IA-03: Six Democrats explain how they could beat David Young

Almost every day, I talk to Democrats who haven’t settled on a candidate in the third Congressional district, where six people are running against two-term Representative David Young. (Heather Ryan ended her Congressional campaign last month and will challenge State Representative Rick Olson in Iowa House district 31’s Democratic primary instead.)

Many of the contenders have supporters I respect and admire. I have no doubt they would represent us well in the U.S. House.

So as I try to pick a favorite from this strong field, I find myself circling back to one question: who has the best chance of beating Young?

At last month’s College and Young Democrats forum in Indianola, each candidate had three minutes to explain how they can win this race. I’ve transcribed their answers in full after the jump.

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Poll testing negative messages about Polk County candidate Matt McCoy

With the possible exception of Johnson County, nowhere in Iowa has seen more brutally hard-fought Democratic primaries than the south side of Des Moines. State Senator Matt McCoy’s decision to challenge Polk County Supervisor John Mauro has set up an “epic battle of the titans” in the county’s fifth district, covering most of the south side, plus downtown and central neighborhoods of the capital city (a map is at the end of this post).

A poll currently in the field includes positive information about both candidates but negative messages about McCoy alone.

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Republicans blow a billion-dollar hole in the budget (updated)

Matt Chapman reports from today’s Iowa Senate committee hearings on a massive tax bill published the previous day. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Senate Republicans dropped Senate Study Bill 3197 on February 21, scheduling a subcommittee on the tax plan first thing the following morning and a full Ways and Means Committee to consider the bill shortly after lunch. They had employed a similar shock-and-awe tactic last week to get Senate Study Bill 3193 through the legislature’s “funnel” on the last possible day. That bill, modeled after a Florida law deemed unconstitutional, called for drug testing Medicaid and food assistance (SNAP) recipients, along with quarterly instead of yearly recertification and work requirements.

In opening comments on his tax proposal, Senate Ways and Means Chair Randy Feenstra said SSB 3197 was “bold” and would save Iowans an average of $1,000 in taxes. You can watch the whole meeting on video here.

Senator Pam Jochum, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said she was looking forward to input from EMS and firefighters, among others, since this bill would end deductions. She was also concerned that there was no fiscal impact statement and wanted to be sure it fit the budget. Jochum asked Feenstra if he had any data he could share.

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Iowa nonmetro changes, challenges, and shifting voter preferences

Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson examines “troubling” trends in seventeen mid-sized cities (“micropolitan” areas) with core urban populations of 10,000 or more. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Iowa’s metropolitan areas are growing, a few quite smartly, but a majority of Iowa’s nonmetropolitan areas are declining, several quite sharply. These changes have implications for the vitality of and outlook for much of rural Iowa. They also have implications for dominant rural political attitudes.

As rural economies and populations transform, so too do their collective public policy preferences. Recent statewide and federal election results show clearly that nonmetropolitan Iowa has become more conservative than its historically-conservative norm. And current indications give us no reason to expect that trend to abate.

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Weekend thread: Big Iowa problems

A majority of Iowans think mental health services, student loan debt, child welfare services, state university tuition, and the state budget are either a “crisis” or a “big problem” for Iowa, according to the latest Selzer poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. Among nine issues tested in the survey of 801 Iowa adults in late January, mental health services registered as the top concern: 35 percent of respondents described the situation as a crisis, 38 percent as a big problem. No other topic registered above 20 percent for “crisis.”

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Hear John Delaney's early pitch to Iowa Democrats

Two years before the 2020 Iowa caucuses, U.S. Representative John Delaney of Maryland is already investing heavily in reaching voters here. Delaney visited Iowa for the first time within weeks of announcing his presidential candidacy last July. This past weekend, he made his sixth swing through the state, attending events in Cedar, Dubuque, Clinton, Clayton, Delaware, Jackson, and Scott counties.

Most Iowans will be introduced to Delaney through his television commercials. His debut ad aired during the Super Bowl in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Sioux City markets. The second spot began running on February 5 as “part of a million-dollar, month-long Iowa television buy,” according to a campaign news release. I enclose below videos and transcripts of both commercials.

Hundreds of Democratic activists have already heard Delaney at a meet and greet or local party event where he was a featured speaker. I recorded his speech at the Third Congressional District Hall of Fame dinner last October. The second part of this post contains the sound file and a transcript of key passages.

Finally, I asked Delaney to react to some activists’ concern that a sharper focus on issues white working-class voters care about could make Democratic candidates less committed to other stances, which are critically important to segments of the party’s base.

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