Fourteen Iowa House Democrats who seem content to stay in minority forever

Iowa Democrats are in a deep hole, controlling only 20 of the 50 seats in the state Senate and 41 of 100 in the House. On the plus side, strong candidate recruitment and a wave of Republican retirements are giving Democrats plenty of opportunities to pick up House seats. (The 2018 Iowa Senate map is less promising.)

Raising money can be challenging for leaders of a minority party, who don’t call the shots on legislation. Furthermore, Iowa Republicans have a natural advantage, since the policies they promote are often tailored to suit wealthy individuals or corporate interest groups. While money doesn’t always determine campaign outcomes, quite a few Democratic lawmakers and challengers lost in 2016 after being massively outspent on television commercials and direct mail (see here, here, and here for examples).

Yet the latest set of campaign financial disclosures reveal little sense of urgency among Democratic incumbents who could do much more to help others win competitive districts this November.

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First look at the Iowa Senate district 21 Democratic field (updated)

State Senator Matt McCoy announced yesterday that he will run for Polk County supervisor rather than for re-election to the Iowa legislature. His decision to challenge longtime Supervisor John Mauro in the Democratic primary sets up a “epic battle of the titans” in the fifth district, covering the south side of Des Moines, much of the city center and south of Grand areas on the west side. It also opens up Democratic-leaning Iowa Senate district 21.

Connie Ryan rolled out her candidacy yesterday but will likely have competition in the June 5 primary.

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Review of progressive local election victories around Iowa

Democrats around the country had a lot to celebrate last night, including a “tidal wave” in Virginia, total control of state government in New Jersey, a vote to expand Medicaid in Maine, and a special election that gave the party a majority in the Washington State Senate. Voting rights may be expanded soon in several states, Ari Berman wrote today at Mother Jones.

Many progressive Democrats scored victories in Iowa’s non-partisan local elections as well.

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Are women better candidates than men? (And other curiosities from the 2016 Iowa House elections)

After taking a closer look at the 2016 Iowa House election results, Kent R. Kroeger believes Iowa Democrats have reasons to worry but also reasons to be optimistic about their chances of taking back the chamber. You can contact the author at kentkroeger3@gmail.com.

The dataset used for the following analysis of 2016 Iowa House races with Democratic challengers or candidates for open seats can be found here: DATASET

When former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine asked in her July 2016 Huffington Post essay, “Is 2016 the year of the woman?”, she can be forgiven if her underlying assumption was that the U.S. would be electing its first female president four months later.

We know how that turned out. Yet, her question had a broader vision and was not dependent on the outcome of one presidential race in one country. The question springs from an emerging body of evidence that women may make for better politicians than men. Given that only 19 percent of U.S. congressional seats are currently held by women, it may seem ridiculous to ask such a question. And since 2000, the percentage of women in state legislatures has plateaued (see graph below). Nonetheless, looking across a longer time span, there is no question more and more women are running and winning elective office in this country.

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44 photos from the Iowa Women's March

Turnout for the Women’s March in Washington and companion events around the world shattered expectations on Saturday, far exceeding the number of people who showed up to watch Donald Trump be sworn in as president the previous day. Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer had a right royal meltdown over media coverage of attendance at the inauguration. The president must have been seething to see yesterday’s news about more than 2.5 million people marching, including at least half a million in Washington and massive numbers in city after city: 750,000 in Los Angeles, 250,000 in Chicago, 100,000 in Denver, and so on.

Before the weekend, I heard predictions that 10,000 people might come to the Iowa Women’s March outside the Capitol in Des Moines. Instead, an estimated 26,000 people were there–impressive turnout for a state with about 3 million residents.

I spent most of Saturday at the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee meeting, so I’m grateful to Bleeding Heartland readers who gave me permission to share their Iowa Women’s March photos below (click on any image to enlarge). The only problem was choosing what to post among scores of inspiring images from the rally.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome. The Iowa City Press-Citizen published a photo gallery from the women’s march in the “people’s republic.”

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