Steve King explains what he needs to hear before endorsing Donald Trump

Representative Steve King is "not ready" to endorse Donald Trump for president yet, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on May 17. The seven-term Republican who represents Iowa’s fourth district was Senator Ted Cruz’s top surrogate here before the Iowa caucuses. Speaking to the Des Moines Register earlier this month, King indicated that he would be inclined to support Trump if the billionaire becomes the Republican presidential nominee in July. At that time, King said, "I’m keeping my powder dry and I want to see what Donald Trump has to say. This is a difficult thing for a lot of people to swallow, but I don’t want to encourage them to jump on the Never Trump bandwagon and I don’t want to encourage an alternative candidate."

During yesterday’s CNN interview, King spelled out more clearly what needs to happen for him to endorse Trump’s candidacy.

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Iowa Senate district 4 preview: Dennis Guth vs. Susan Bangert

When the filing deadline passed for major-party candidates to run in Iowa’s June 7 primary, seven Republican state senators up for re-election this year had no challengers: Randy Feenstra (Senate district 2), Dennis Guth (Senate district 4), Mark Segebart (Senate district 6), Mark Costello (Senate district 12), Amy Sinclair (Senate district 14), Tim Kapucian (Senate district 38), and Ken Rozenboom (Senate district 40). Recruitment continued, as special district conventions may nominate candidates for seats where no one filed in time to be on the primary ballot.

Based on 2012 election results and incumbent weirdness, the most potentially competitive of the uncontested GOP-held Iowa Senate seats was arguably Guth’s. Democrats announced on April 25 that Susan Bangert will run in Senate district 4. I enclose below a map of this district and details about its recent voting history, along with background on Guth and Bangert.

Also on Monday, Dennis Mathahs confirmed plans to drop out of the Democratic primary in Iowa House district 75 in order to run against Kapucian in Senate district 38. A future post will preview that race.

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"Acela primary" discussion thread

Five states along the east coast held primaries today. Donald Trump had a clean sweep on the Republican side of the so-called Acela primary, named for the Amtrak express train that connects Boston to Washington, DC. As of 8 pm central time, Trump had won more than 50 percent of the votes counted in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Dark days lie ahead for the #NeverTrump crowd. Even if Ted Cruz manages to win the Indiana primary next week and John Kasich wins Oregon and New Mexico, stopping Trump from reaching 1,237 delegates before the Republican National Convention will be a tall order. Dave Wasserman published a good analysis of Trump’s success at FiveThirtyEight.com. I’ve posted excerpts after the jump.

Networks called Maryland for Hillary Clinton immediately after polls closed. At this writing, she has also been projected to win Pennsylvania and Delaware, while Bernie Sanders is set to win Rhode Island, and Connecticut is still too close to call. Clinton’s remarks to her supporters in Philadelphia tonight sounded very much like a general-election stump speech.

Dave Weigel noted Clinton has won eleven states she lost to Barack Obama in 2008: Iowa, Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Even more striking, Weigel pointed out, "After tonight, Donald Trump will have won 12 of the 13 original colonies. He’s also favored to win in the 13th, New Jersey."

Any comments about the presidential race are welcome in this thread. Today the admin for U.S. Senate candidate Tom Fiegen’s social media blocked me on Twitter after I challenged one of Fiegen’s many tweets suggesting the Democratic superdelegates should switch from Clinton to Sanders. So touchy! Fiegen proceeded to block several people who had re-tweeted me or commented negatively about the blocking.

UPDATE: Added below the full text of Clinton’s speech tonight and a statement released by Sanders. Although he did not concede the nomination, he appears to be shifting to a fight about the Democratic Party platform, rather than trying to beat Clinton.

SECOND UPDATE: Clinton ended up winning Connecticut by about 5 points. Trump’s margins of victory were enormous in all five states: 29 points ahead of Kasich in Connecticut, 35 points in Pennsylvania, 31 points in Maryland, 39 points in Rhode Island, and 40 points in Delaware.

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One Iowa House Republican's strange and lonely battle against marriage equality

Seven years have passed since the Iowa Supreme Court struck down our state’s Defense of Marriage Act. The Republican-controlled Iowa House failed to approve a constitutional amendment to overturn that court ruling more than three years ago. Fewer than a quarter of GOP state representatives were willing to co-sponsor the marriage amendment in 2015. Even if Iowa lawmakers tried to turn back the clock on marriage equality, the effort would be futile, since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that all states must recognize marriages between same-sex couples.

Nevertheless, one Iowa House Republican won’t let this fight go. Today he seized on an unusual and futile way to register his discontent with the Iowa Supreme Court’s Varnum v Brien decision.

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IA-Sen: Patty Judge highlights support from women in first batch of endorsements

Claiming to have "a broad, statewide network that can work together to defeat Chuck Grassley," former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge today released a list of nearly 60 prominent Iowa Democrats supporting her candidacy for U.S. Senate. I enclose below the full campaign statement, which highlighted endorsements from:

• "every living Democratic woman to hold a statewide office in Iowa," namely former Attorney General Bonnie Campbell, former Secretary of State Elaine Baxter, and former Lieutenant Governors Sally Pederson and Jo Ann Zimmerman. Gender will be a factor for many Iowa Democrats weighing their choices in the four-way IA-Sen primary.

• "activists and community leaders," such as LGBTQ advocates Nate Monson, Cecilia Martinez, and Bobbi Fogle; Jill June, the longtime leader of Iowa’s largest Planned Parenthood chapter; Joe Henry, national vice president of the League of United Latin American Citizens; and former Secretary of State nominee Brad Anderson.

• "current and former elected officials," including former U.S. Representative Leonard Boswell, Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald, former Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, and former Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran.

• former Iowa Democratic Party chairs Rob Tully and Michael Kiernan (and Bonnie Campbell), along with current and former county party chairs.

Also worth noting:

• While Judge’s list is heavy on Iowans who backed Hillary Clinton for president, it includes some well-known Bernie Sanders endorsers like Gluba and Henry.

• Judge has not peeled away any of the 61 Democratic state lawmakers (including 25 women) who endorsed State Senator Rob Hogg for IA-Sen earlier this year, before the former lieutenant governor and Iowa secretary of agriculture was known to be considering this race.

Any comments about the Senate campaign are welcome in this thread. With all respect to Judge and the women and men named below, someone who aligned herself with the Iowa Farm Bureau against efforts to clean up waterways will never get my vote in a Democratic primary.

P.S.- I got a kick out of seeing both Joe Henry and Des Moines activist Sean Bagniewski on Judge’s supporter list. Less than two weeks ago, they were key players on opposite sides in the epic drama also known as the Polk County Democratic Convention.

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