IA-Gov: John Norris releases first batch of high-profile endorsers

Gubernatorial candidate John Norris announced a statewide steering committee yesterday with more than 90 “current and former state legislators, public officials, party activists and officers, farmers, educators, students, labor leaders and business owners.”

State Representatives Marti Anderson and Jo Oldson became the first two Iowa House Democrats to back Norris, joined by former State Representatives Brian Quirk, Andrew Wenthe, Mark Kuhn, Deo Koenigs, and Roger Thomas, and former State Senators Daryl Beall, Bill Hutchins, and Lowell Junkins (who was the 1986 Democratic nominee for governor).

Other notable endorsers include Brad Anderson, who managed Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign in Iowa and was the 2014 Democratic nominee for secretary of state, former Iowa Democratic Party executive director Norm Sterzenbach, and Marcia Nichols, the longtime political director for the public employee union AFSCME. Candidates won’t release their fundraising reports until January, but I doubt these three would publicly back Norris unless they were confident that he would have the resources to compete on a statewide level before the primary. Anderson, Sterzenbach, and Nichols were part of State Representative Todd Prichard’s leadership team earlier this year. Prichard left the governor’s race in August and endorsed Fred Hubbell yesterday.

I’ve posted below the full Norris steering committee list, along with a November 20 e-mail blast from Brad Anderson and a Facebook post by Marti Anderson.

Bleeding Heartland readers may recognize the names of other Norris endorsers, such as Jess Vilsack (the former governor’s son), former Vilsack aide Dusky Terry, 2016 Iowa House candidate Heather Matson, and Kevin Techau, who was U.S. attorney for Iowa’s Northern District from 2014 until this March. Dave Swenson and Matt Russell have been occasional guest authors at this site. Emilene Leone is one of the newly-engaged Scott County activists profiled in this post. Bill Sueppel represented Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson during her impeachment hearings and later in her civil lawsuit, resolved last month in her favor.

Any comments about the governor’s race are welcome in this thread. Bleeding Heartland previously posted audio and transcripts of stump speeches by all seven contenders and a comprehensive list of current or former state lawmakers who have endorsed a gubernatorial candidate.

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Bill Northey seeking third term as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture

Catching up on news from the weekend, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey held his seventh annual “BBQ bash” at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines on July 13. Speaking to the crowd, Northey confirmed that he will seek a third term in 2014 and said he had raised at least $100,000 for his re-election campaign at the event. Ever since Northey ruled out running for the U.S. Senate in early May, it’s been clear that he would go for another four years in the job he loves.

I’ve been disappointed in Northey as secretary of agriculture. He never followed through on the farmland protection initiative he announced in 2008, even though Iowa continues to lose some of the world’s most productive agricultural land at an alarming rate. He has insisted on a solely voluntary approach to reducing nutrient pollution in Iowa waterways despite ample evidence that approach will fail. Record nitrate levels have been reported this spring and summer in major Iowa rivers, and the Des Moines Water Works is facing huge extra costs to make water drinkable for 15 percent of Iowa’s population. Not only is Northey not part of the solution, he’s digging in his heels to perpetuate the problem.

Any comments about next year’s campaign for secretary of agriculture are welcome in this thread. I haven’t heard yet of any Democrats planning to challenge Northey. Dusky Terry, who narrowly lost the Democratic primary for this office in 2006, could be a credible candidate. He is currently mayor of Earlham,  a small town in Dallas County.  

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