Throwback Thursday: When Terry Branstad first tried to elevate Kim Reynolds, 18 years ago

Terry Branstad passed over some better-known and better-connected Republicans when he picked State Senator Kim Reynolds to be his running mate in 2010. During that campaign, Branstad said he was looking for a lieutenant governor who could take his place. He made clear on many subsequent occasions that he was “grooming” Reynolds. The plan will come to fruition after Branstad is confirmed as U.S. ambassador to China.

Few Iowans outside Clarke County had heard of Reynolds in June 2010, but Branstad had taken an interest in her political career long before then. If his original plan had worked out, Reynolds would have been elected to the Iowa Senate for the first time on this day in 1999.

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A year's worth of guest posts, plus tips for guest authors

One of my blogging new year’s resolutions for 2016 was to publish more work by other authors, and I’m grateful to the many talented writers who helped me meet that goal. After the jump I’ve linked to all 140 guest posts published here last year.

I encourage readers to consider writing for this site in 2017. Guest authors can write about any political issue of local, state, or national importance. As you can see from the stories enclosed below, a wide range of topics and perspectives are welcome here.

Pieces can be short or long, funny or sad. You can write in a detached voice or let your emotions show.

Posts can analyze what happened or advocate for what should happen, either in terms of public policy or a political strategy for Democrats. Authors can share first-person accounts of campaign events or more personal reflections about public figures.

Guest authors do not need to e-mail a draft to me or ask permission to pursue a story idea. Just register for an account (using the “sign up” link near the upper right), log in, write a post, edit as needed, and hit “submit for review” when you are ready to publish. The piece will be “pending” until I approve it for publication, to prevent spammers from using the site to sell their wares. You can write under your own name or choose any pseudonym not already claimed by another Bleeding Heartland user. I do not reveal authors’ identity without their permission.

I also want to thank everyone who comments on posts here. If you’ve never participated that way, feel free to register for a user account and share your views. If you used to comment occasionally but have not done so lately, you may need to reset your password. Let me know if you have any problems registering for an account, logging in, or changing a password. My address is near the lower right-hand corner of this page.

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The 16 highest-traffic Bleeding Heartland posts in 2016

Traffic can be a touchy subject for bloggers. Most writers know the pain of pouring a lot of effort into a project that gets little traction. On the flip side, although clicks are always welcome, seeing a post take off is not as satisfying when you are less invested in the piece. The most-viewed post in nearly 10 years of Bleeding Heartland’s existence was nothing special, just another opinion poll write-up. FYI: A good way to get the Drudge Report to link to your site is to type up a long list of negative statements about Hillary Clinton.

I’ve never compiled a year-end list like this before, but since people occasionally ask what material is most popular at the blog, I figured, why not start a new tradition? Ulterior motive: I hope more readers will be inspired to write for Bleeding Heartland in 2017 after learning that guest authors wrote some of this year’s most-viewed posts, including the one at the very top.

Follow me after the jump for the sixteen posts that generated the most traffic in 2016. Some of the results surprised me.

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Bob Krause makes eight candidates for Iowa Democratic Party chair

Saying he is the “compromise candidate” best positioned to unify the Iowa Democratic Party and bring back blue-collar workers who swung to Donald Trump, Bob Krause e-mailed Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee members late Friday night to announce his candidacy for state party chair.

Krause served in the Iowa House during the 1970s and in recent years has been an outspoken advocate for veterans as president of the Des Moines-based Veterans National Recovery Center. He sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2016, finishing a distant second in the 2010 primary and fourth in 2016. Krause also explored a candidacy for governor in 2014 before leaving that race to endorse Jack Hatch.

I enclose below Krause’s message to Iowa Democratic leaders, who will hear from contenders on December 17 and vote for a new chair in January. Krause’s comments about the shortcomings of the Vote Builder database echo frustrations I’ve heard from quite a few down-ballot candidates and activists.

The others seeking to lead the state party, in order of their official announcements, are Kim Weaver, Sandy Dockendorff, Blair Lawton, Derek Eadon, Kurt Meyer, Julie Stauch, and Mike Gronstal. Click here for background on each. Bleeding Heartland has published commentaries by Stauch, Meyer, and Eadon, and I hope to run guest posts by the other candidates soon.

UPDATE: Krause also posted an announcement video on Facebook late on December 9.

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Rushing the stage at a presidential candidate event is not "civil disobedience"

Hillary Clinton came to Iowa yesterday for the first time since the February 1 caucuses. After visiting the Des Moines t-shirt shop Raygun, she spoke primarily about economic policies to a packed Lincoln High School gymnasium.

During the rally, a woman jumped over the barricade and ran toward the stage. Several Secret Service agents tackled her, while Clinton showed remarkable composure as she kept delivering her stump speech. The protester was apparently representing the “Direct Action Everywhere” community, trying to call attention to “Hillary’s support for Costco and other corporate animal abusers.”

As a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union, I support anyone’s right to protest peacefully, to hold up signs, and even to disrupt a political event by shouting taunts or slogans (though heckling’s not my personal style). But rushing the stage is not an acceptable form of protest, especially right after the Republican presidential candidate hinted that “Second Amendment people” might be the only way to stop Clinton from appointing judges to the federal bench.

So I was disturbed last night to see former State Senator Tom Fiegen advocate more barricade jumping at Clinton campaign events.

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