IA-Gov: Fred Hubbell has big edge in name ID

Unusually early and extensive statewide advertising has paid off for Fred Hubbell’s gubernatorial campaign, a recent survey commissioned by Iowa Starting Line suggests. While about half the respondents said they are unsure how they will vote in the June 2018 primary, Hubbell was by far the best-known candidate among seven Democrats running for governor and had the most early support on a ballot test.

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IA-Gov: Ron Corbett running first radio ad

Leadership is the theme of Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett’s opening commercial promoting his gubernatorial candidacy. In the first half of the 60-second spot, a woman whose home was “nearly destroyed” in 2008 says the mayor “delivered” on his promise “to rebuild our city better than ever.”

Corbett then tells listeners, “the floods in Cedar Rapids proved that we can’t wait for things to get better on their own.” Without mentioning current Governor Kim Reynolds, Corbett asserts that “Iowans can’t afford the status quo,” and the state needs “a bold new leader in the governor’s office” to “slash income tax rates and champion conservative solutions.”

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IA-Gov: Planned Parenthood emerges as key theme for Hubbell

The first television commercial promoting Fred Hubbell for governor begins running today “as part of a statewide six figure TV and digital buy.” I’m not aware of any Iowa candidate advertising so extensively so far in advance of the following year’s primary. (Jack Hatch launched his gubernatorial campaign’s first ad nearly ten months before the 2014 primary, but that spot ran for just four days, and only on Des Moines broadcast networks.)

Opening campaign commercials are often biographical. Notably, Hubbell chose to introduce himself to Iowa television viewers by emphasizing his commitment to Planned Parenthood rather than his extensive business career. It’s the latest sign that his early internal polling showed a strongly positive response when Democrats learned about Hubbell’s support for a leading women’s health care provider.

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How Phil Miller won the Iowa House district 82 special election

Democrat Phil Miller won today’s special election in Iowa House district 82 by 4,021 votes to 3,324 for Republican Travis Harris (53.8 percent to 44.5 percent). It was a larger margin of victory than Miller’s good friend Curt Hanson managed in his 2009 special election, the first state legislative race after the Iowa Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in Varnum v Brien. The results will be a morale boost for Democrats, since Donald Trump won nearly 57.8 percent of the vote in the House district 82 precincts last year, compared to just 36.4 percent for Hillary Clinton.

The 7,476 votes cast in House district 82, according to the unofficial tally, is roughly three times higher than the turnout for the special elections earlier this year in heavily Republican House district 22 and heavily Democratic House district 89. The major parties spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on television commercials and direct mail to mobilize supporters of Miller and Harris (more on that spending below). On the other hand, turnout for this race was a bit lower than voter participation in Hanson’s special election win eight years ago.

Miller’s home base of Jefferson County, containing the population centers of Fairfield and Vedic City, carried him to victory.

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Early votes and tv ads: the latest news from Iowa House district 82

On August 8, Iowans in three counties will elect either Democrat Phil Miller or Republican Travis Harris to succeed the late State Representative Curt Hanson. Both major parties are spending more on the House district 82 race than on any other special state legislative campaign in years.

Voter interest is relatively high. The number of early ballots requested here already exceeds the total number of votes cast in each of the last two races to fill Iowa House vacancies (House district 22 in June and House district 89 in January).

Follow me after the jump for the absentee ballot numbers as of a week before election day, and the latest television commercials for and against Miller and Harris. Spoiler alert: if you guessed that Republicans would run a misleading ad about transgender bathrooms, you were right.

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Air war fully engaged in key Iowa House special election

Both major parties are on the air in Iowa House district 82, where voters will choose a new state lawmaker three weeks from today. Whereas the last two special House elections happened in heavily Republican or Democratic districts, the late Curt Hanson represented a politically balanced area. The outcome on August 8 could shape the media narrative about political trends in Iowa and affect candidate recruitment for other competitive statehouse races.

Republicans were first to run negative advertising in most of the 2016 Iowa House and Senate campaigns, but Democrats defending House district 82 have already launched a brutal spot about the Republican candidate’s “tax problem.”

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