IA-01 4Q fundraising news roundup

Last week I never got around to posting highlights from the year-end Federal Election Commission reports for candidates in Iowa’s open first Congressional district. Better late than never.

On the Democratic side, the money race remains highly competitive; all five candidates entered the election year with more than $100,000 to spend before the primary. The Republican race in IA-01 provided another reminder that establishment support does not necessarily translate into strong fundraising.  

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Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 2)

Following up on my review of news from the first half of last year, I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from July through December 2009 after the jump.

Hot topics on this blog during the second half of the year included the governor’s race, the special election in Iowa House district 90, candidates announcing plans to run for the state legislature next year, the growing number of Republicans ready to challenge Representative Leonard Boswell, state budget constraints, and a scandal involving the tax credit for film-making.

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Candidates selected for House district 33 special election

Earlier this month, State Representative Dick Taylor announced his resignation, setting up a November 24 special election to represent Iowa House district 33 (Cedar Rapids). On Wednesday night, members of the Linn County Democratic Central Committee from precincts in the district selected Kirsten Running-Marquardt as the Democratic candidate. Lynda Waddington wrote up the proceedings for Iowa Independent.

While this is the first time Running-Marquardt has personally sought public office, she is hardly a stranger to Iowa politics. The daughter of former state Rep. Rich Running, she most recently worked in U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack’s office and previously worked for Iowa for Health Care, a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Yesterday the Republican Party’s special nominating convention selected Joshua Thurston as the GOP candidate for the special election. He is an Iraq War veteran and, unusual for a Republican office-seeker, is a member of Teamsters Local 238. Waddington reported this week that Thurston “switched from having no political party affiliation to being a member of the Republican Party of Iowa on Oct. 26.”

Holding House district 33 should be relatively easy for Democrats, compared to this summer’s hard-fought battle in Iowa House district 90. But House Speaker Pat Murphy isn’t taking anything for granted:

The Democratic strategy, according to Murphy, is no secret and will closely follow past practices that have met with success.

“We are going to go after this like we have the other election, and we are going to do a heavy absentee ballot campaign just like we did in Fairfield and in the general elections,” Murphy said, referencing the party’s most recent success in the House District 90 special election. “We are going to keep a heavy focus talking about the issues that we think are important to Iowans, which are creating jobs, balancing the state budget, focusing on what we can do to expand health care at the state level and move forward in those areas.”

UPDATE: Running-Marquardt plans to focus on flood recovery and prevention issues, such as “hiring Cedar Rapids workers to rebuild our community both stronger and safer while coordinating state level incentives for better watershed management upstream.”

LATE UPDATE: Lynda Waddington has more on Thurston and the GOP meeting where he was selected.

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Special election coming in Iowa House district 33

State Representative Dick Taylor of Cedar Rapids announced his resignation today, effective immediately, saying, “after 9 years in the House, it’s time for me to focus full-time on my family.” Within the next five days Governor Chet Culver will set a date for a special election in Iowa House district 33 (map here–pdf file). UPDATE: On October 14 Culver set this election for November 24.

The race to replace Taylor will lack the drama of the September 1 special election in Iowa House district 90, because district 33 leans much more heavily Democratic. In 2008, Taylor won nearly 70 percent of the vote against Republican Kathy Potts.

A district convention made up of Linn County Central Committee members who live in Iowa House district 33 will select the Democratic candidate for this special election within the next few weeks. Bleeding Heartland readers familiar with Linn County politics, who should replace Taylor?

LATE UPDATE: Iowa Independent previews two likely candidates:

Norm Sterzenbach, Sr., a military veteran who has been a steady presence in county politics for years and currently serves as the county Democrats’ second vice chairman, is expected to make a bid for the seat. Kirsten Running-Marquard, 32, who works in U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack’s office and is the daughter of former state Rep. Rich Running, has also been contacting local Democrats to drum up support.

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