Todd Prichard officially exploring run for governor (updated)

Saying Iowa needs “new vision,” “fresh leadership,” and “better than what we have seen during this legislative session,” State Representative Todd Prichard announced today that he is “considering” a gubernatorial campaign. The rollout leaves little doubt that Prichard will eventually join the Democratic field. His campaign website now features a Todd Prichard for Governor campaign logo. His “leadership team” includes heavyweights like Marcia Nichols, former political director of AFSCME Council 61; Brad Anderson, who ran Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in Iowa; former Iowa Democratic Party state chair Sue Dvorsky; and State Senator Bob Dvorsky.

I enclose below Prichard’s news release and background on the candidate from his website. Last month Prichard discussed his life experiences and values at a Democratic gathering in Des Moines; you can read or listen to that speech here. Prichard talked more about his work and thoughts about a 2018 Democratic campaign message with Iowa Starting Line. Prichard has a political page on Facebook and is on Twitter @RepPrichard.

Two other Democrats launched gubernatorial campaigns earlier this year: Rich Leopold and Jon Neiderbach. (Neiderbach spoke to the Northwest Des Moines Democrats group on March 21, and Bleeding Heartland will soon post excerpts from his stump speech.) Former Iowa Democratic Party chair Andy McGuire is widely expected to announce a gubernatorial campaign in the coming months.

UPDATE: Prichard spoke at the Our Future–Iowa Starting Line event in Des Moines on March 23. Here’s the full audio, for those who want to listen.



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If Todd Prichard runs for governor, his stump speech will sound like this

State Representative Todd Prichard spoke to a packed room at last night’s Northwest Des Moines Democrats meeting. Now in his third term representing Floyd and Chickasaw counties in the Iowa House, Prichard is ranking member on the Agriculture Committee and also serves on Natural Resources, Veterans, and Ways and Means, as well as on an Appropriations subcommittee. Pat Rynard recently profiled the army veteran and former prosecutor who may run for governor in 2018.

I’ve transcribed most of Prichard’s remarks from the Des Moines gathering below and uploaded the audio file, for those who want to listen. He speaks directly and fluidly without coming across as rehearsed or too polished, a common problem for politicians.

At one point, Prichard commented that Republicans didn’t spend a million dollars trying to defeat him last year, as the GOP and conservative groups did against several Iowa Senate Democratic incumbents. Republicans tested some negative messages against him with a telephone poll in August, but apparently didn’t sense fertile ground. Prichard’s opponent Stacie Stokes received little help from her party, compared to some other GOP candidates for Iowa House seats, including a challenger in a nearby district.

Based on the speech I heard on Tuesday, I would guess that if Prichard runs for governor, Republicans may regret not spending a million dollars against him in 2016.

One more point before I get to the transcript: Prichard is living proof that retiring lawmakers should not be allowed to hand-pick their own successors. When State Representative Brian Quirk resigned to take another job soon after winning re-election in 2012, he wanted his former high school football coach Tom Sauser to take his place. As a Bleeding Heartland reader who’s active in Floyd County described here, Prichard decided to run for the House seat shortly before the special nominating convention and barely won the nomination.

Prichard had a chance to start his political career because several days elapsed between his learning about Quirk’s preferred successor and the House district 52 nominating convention. Too often, Iowa Democratic legislators announce plans to retire only a day or two before candidates must submit papers to the Secretary of State’s Office. If Quirk had retired right before the March 2012 filing deadline, as three House Democrats did last year, his friend with the inside track would have been the only Democrat able to replace him. Nothing against retired teachers, but Sauser was not a potential future leader of the party, as Prichard is becoming.

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IA-Gov: Ron Corbett's think tank running online ad campaign

When Ron Corbett announced in December that he will not seek a third term as Cedar Rapids mayor and will consider running for governor, he promised a “big surprise” at the end of his final “state of the city” address on February 22.

Corbett has long been positioning himself to run for governor. Since creating the conservative think tank Engage Iowa in late 2015, he has given dozens of speeches around the state, most often to Rotary clubs or members of local Iowa Farm Bureau chapters and Chambers of Commerce.

After Governor Terry Branstad confirmed plans to resign in order to become U.S. ambassador to China, many Iowa politics watchers speculated that Corbett would decide against seeking higher office next year. Instead of competing for the GOP nomination in an open primary, he would have to run against a well-funded sitting governor, Kim Reynolds.

To those who don’t share my view that Corbett will take on the challenge of running against a Republican incumbent, I ask: why is Engage Iowa spending money to promote Corbett’s name and catchy conservative slogans online?

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IA-Gov: Jon Neiderbach officially launches campaign

This morning Jon Neiderbach announced on Facebook that he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor:

I make two promises: I will not accept donations of over $500 – big money is poisoning our politics – and there is nobody you can vote for in 2018 who will do more to fight a rigged system, shake up Iowa government, and help Iowans achieve the American dream. I will be campaigning essentially full-time: please help me with a small donation to help kick off this campaign.

Neiderbach’s campaign website is under construction, but a preliminary version is online. He’s also on Twitter and Facebook. Click here for more background on the former Des Moines School Board member and 2014 Democratic nominee for state auditor.

Neiderbach, fellow gubernatorial candidate Rich Leopold, and State Representative Todd Prichard, who may seek the nomination too, will all speak at tonight’s Ankeny Area Democrats Annual Winter Fundraising Banquet. The event starts at 6 pm at United Auto Workers of America Local 450, 4589 NW 6th Dr in Des Moines. Featured speakers will also include new Iowa Democratic Party chair Derek Eadon, Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg, House Minority Leader Mark Smith, and Ankeny City Councilwoman Kerry Walter-Ashby. I won’t be able to attend this dinner but would welcome a guest post if someone wants to share impressions later. Guidelines for Bleeding Heartland authors are here.

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The first eight vice presidents to become president did not appoint new VPs

Reacting to my last post on questions surrounding the future title and authority of Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, Joe Kristan commented that when a similar controversy arose in 1841, Vice President John Tyler set the “Tyler Precedent” by insisting he would be president for the remainder of the term to which William Henry Harrison had been elected.

I responded that the U.S. Constitution was later amended to say clearly that the vice president becomes president in the event of a vacancy–language that Iowa lawmakers chose not to introduce into our state’s constitution when amending passages related to succession on multiple occasions.

Kristan countered that nobody calls Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson “acting presidents,” just because the 25th Amendment was subsequently adopted in 1967.

True. But guess what? None of those eight men appointed a new vice president during the term in which they assumed the powers of the presidency.

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IA-Gov: Democrat Jon Neiderbach launching campaign soon

Jon Neiderbach, the 2014 Democratic candidate for state auditor, plans to announce a campaign for governor by the end of the week, he confirmed to Bleeding Heartland. A New York native who has lived in Iowa since attending Grinnell College during the 1970s, Neiderbach has in-depth knowledge of state government, having worked for the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and later in the Iowa Department of Human Services. He also served a term on the Des Moines School Board and has been an attorney in private practice since 2012. He campaigned for a few months in Iowa House district 43 during the last election cycle but withdrew from that race before the filing period.

Last year, Neiderbach was an active supporter of Bernie Sanders for president, and he will need support from that part of the Democratic base in a primary likely to include better-funded candidates. His new Twitter handle is @Neiderbach4Gov, and he’s on Facebook here. A campaign website will launch soon. I enclose below a short bio released during Neiderbach’s 2014 race for state auditor.

The field of Democratic challengers to future Governor Kim Reynolds will expand further. Rich Leopold is already campaigning around the state, and former Iowa Democratic Party chair Andy McGuire is expected to make her candidacy official within a month or two. (However, when I asked McGuire at the recent State Central Committee meeting when she was going to announce, the mother of seven grown children answered with a joke: “Oh, do I look pregnant?”)

The rumor mill sees State Representative Todd Prichard as a likely gubernatorial candidate too.

State Senator Liz Mathis told a Democratic gathering in Des Moines this month that she thought about running for governor in 2018, “but I don’t believe it’s in the cards for me.” I’ve talked to several Democrats who hope she will reconsider, including AFSCME President Danny Homan. (He is not in McGuire’s fan club.) Terry Branstad ruled out running for governor in May 2009 but changed his mind a few months later.

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