consistently said and continues to say that she is not running for president. I don't believe she is open to changing her mind, unless Hillary Clinton surprises everyone by not running. Instead of wasting time trying to draft a candidate who doesn't want to seek the presidency, progressive groups should wait until the field is set and then support the contender who most closely aligns with their interests.

Although I would certainly consider caucusing for Warren if she did run for president, progressives need her to be focused on her work in the Senate, not on raising money for a hopeless Democratic primary campaign. Warren can be a strong voice, not only against bad language Congressional Republicans try to sneak into legislation, but also against Obama administration shortcomings on personnel and policy. Everyone has a role to play, and we need outspoken liberals in the Senate, especially with Tom Harkin retiring.

Finally, it's hard to disagree with Governor Howard Dean's contention that "Hilllary Clinton is by far the most qualified person in the United States to serve as President." The only Democrat who even comes close is Vice President Joe Biden, who said this week that he will decide whether to run again "at the end of the spring or early summer." Clinton has the highest name recognition and sky-high favorables with almost every key Democratic constituency.

I understand the concept of a candidate like Warren pushing Clinton to the left during the primaries, but let's get real: a Harvard professor turned senator from Massachusetts, in the middle of her first term, is not going to be elected president, even with the "Big Blue Wall" propping her up. Whereas Clinton would go into the general election as the front-runner against almost any conceivable Republican nominee.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

UPDATE: A Bleeding Heartland reader shared an e-mail that some former Barack Obama campaign workers received this morning. The Ready for Warren Presidential Draft Campaign PAC is urging "Obama alumni" to sign a petition calling on Warren to run for president in 2016. I've enclosed that message at the end of this post.  

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Someone is message-testing for Hillary Clinton in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 17:15:00 PM CST

I haven't received the call myself, but multiple acquaintances who are registered Iowa Democrats have been respondents for a lengthy message-testing poll about Hillary Clinton in recent days. The survey takes approximately 30 minutes and includes lots of questions about whether X, Y, or Z would be a reason you would or would not support Hillary Clinton in the next Iowa caucuses.

The survey also asks Iowans about several other possible Democratic candidates, including Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar, and former U.S. Senator Jim Webb, who recently formed an exploratory committee for a presidential bid. UPDATE: Other Iowa Democrats confirm the call asked about Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley as well.

From what I've heard, this poll did not ask about Republican presidential candidates, with one exception: a question about whether a Hillary Clinton/Jeb Bush match up of American political dynasties would be a good or bad thing.

I hope other Bleeding Heartland readers can provide more details about this poll, including not only questions asked but also what research firm is being used (which should be mentioned at the end of the call). My acquaintances do not recall hearing any organization's name mentioned, such as the Ready for Hillary super PAC.  Feel free to post comments in this thread or send a confidential e-mail message.

Speaking of Clinton's presidential prospects, Amie Parnes reported for The Hill this week that only four Republicans worry "Clinton World": former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. (Parnes didn't name all of the Clinton associates she interviewed for the story.) Of those four candidates, Walker strikes me as best-positioned to make it through the GOP primaries, if he can raise enough money for a credible campaign. Christie and Bush will be competing for the same donors and the same niche in the various primaries. I think both have taken too many positions that will be deal-breakers for the right wing.

UPDATE: In retrospect, I should not have said in the headline that someone is message-testing "for" Hillary Clinton, because a poll like this could just have easily been commissioned by a group looking for the best arguments to use against Clinton with the Iowa Democrats.

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New Iowa caucus discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Dec 03, 2014 at 12:55:57 PM CST

It's been a few weeks since Bleeding Heartland posted a thread for discussing the Iowa caucuses. Any thoughts about presidential candidates in either party are welcome here.

As usual, the latest national polling shows no real competition for Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side. Contrary to what you may have read in some strange post-election analysis, Clinton seems set to cruise in the Iowa caucuses too. Republicans appear to be trying out a new talking point against the Democratic front-runner: she allegedly makes "rock star demands" before speaking engagements. Peter Holley posted a funny comparison of Clinton's demands to those of "actual rock stars."

Everyone on the Iowa GOP's State Central Committee has signed a pledge not to publicly endorse any candidate during the next Iowa caucus campaign. The goal is to convince all candidates and the media that the game is not rigged, and everyone can compete here on a level playing field.

So far I haven't seen any indication that any Republican contender might skip the caucuses. Iowans have had tons of opportunities to see potential presidential candidates these last few months. The latest conservative sensation, Dr. Ben Carson, was just in Des Moines for the FAMiLY Leader's big fall fundraiser.

The more "moderate" or "establishment" contenders seem eager to compete in Iowa too. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came to the state twice shortly before the election, and pulled off a truly epic pander on "Black Friday" by vetoing a bill that would have banned gestation crates for pigs. Never mind that more than 90 percent of New Jersey residents back the bill, which passed both chambers of the legislature with huge majorities. Governor Terry Branstad was pleased, as were the Iowa Pork Producers and the Iowa Farm Bureau. In an editorial I've excerpted after the jump, one local newspaper concluded that "New Jersey is already in Christie's rearview mirror." I think other aspects of Christie's record will be a deal-breaker for Iowa conservatives, but maybe if the field is fractured he could sneak into the top three here.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Rand Paul confirmed through a spokesman this week that he will run for re-election to the Senate in 2016. The staffer insisted that Paul could still run for president if he chooses to do so. Not under current Kentucky law, he can't. And since Democrats held their majority in the lower chamber of that state's legislature, the law is unlikely to be changed for Paul's convenience. Going to court to challenge the law is probably a dead end, since most states prohibit candidates from appearing on the ballot for two offices at once. Local journalist Sam Youngman goes through some possible scenarios here.

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Iowa reaction to Obama's executive action on immigration

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Nov 21, 2014 at 11:09:40 AM CST

President Barack Obama delivered a prime-time televised address last night to explain his new executive order on immigration. The order would remove the threat of deportation for an estimated 5 million of the 11 million immigrants who came to this country illegally. After the jump I've posted the full text of the president's speech, as well as reaction from some members of Iowa's Congressional delegation and several advocacy groups. I will update this post as needed.

Last year, Iowa's U.S. senators split when the Senate approved a comprehensive immigration reform bill, which has never come up for a vote in the U.S. House. Just before Congress adjourned for five weeks this summer, Iowa's representatives in the House split on party lines over a border security funding bill bill designed to speed up deportations of unaccompanied children entering this country. Likewise, Tom Latham (IA-03) and Steve King (IA-04) voted for and Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) against a separate bill that would have reversed the president's policy (announced two years ago) to suspend deportations of some undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Click here for background on those bills.

Note: King has been all over the national media the last couple of weeks, as journalists and pundits have discussed the president's expected action on immigration. Over the summer, King raised the prospect that Obama could be impeached over unilateral action on immigration. But as you can see from statements posted below, more recently he has not advocated impeachment. Instead, King has called on Congress to defund the federal agencies that would carry out Obama's executive order. Unfortunately for him, that approach is "impossible."

Both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have expressed support for Obama's executive order in the absence of Congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform.

Several Republican governors who may run for president in 2016 are considering legal action aimed at blocking the president's executive order. Such a lawsuit could raise the standing of Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, or Indiana Governor Mike Pence with Iowa conservatives who are likely to participate in the next GOP caucuses. I am seeking comment on whether Iowa Governor Terry Branstad might join this legal action.

The Obama administration is already preparing a legal defense that would include precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 ruling on an Arizona law relating to illegal immigration. Federal officials "have always exercised discretion" in prioritizing cases for deportation.

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That was fast: The return of the "Hillary's Iowa problem" narrative

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 10, 2014 at 18:10:00 PM CST

Last month, the Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co found that Hillary Clinton "remains the prohibitive frontrunner to win the 2016 Iowa presidential caucuses," with support from 53 percent of of likely Democratic caucus-goers. No other Democrat drew more than 10 percent.

Among the Selzer poll's larger respondent group of likely voters in the 2014 elections, Clinton led every Republican but Mitt Romney in a hypothetical 2016 matchup, despite having "upside down" favorability numbers (47 percent favorable/49 percent unfavorable). If Clinton leads most Republicans among the 2014 Iowa electorate, my hunch is she would have an even bigger lead among Iowans who vote in presidential elections.  

However, the "Hillary's Iowa problem" narrative found voice in a feature by Jennifer Jacobs and Jason Noble for yesterday's Sunday Des Moines Register.  

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Iowa caucus hopefuls eager to serve as campaign surrogates

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Oct 27, 2014 at 17:55:02 PM CDT

With the 2016 caucuses only a bit more than a year away, many potential presidential candidates have been paying their dues in Iowa this fall. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is headlining events for Bruce Braley in Cedar Rapids and Davenport on Wednesday, while her husband, President Bill Clinton, will campaign with Braley in Des Moines and Waterloo this Saturday. Vice President Joe Biden was in Davenport today with Braley and Representative Dave Loebsack.

Others who might run for president (if Hillary Clinton opts out) have been here lately too. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts got large crowds of Democrats going in Iowa City and Des Moines last weekend. This past Saturday, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota gave the keynote speech at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley recently visited Iowa for the fourth time since June, headlining events for Braley, Loebsack, gubernatorial nominee Jack Hatch, and Steve Siegel, the Democratic candidate in Iowa Senate district 41.

On the Republican side, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did an event for Representative Steve King before headlining Governor Terry Branstad's "birthday" bash in Des Moines on Saturday. (King helped Christie out of a jam once.) The New Jersey governor will be back later this week to campaign with Branstad, Senate nominee Joni Ernst, and IA-02 nominee Mariannette Miller-Meeks in Burlington. Last week, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky came to Cedar Falls for an event with IA-01 GOP nominee Rod Blum, and Texas Governor Rick Perry made stops in Des Moines and the Cedar Rapids area for attorney general nominee Adam Gregg, Blum, and Ernst. Former Senator Rick Santorum did an event for King last week too, and Donald Trump did earlier in October. Senator Marco Rubio is coming back to eastern Iowa tomorrow to raise money for the Scott County Republicans and for Blum.

I've heard that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee have recorded radio ads for Sam Clovis, the social conservative favorite who is running for state treasurer. However, I haven't heard those spots on the radio yet. Speaking of social conservative heroes, Dr. Ben Carson (possibly the new "flavor of the month" for Iowa Republicans) is slated to keynote the FAMiLY Leader's fall fundraiser on November 22.

Any comments about the next presidential race in Iowa are welcome in this thread. P.S. Imagine if any Democratic candidate or elected official followed Branstad's lead and moved his "birthday party" up from November 17 to October 25 for political reasons. There would be a chorus of outrage from pundits: Phony! Not acting like a real Iowan!  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

DMR Iowa caucus poll: Same old story for Democrats but a few GOP surprises

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Oct 15, 2014 at 16:15:00 PM CDT

It's been a few weeks since we had a thread on the 2016 Iowa caucuses. Today's Des Moines Register featured results from the latest statewide poll by Selzer & Co for the Register and Bloomberg News. Selzer surveyed 425 registered voters "who say they definitely or probably will attend" the 2016 Iowa Republican caucuses, and 426 registered voters who plan to attend the Democratic caucuses.

On the Democratic side, it's the same old story: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads the field with 53 percent of respondents naming her as a first choice. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren drew 10 percent support, Vice President Joe Biden 9 percent, Secretary of State and 2004 presidential nominee John Kerry got 7 percent, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders 3 percent, and several others 1 percent or less (the last group included Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who has visited Iowa several times in the last couple of years). Hillary Clinton also registered the highest favorability rating among Democratic respondents (76 percent), shattering the myth that she has a serious "Iowa problem," at least where the caucuses are concerned.

The Register's headline screamed, "2016 EARLY TAKE: CLINTON, ROMNEY," but from where I'm sitting, this poll would not entice the 2012 presidential nominee to try again. Mitt Romney was the first choice of 17 percent of Republican respondents and the second choice of 8 percent. That's hardly a ringing endorsement of the man who has much higher name recognition than most of the other candidates.

The Selzer poll showed no clear favorites among potential GOP presidential candidates. Ben Carson may be the new "flavor of the month" with 11 percent picking him as a first choice, second to Romney. Perhaps Iowa Republicans are looking for a fresh face after two cycles in a row of nominating men who had run for president before. Nine candidates pulled between 3 percent and 10 percent as a first choice in the Selzer poll, suggesting that the race will be wide open next year. (I've posted the full list after the jump.) The findings will be discouraging to former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. Despite winning the 2012 caucuses by a handful of votes, he is now the first choice of only 3 percent of respondents, and the second choice of only 8 percent. Marco Rubio's immigration reform misadventure may have ruined his image among Iowa Republicans, because he is way down the list in this poll.

Any comments about the next presidential race in Iowa are welcome in this thread.

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Weekend open thread: Final Harkin Steak Fry edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Sep 14, 2014 at 12:35:32 PM CDT

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

The weather is perfect in Indianola this afternoon for the roughly 5,000 people expected to attend Senator Tom Harkin's final "Steak Fry" event. At least 200 journalists will be on hand, mostly to see Hillary Clinton's first appearance in Iowa since the 2008 caucuses. If you see a lot of "Hillary doesn't appear to have much of an Iowa problem" stories tonight and tomorrow, remember that you heard it here first, and repeatedly.

I stand by my prediction that Hillary Clinton will face only token Democratic opposition in Iowa and elsewhere if she runs for president again. But in case she doesn't run, 2012 Harkin Steak Fry headliner Martin O'Malley is building up a lot of goodwill among Iowa Democrats. In addition to raising money for key Iowa Senate candidates this summer, the Maryland governor's political action committee is funding staffers for the Iowa Democratic Party's coordinated campaign, gubernatorial nominee Jack Hatch, and secretary of state candidate Brad Anderson. I still don't see O'Malley running against Clinton in any scenario.

President Bill Clinton will speak today as well. That's got to be a tough act to follow. No one can get a crowd of Democrats going like he can. I'll update this post later with highlights from the event and news coverage. I hope other Bleeding Heartland readers will share their impressions. C-SPAN will carry the main speeches, starting at 2:00 pm. That will be on channel 95 in the Des Moines area.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Hillary and Bill Clinton to headline the final Harkin Steak Fry

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 12:10:00 PM CDT

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will be the star guests at Senator Tom Harkin's final steak fry on September 14 at the Indianola Balloon Field. Doors open at 12:30 pm, event runs from 1-4. Traffic can be slow on the highway leading to the balloon field, so my advice is to allow extra time.

All of Iowa's Democratic candidates for federal and statewide office typically speak at the steak fry, but the big crowds will be there to see Hillary Clinton in her first Iowa appearance since the January 2008 caucuses. While she's in central Iowa, I would not be surprised to see her do an event for Staci Appel, Democratic nominee in the third Congressional district. Then State Senator Appel appeared at numerous events for for Hillary during 2007.

My opinion hasn't changed regarding Clinton and the 2016 Iowa caucuses: if she runs for president again, she wins here. Vice President Joe Biden and everyone else are far behind in every Iowa poll I've seen. Other presidential hopefuls are waiting in the wings, in case Clinton decides against running, but are in no position to challenge her for the nomination.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Weekend open thread: Cashing in

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Jul 27, 2014 at 09:58:10 AM CDT

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

Most political campaign staffers are overworked and underpaid, and the prevalence of unpaid internships in Congressional offices leaves few opportunities for people who are not independently wealthy. Now two veterans of Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign have come under fire for launching what looks like "a 'pay to play' system for would-be campaign staff." Participants pay $5,000 for five days of intensive training, followed by five weeks of unpaid work on a campaign. Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird claim their consulting firm is just looking to recoup costs through this program, which is "focused on an international audience" rather than American progressives. They also deny they are charging people to volunteer. Rather, they say they are training participants in "organizing, data analytics, digital, and communications strategy and tactics coupled with immersion on a campaign."

Doesn't sound like "change we can believe in" to me. If Stewart and Bird hope "to equip grassroots advocates with the key skills and best practices," they should seek donations from wealthy progressives to cover costs, rather than charging a fee few aspiring activists could afford.

As selling out goes, though, Stewart and Bird's gambit bothers me less than Obama's 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina advising the Tory party in Britain, or another group of 2012 Obama campaign wizards applying their marketing talents to lure more suckers to a Las Vegas casino.

On a related note, the Ready for Hillary super-PAC has somehow convinced 90,000 people to give them money. Most of these donors probably feel they are doing something tangible to help Hillary Clinton become president. The reality is, they are just helping a small group of insiders build a list that will later be sold to a Clinton campaign.

If you can afford to give money to political causes, it's better to donate directly to a worthy candidate's campaign, or to non-profits that are committed to a mission besides enriching the founders.

Which is not to say there's any shame in talented people getting rich. Case in point: Weird Al Yankovic. His new album deserved to hit number one on the charts. The lyrics for "Tacky" and "Word Crimes" are hysterical. They inspired me to go back and listen to some of Weird Al's classics. My favorites include "Six Words Long" (a parody of George Harrison's "I Got My Mind Set On You") and "The Saga Begins" (a Star Wars-themed version of Don McLean's song "American Pie"). I don't know whether he plans to tour in support of his new album, but if he does, I hope he comes through central Iowa. I was fortunate to see him play Des Moines as the opening act for a Monkees reunion tour during the 1980s. Hilarious.

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Martin O'Malley: Presidential candidate? Maybe. Clinton rival? No way.

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Jul 25, 2014 at 14:45:00 PM CDT

It makes perfect sense for potential Democratic presidential candidates to visit Iowa, meeting activists and keeping their options open. That doesn't mean any of them would run against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Case in point: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. Having keynoted the Iowa Democratic Party's state convention last month, he's coming here again this weekend, headlining events for State Senator Rita Hart and state Senate candidate Kevin Kinney on Saturday, then Council Bluffs and Sioux City events for gubernatorial nominee Jack Hatch on Sunday. Politico's Maggie Halberman notes that O'Malley "has said he's exploring a 2016 presidential run." A Des Moines Register headline writer termed him a "possible rival" to Clinton. Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post speculated, "O'Malley is term limited out as governor at the end of this year and undoubtedly thinks a credible run for president might bolster his chances of a spot in a Clinton Administration."

I just don't see it. Laying the groundwork for a potential campaign is not the same thing as preparing to embark on a suicide mission. O'Malley doesn't come across as a guy like Senator Bernie Sanders, who knows he will never be president but might run to shine a light on issues important to him. O'Malley goes way back with Bill and Hillary Clinton. He stuck with Hillary for president even after Barack Obama dominated the 2008 Maryland primary. From where I'm sitting, CNN's Dan Merica had it exactly right when he described O'Malley as an "understudy," "angling to be the person who could step in" if Clinton does not run for president for whatever reason. Maryland's term limits for governors make 2016 an ideal time for O'Malley to run for president, but he's only 51 years old--young enough to wait until 2020 or 2024 if necessary.

Meanwhile, I hope all of this weekend's events are successful, because Hatch, Hart, and Kinney are very worth supporting.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

P.S. - Hart's re-election bid in Senate district 49 is a must-hold for Democrats. Kinney's running in the open Senate district 39, and if he wins, it would virtually guarantee a Democratic majority in the state legislature's upper chamber for the next two years.

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Lots of links on potential 2016 Iowa caucus candidates

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 14:16:13 PM CDT

It's been a while since Bleeding Heartland dedicated a thread to the potential 2016 presidential candidates. Please share any comments related to the next Iowa caucus campaign in this thread. Lots of links on various Democratic and Republican contenders are after the jump.
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More signs that Hillary Clinton has no "Iowa problem"

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 07:15:10 AM CDT

Quinnipiac's latest Iowa caucus poll adds to the growing body of survey research suggesting that Hillary Clinton's supposed "Iowa problem" exists only in the minds of some political reporters. Details are after the jump.  
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2014 chutzpah award-winners: National and Iowa edition

by: desmoinesdem

Tue May 20, 2014 at 14:51:42 PM CDT

The year's not even half over, but I doubt any public figure will surpass the brazen chutzpah former Vice President Dick Cheney displayed in television appearances on two consecutive days this week. Cheney asserted that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be "held accountable" for the terror attack in Benghazi, and that President Barack Obama has abused executive power. Look who's talking! The guy who never faced any consequences for his central role in leading the country into war on false pretenses. The Iraq war killed nearly 4,500 U.S. military personnel in the theater, contributed to hundreds of veteran suicides in the past decade, and left thousands of Americans with life-altering physical injuries or PTSD (not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties).  I don't know why anyone would listen to anything Cheney has to say about anything, particularly about being held accountable.

A remarkable example of home-grown chutzpah came from Jerry Rhoads, who recently filed for bankruptcy protection for himself and two Iowa nursing homes he owns. One of the homes is on the federal government's list of most troubled care facilities, according to Clark Kauffman's piece in the Sunday Des Moines Register. But to hear Rhoads tell it, he's an innocent victim of over-zealous inspectors:

"I don't think I'm the bad guy," Rhoads said Wednesday [May 14]. "I believe this is criminal, the way we have been treated. They have fined us over $100,000, and we lost another $1 million because of the hold they placed on new Medicaid admissions." [...]

"We're not bad people, but the state has treated us like criminals."

No, if the state were treating you like criminals, you'd be facing criminal charges and not just civil fines for substandard care that may have led to several deaths. After the jump I've posted some of the shocking details from Kauffman's article.

Iowa has some outstanding nursing homes and skilled care facilities, but I would still recommend keeping a close eye on any loved ones receiving long-term care, given our state's weak enforcement of violations and limited capacity for inspections.  

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Weekend open thread: Bernie Sanders in Iowa edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun May 18, 2014 at 09:31:00 AM CDT

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

Did anyone get to the Clinton County Democrats Hall of Fame dinner last night to hear U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont? I wasn't there, but judging from Lynda Waddington's live tweets, he gave a great keynote speech, touching on economic inequality, climate change, education, and single-payer health care (which drew a standing ovation). Sanders thanked Iowans for sending Tom Harkin to Washington, where he earned his place in history.

Before the speech, Sanders told Waddington that he is considering running for president in 2016. The reception he gets in Iowa will influence his decision. I hope he runs, and not only because I would much rather caucus for him than for Hillary Clinton or "uncommitted." Ben Jacobs predicts Sanders would "flop" against Clinton in Iowa, but I think he's viewing the prospect through the wrong lens. People run for president for different reasons. Some are trying to win, while others are trying to drive the debate toward a certain set of issues. Of course Sanders doesn't have a "path to victory" against Clinton in the Iowa caucuses--no Democrat would be able to beat her here. That's not why he would be running. He explained his thought process in an interview late last year, which I've excerpted below. Sanders has always been elected to Congress as an independent, but I hope he would run for president as a Democrat.

The purpose of a progressive alternative in the race would be to force Hillary to focus more on issues of importance to liberals instead of spending all her time catering to Wall Street executives. On Friday she gave a "populist" policy speech about income inequality (excerpts are after the jump). Maybe she's only pretending to care, but the more she goes on record promising to do something about these problems, the better. I believe Senator Elizabeth Warren when she says she is not running for president. In her absence, Bernie Sanders would be an outstanding voice for progressive values during the Democratic primaries.

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

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 09:44:02 AM CDT

The first Iowa survey by a brand-new Republican polling firm, Vox Populi, shows close races for governor and for the open U.S. Senate seat. Toplines for those races and for the 2016 Iowa caucuses are after the jump.  
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Democrats, give up hoping for Elizabeth Warren in 2016

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:45:00 AM CDT

Democrats hoping for a progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race need to look somewhere other than toward U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. Appearing on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday to promote her new autobiography, Warren couldn't have been more emphatic about not running for president.

"I'm not running for president," Warren, 64, of Cambridge, told reporter Mark Strassmann. Her autobiography, "A Fighting Chance," hits bookstores Tuesday.

Strassmann persisted, however, noting that President Obama wrote "The Audacity of Hope," like Warren, two years into his first term as U.S. senator. Epic, inspiring autobiographies have become a common political precursor to presidential runs, and speculation has swirled around Warren, who is seen as a alternative if Hilary Clinton chooses not to run, because of her popularity on her party's left wing, as well as her success as a fundraiser for Democrats nationwide.

"I'm not running for president," Warren cut him off. "You can ask it lots of different ways."

No weasel words like "I'm focused on my work in the Senate" or "I'm happy in my current job, representing the good people of Massachusetts."

Meanwhile, news broke a few days ago that Derek Eadon, a familiar figure in recent Iowa Democratic campaigns, will be the Midwest regional director for the "Ready for Hillary" super PAC. Eadon's background: Iowa Democratic Party field organizer in Cedar Rapids during 2006, first field director hired by Barack Obama's 2008 Iowa caucus campaign, Iowa State Director for Organizing for America beginning in 2009, Iowa Democratic Party's "coordinated campaign" director in 2010, and general election director for Obama's 2012 campaign in Iowa.

I still think Ready for Hillary is a huge waste of time and money. Whether she runs for president or not, she won't need this super PAC's help. However, it's significant that early Obama supporters such as Jackie Norris and now Eadon are eager to identify supporters for a repeat Clinton presidential bid.  

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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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Weekend open thread: New Register poll edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 16:25:00 PM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? The hour I lost with "spring forward" was the hour I needed to get the open thread up at the usual time. But better late than never. All topics are welcome.

For the past week, the Des Moines Register has been releasing results from its latest statewide poll. Selzer & Co surveyed 703 Iowa adults between February 23 and 26, producing a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent. This morning's newspaper revealed that President Barack Obama's approval rating has hit a new low in the state he carried in the last two presidential elections. Just 36 percent of respondents said they approve of Obama's job performance, while 59 percent disapprove. Those findings will embolden Republican candidates who plan to make this November's elections a referendum on the president's policies.

Looking ahead to the 2016 caucuses, 50 percent of Iowans, including 88 percent of the Democrats in the Register's poll sample, think it would be good for Hillary Clinton to run for president again. Support for Vice President Joe Biden was much lower, with 33 percent of the full sample and 58 percent of the Democrats saying it would be good for Biden to run for president again. Like I've said before, there is no evidence Hillary Clinton has any lasting problem with Iowa Democrats.

U.S. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's reputation with Iowa Republicans doesn't appear to have suffered from being on the losing ticket with Mitt Romney in 2012. Selzer's poll for the Register found that 67 percent of Republican respondents think it's a good idea for Ryan to run for president. The full sample was split, with 41 percent supporting a Ryan presidential bid and 42 percent saying it would be a bad idea. In the Republican sub-sample, 65 percent said it would be good for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to run for president again, 50 percent said the same about Texas Governor Rick Perry, and 48 percent said the same about former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.

My impression last year was that other potential candidates, including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, are telling Iowa Republicans what they want to hear, while Santorum's message is not striking the same chord. If Ryan runs for president, he will surely come under attack for recent deals with Democrats on the federal budget.  

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