[Bleeding Heartland Logo]

About
Bleeding Heartland is a community blog about Iowa politics: campaigns and elections, state government, social and environmental issues. Bleeding Heartland also weighs in on presidential policies and campaigns, federal legislation and what the Iowans in Congress are up to. Join our community, post your thoughts as comments or diaries, help keep our leaders honest and hold them accountable.
Author
- desmoinesdem
Highlights
- Iowa 2012 election coverage
- Who's who in the Iowa House for 2013
- Who's who in the Iowa Senate for 2013
- Iowa wildflowers
2014 Election Coverage
- Absentee ballot numbers
- IA-Sen
- IA-Gov
- IA-01
- IA-02
- IA-03
- IA-04
- Secretary of Agriculture
- Secretary of State
- State Auditor
- Iowa Senate overview
- Iowa House overview
- Senate district 5
- Senate district 7
- Senate district 9
- Senate district 13
- Senate district 15
- Senate district 17
- Senate district 27
- Senate district 29
- Senate district 39
- Senate district 41
- Senate district 47
- Senate district 49
- House district 8
- House district 15
- House district 25
- House district 26
- House district 28
- House district 30
- House district 33 (2013)
- House district 40
- House district 51
- House district 60
- House district 63
- House district 65
- House district 68
- House district 73
- House district 82
- House district 91
- House district 92
- House district 95
- House district 99
Search




Advanced Search


Paid Advertising


Bleeding Heartland
It's what plants crave.
Merlin Bartz

Fired Iowa Senate Republican staffer files sexual harassment lawsuit

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 12:30:00 PM CDT

Former Iowa Senate Republican staffer Kirsten Anderson filed a lawsuit in Polk County District Court yesterday, claiming she was subjected to "sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act." Anderson served as communications director for the Iowa Senate GOP caucus from February 2008 to the middle of May 2013. Bleeding Heartland covered the circumstances surrounding her firing here and here. Anderson filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission last year. She is suing the State of Iowa, the Iowa Senate, the Iowa Senate Republican caucus, Iowa Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, Iowa Senate Republican senior staffer Eric Johansen, and Ed Failor, Jr., the primary advisor to Dix since shortly after Dix was chosen to lead the GOP caucus in late 2012.

William Petroski's report for the Des Moines Register includes a link to the 20-page court filing, which can be downloaded as a pdf file. Pages 3 through 7 list many incidents supporting Anderson's claims about a hostile work environment and sexual harassment, starting in 2010. Several current and former lawmakers are named. The lawsuit paraphrases inappropriate comments by former GOP Senators Shawn Hamerlinck and Merlin Bartz. Senator Tim Kapucian is said to have laughed at an unnamed senior analyst's inappropriate comments about a "loose" female Democratic senator. Senators Joni Ernst and Sandy Greiner allegedly "did and said nothing" after witnessing "sexual innuendo and inappropriate behavior exhibited by their male colleagues." Ernst denied that charge in a written statement, which I've enclosed after the jump. She suggested Anderson was perhaps "being exploited ahead of the election."

Speaking to the Des Moines Register, Anderson's attorney Mike Carroll

denied any political motivation behind the timing of the lawsuit. He said that before a lawsuit could be filed, his client had to file a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. The complaint was filed last year. The commission issued a letter in July giving Anderson 90 days to file a lawsuit, and the filing deadline was set to expire Oct. 29, he said.

In her own statement, Anderson said, "As to the suggestions that I am a pawn in a political drama, that is not the case. I am standing up for my rights as an employee; a right to work in a place without inappropriate and discriminatory conduct."

Pages 12 through 17 of the court filing include a memo Anderson handed to Johansen on the morning of May 17, 2013, suggesting that her work was being criticized because she had complained about a "sexually hostile work environment" that "no private sector workplace would tolerate." Later the same day, in Dix's presence, Johansen gave Anderson a choice of resigning or being fired. Pages 17 and 18 list six causes of action under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Anderson is seeking back pay and benefits, compensatory damages, a ruling that her termination was unfair and/or discriminatory, and injunctive relief requiring (among other things) new training procedures for Iowa Senate staffers.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 106 words in story)

Five Iowa Senate races to watch in 2014

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 10:34:50 AM CST

It's the time of year for blog posts about notable candidates and upcoming elections. Every politically engaged Iowan knows already that 2014 will be an unusually exciting year. We haven't seen an open U.S. Senate race since 1974. The last time Iowa's first Congressional district was open was in 2006. The last time Iowa's third Congressional district was open was in 2002, but it wasn't a wide open seat, since incumbent Representative Leonard Boswell moved into Polk County to run. Amazingly, 1940 was the "last time there was a Congressional race in Polk County without an incumbent seeking re-election." All of Iowa's statewide elected officials are up for re-election as well this year, and the secretary of state's position may become open if Matt Schultz decides to go for the Republican nomination in IA-03.

Since Bleeding Heartland readers already know about the big Iowa races to watch, I want to focus today and tomorrow on the elections that are likely to determine control of the Iowa House and Senate in 2015 and 2016.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1635 words in story)

Timothy Junker first GOP challenger against Amanda Ragan in Iowa Senate district 27

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 15:05:00 PM CST

Three-term Democratic State Senator Amanda Ragan has her first declared challenger, as Timothy Junker announced yesterday that he will seek the Republican nomination in Iowa Senate district 27.

Ragan's race is one of a handful of contests that will likely determine control of the Iowa Senate after 2014. As of December 2013, Senate district 27 contained 11,997 registered Democrats, 13,396 Republicans, and 17,747 no-party voters according to the Iowa Secretary of State's office. I've posted a district map after the jump. It covers Franklin County, part of Butler County, and most of Cerro Gordo County, including the population center of Mason City.

Junker is from Butler County and served six terms as the elected county sheriff before President George W. Bush appointed him U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Iowa in 2006. Since leaving that position in 2010, "Junker has been selling real estate for Schuck Realty Co., served on the Allison City Council and Allison Tree Board, and is an active member of Trinity Reformed Church, Allison Am Vets and the Am Vets/Legion Drill Team." He has been exploring this candidacy for some time and held a meet and greet with Franklin County Republicans earlier this month.

I've heard rumors of several other Republicans considering this race. This fall, some Mason City residents received telephone polls asking whether they would support former Mayor Bill Schickel or Ragan for the Senate seat. Other possible candidates include former Mason City Mayor Roger Bang and former State Senator Merlin "build my fence" Bartz, who runs Representative Steve King's Mason City office. Bartz would have to move from his Worth County farm to run against Ragan, though. Cerro Gordo County GOP Chair Gabe Haugland was on my radar because he considered running for the Iowa House during the last election cycle. But he told me today that he is "99 percent sure" he is not running in Senate district 27.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 10 words in story)

Health insurance compromise will be key issue in Iowa Senate district 27 (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue May 28, 2013 at 09:35:00 AM CDT

Many questions remain to be answered about Iowa's new plan to provide health insurance to low-income citizens, but this much is clear: resolving the impasse over Medicaid expansion will be a major theme in State Senator Amanda Ragan's re-election campaign next year.

Follow me after the jump for background on Ragan and more details about Iowa Senate district 27, sure to be targeted by both parties in 2014.  

There's More... :: (9 Comments, 1123 words in story)

First look at the potential Republican field in IA-01

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:30:28 AM CST

No Republicans have announced firm plans to run for the open seat in Iowa's first Congressional district, but several people are definitely or rumored to be considering the race.

To evaluate who is best poised to win this Democratic-leaning district, it's helpful to look at where the votes are in a Republican primary as well as in a general election. After the jump I've posted a district map, the latest voter registration numbers for the 20 counties in IA-01, and a brief take on some of the possible Republican candidates.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 1456 words in story)

Democrats have failed to convey the importance of the Iowa Senate

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:41:11 AM CST

On one level, yesterday's special election in Iowa Senate district 22 was no surprise. One would expect a Republican victory in a district with a large GOP voter registration advantage, where Republicans spent far more money and only the Republican candidate ran television commercials.

On the other hand, the special election loss is a big red flag that Iowa Democrats have failed to communicate how crucial it is to hold their narrow Senate majority.

There's More... :: (7 Comments, 766 words in story)

Where are they now? Merlin Bartz and Annette Sweeney edition

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 16:35:00 PM CST

Losing a re-election contest is no fun for any state legislator, but defeated incumbents often land on their feet. Such is the case with outgoing State Senator Merlin Bartz and State Representative Annette Sweeney.
There's More... :: (7 Comments, 735 words in story)

Weekend open thread: Woulda, coulda, shoulda edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:50:10 AM CST

Now that we've all had a few days to take in the election results, candidates and political activists in both parties can reflect on how our time and money could have been better spent during the campaign. After the jump I've posted links about Republican and Democratic regrets.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

There's More... :: (7 Comments, 683 words in story)

Huge day for marriage equality in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 07:25:00 AM CST

Supporters of LGBT equality are celebrating yesterday's votes for same-sex marriage rights in Maine, Maryland, and Washington, as well as Minnesotans rejecting a constitutional amendment designed to restrict marriage rights to heterosexuals.

The election also slammed the door on any prospect of overturning marriage equality in Iowa.

There's More... :: (13 Comments, 525 words in story)

Democratic and Republican party spending in the Iowa Senate races

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 19:16:09 PM CST

Candidates for the Iowa legislature were required to submit campaign finance disclosure reports on October 19 and November 2. The Schedule E forms on "In-Kind Contributions" contained the most interesting numbers, because they showed how Democratic and Republican party leaders are allocating resources across the battleground districts.

After the jump I've enclosed in-kind contribution figures for the Senate districts expected to be in play tomorrow. Candidates running in other Senate races did not report large in-kind contributions from their respective parties.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 794 words in story)

Vander Plaats group on radio in two races, conspicuously absent in one

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 16:15:00 PM CDT

Three-time candidate for Iowa governor Bob Vander Plaats has made news this fall primarily on the "No Wiggins" campaign trail. However, the social conservative group he runs is supporting some Republican Iowa Senate candidates as well.

Last week the FAMiLY Leader launched radio advertising campaigns in two competitive Senate races--but notably, not in the district where Vander Plaats' longtime right-hand man Matt Reisetter is running.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1023 words in story)

Iowa Senate ad watch: Water bottles (really)

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 14:10:00 PM CDT

In a surprising turn of events, Republican challengers are putting an obscure vote on water bottles at the center of their attacks on Iowa Senate Democrats. Follow me after the jump for background on this year's equivalent to the non-existent "heated sidewalks" of 2010.
There's More... :: (7 Comments, 608 words in story)

Hello Dolly! The War on Women, Iowa Edition

by: 2laneIA

Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 08:41:14 AM CDT

(Great post. Iowa Senate District 26 is one of the tossup races that will determine control of the Senate for the next two years. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Merlin Bartz is an Iowa State Senator who carries around an unusual picture of his opponent, State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm.  The photo is a life-size legless paper doll. At public events he sets his creepy companion in a chair next to him.  If Senator Wilhelm arrives at the event, she has to move it so she can sit down.
lakemillsforum-sm
What message do you think this sends to Iowans? To women? To Senator Wilhelm?

There is more below the fold.
There's More... :: (3 Comments, 1714 words in story)

Weekend open thread: Iowa state legislative race edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? A bunch of posts on Iowa House and Senate races are in the works for the next couple of weeks. Several Democratic candidates for the Iowa House have been targeted by push-polls similar to the one I received attacking Susan Judkins in House district 43. Direct mail pieces are resurrecting some of the dishonest Republican talking points of the 2010 campaign, including non-existent "heated sidewalks" allegedly funded with state money, fancy flowerpots and "bus service for lobbyists."

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee strategists included three Iowa Senate races in the new list of 50 essential state legislative races around the country. Those are Senate district 26, where Democratic incumbent Mary Jo Wilhelm faces Republican incumbent Merlin "build my fence" Bartz, Senate district 46, pitting Republican incumbent Shawn "Go Home" Hamerlinck against challenger Chris Brase, and Senate district 49, an open seat pitting almost-elected 2010 GOP candidate Andrew Naeve against longtime teacher and planning and zoning commissioner Rita Hart on the Democratic side.

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, who is working hard to preserve his 26-24 edge in the chamber, has chaired the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee since 2007. Republicans failed to recruit a strong candidate against Gronstal in the new Senate district 8, covering Council Bluffs and Carter Lake.

This is an open thread. If you've noticed any interesting direct mail, phone calls, radio or television commercials supporting or attacking Iowa House and Senate candidates, please post a comment here, put up your own diary, or send a message to desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com. Most of the candidates are not uploading their campaign advertising to YouTube. Remember not to hang up the phone when you get calls targeting your local state legislative candidates. Instead, take detailed notes if you can, and don't be afraid to ask the caller to repeat the questions.

UPDATE: Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack will be at today's Reichert Oktoberfest in Muscatine supporting state Senate Candidates Brase and Tom Courtney and state House Candidates John Dabeet and Sara Sedlacek.  

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

First look at the Obama and Romney ground games in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:45:00 AM CDT

At this time four years ago, Barack Obama's campaign had about 30 field offices up and running in Iowa, compared to six offices for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Obama's campaign has had eight Iowa field offices open this summer and is rolling out another 26 offices around Iowa this weekend. So far, Mitt Romney's campaign has ten Iowa field offices, in addition to the unified Republican headquarters in Urbandale.

After the jump, I compare the field office locations for each presidential campaign, grouped by Iowa Congressional district. Where relevant, I've also noted competitive Iowa House and Senate districts near the Obama and Romney field offices, although I doubt either presidential campaign will do much for down-ticket Democratic or Republican candidates.

There's More... :: (8 Comments, 1966 words in story)

Weekend open thread: Candidate filing deadline edition

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 20:26:59 PM CDT

I'm posting the weekend thread early, because the filing period for primary election candidates in Iowa closed this afternoon. The Secretary of State's Office posted the full list of candidates here (pdf). John Deeth has been covering the filing on a daily basis all month at his blog. Some highlights from races I'm watching are after the jump.

This is an open thread; all topics welcome.

UPDATE: Gotta agree with Senator Chuck Grassley: the History Channel is useless.

There's More... :: (9 Comments, 1726 words in story)

Bartz confirms re-election bid in Iowa Senate district 26

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 13:04:32 PM CST

Republican State Senator Merlin Bartz confirmed this week that he will run for re-election in the new Iowa Senate district 26. His race against Democratic incumbent Mary Jo Wilhelm is probably a must-win for Senate Democrats in order to preserve their majority. After the jump I've posted a district map. Bleeding Heartland previewed the Bartz/Wilhelm matchup here.

Bartz has given Iowa progressives plenty of reasons to want him gone, from encouraging county recorders to ignore a Supreme Court ruling to trying to block the most significant water quality regulations of the last decade. Bartz's record is so bad that even learning he "has performed for over 35 years in north and northeast Iowa with various dance bands" didn't give me any sympathy for the guy. Democrats who live within striking distance of Worth, Mitchell, Floyd, Howard, Chickasaw, Cerro Gordo, or Winneshiek counties have a golden volunteer opportunity here.

P.S. to the Des Moines Register's editorial staff: that last link was to William Petroski's blog post. I liked the dance band detail. When you read something interesting on a blog, it won't kill you to link to it. I mention this because your January 15 comment on Bartz's crusade against "obsolete" laws reads a lot like Bleeding Heartland's post from January 10.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 45 words in story)

Merlin "Build my fence" Bartz taking on obsolete laws

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jan 10, 2012 at 06:35:00 AM CST

Republican State Senator Merlin Bartz set the bar high for irony on the opening day of the 2012 legislative session. Bartz sought publicity for a bill he has introduced to remove "frivolous, obsolete, and redundant mandates" from the Iowa Code.

On the one hand, that's a worthwhile effort for the ranking member of the Iowa Senate Local Government Committee. On the other hand, a guy who's using a 19th-century law to force neighbors to pay for half of his new fence might not be the best standard-bearer for this cause.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 591 words in story)

The 10 biggest Iowa political blunders of 2011

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 08:54:21 AM CST

Let's review the most boneheaded moves from the year in Iowa politics.

This thread is not about wrongheaded policy choices. It may be stupid to cut early childhood education programs, kneecap the state Environmental Protection Commission, or pass an "ag gag" bill that would never survive a court challenge. Yet all of those actions carry potential political benefits, since they appeal to well-funded interest groups or a large group of voters.

My top ten list of Iowa politicians' mistakes is after the jump.

There's More... :: (15 Comments, 1368 words in story)

Iowa caucus poll and endorsement news roundup

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:23:35 AM CST

Six days before the Iowa caucuses, no Republican candidate has a clear lead, social conservatives remain scattered among several contenders, and new television commercials are launched on almost a daily basis. Numbers from the two latest opinion polls and news from the campaign trail are after the jump, along with some commercials currently showing on Iowa tv screens.

UPDATE: Added numbers from a new CNN poll and the latest Ron Paul tv ad.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 4001 words in story)
Next >>
Menu

Make a New Account

Username:

Password:



Forget your username or password?


Iowa Liberal Blogs
- Ames Progressive
- Blog For Iowa
- Essential Estrogen
- Iowa .Gif-t Shop
- Iowa Independent (archive)
- Iowa Policy Points
- Iowans for a Future That Doesn't Suck
- John Deeth
Iowa Conservative Blogs
- Hawkeye GOP
- The Bean Walker
- Caffeinated Thoughts
- The Conservative Reader: Iowa
- The Iowa Republican
Journalists' blogs and research
- 24-Hour Dorman
- Cedar Rapids Gazette government page
- Iowa Fiscal Partnership
- Iowa Policy Project
- Iowa Politics Insider
- Iowa Watchdog.org
- On Brief: Iowa's Appellate Blog
- On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts
- Newton Independent (Peter Hussmann)
- Politically Speaking
- Price of Politics, etc.
- O.Kay Henderson at Radio Iowa
Iowa Democrats
- Tom Harkin (U.S. Senator)
- Bruce Braley (IA-01)
- Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
- Iowa Democratic Party
- Iowa House Democrats
- Iowa Senate Democrats
Statistics


 
Powered by: SoapBlox