Bad weather, good turnout for 2018 Iowa Democratic caucuses

The worst-case scenario came to pass today: after months of below-average snowfall, a huge winter storm hit most of the state hours before the 2018 caucuses. According to anecdotal reports and a statement from the Iowa Democratic Party, turnout on the Democratic side far surpassed the level seen in 2010 or 2014. John Deeth estimated that Johnson County Democrats “at least doubled our previous governor year caucus turnout record.” But poor road conditions surely kept thousands of politically-engaged people home tonight. I had hoped good weather would reveal how many activists were “fired up and ready to go.” UPDATE: Added below a “soft report” from the state party: with 80 percent of precincts reporting, attendance was 8,599. “While we are still getting results in, we expect turnout will exceed 9,000, which far eclipses the 5,000 attendees in 2010 and the 6500 attendees in 2014.”

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Who's endorsed the seven Democrats running for Congress in IA-03

Seven candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s third Congressional district, where two-term Representative David Young will be a top target for national Democrats and outside groups. Young’s approval rating was below 40 percent in an October survey by Public Policy Polling for Patriot Majority USA. The latest Iowa poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register found that 36 percent of respondents in IA-03 would support an unnamed Republican running for Congress, while 35 percent would vote for a Democrat.

This race is wide open, and the nominee may be chosen at a district convention, if no contender receives at least 35 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary. To that end, several candidates are recruiting supporters to attend Iowa Democratic precinct caucuses on February 5. Those caucus-goers will select county convention delegates, and county conventions will select district convention delegates on March 24.

About two-thirds of the Democrats and more than half of all registered voters in IA-03 live in Polk County, containing Des Moines and most of its suburbs. The district’s sixteen counties contain 161,724 active registered Democrats, 173,947 Republicans, and 171,061 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.

While many Democratic activists, including myself, haven’t chosen a favorite in this strong field, others have been coming off the fence. Some labor unions or other progressive organizations have started to weigh in too. Last week I asked all seven candidates–Cindy Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, Austin Frerick, Theresa Greenfield, Paul Knupp, Eddie Mauro, and Heather Ryan–for a list of endorsements or prominent supporters.

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Eddie Mauro makes seven Democrats running for Congress in IA-03

Eddie Mauro made it official today: he is a candidate for Congress in Iowa’s third district. I enclose below his announcement e-mail and biographical information from his campaign website. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter. He discussed his background and political philosophy further in a 2016 interview with Bleeding Heartland, when he was running for an Iowa House seat.

Mauro’s determination to join the Congressional race has been clear for months. Since forming an exploratory committee in July, he has met with or spoken to numerous neighborhood and constituency groups. He loaned his campaign $100,000 shortly before the end of the third quarter and raised $82,251.00 from several dozen other contributors.

In fact, as of September 30, Mauro was second only to Theresa Greenfield in money available to spend on the Democratic primary in IA-03. Mauro’s $161,899.06 cash on hand was some $14,000 higher than Greenfield’s, but seven of his donors maxed out with $2,700 contributions for both the primary and general elections. For that reason, $18,900 of his campaign funds can’t be spent until after the June 2018 primary.

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IA-01, IA-03: Polls find Blum and Young below 50 percent

Republican Representatives Rod Blum and David Young have approval ratings below 40 percent and re-elect numbers below 50 percent, according to new surveys from Public Policy Polling.

The Patriot Majority Fund, a super-PAC that largely opposes GOP incumbents, commissioned polls in nine House districts around the country, including the two in Iowa that Democrats will target next year.

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Pete D'Alessandro joins the Democratic field in IA-03

Promising to “fight for a bold agenda” that can “win the future,” Pete D’Alessandro became the sixth Democratic candidate in Iowa’s third Congressional district today. A veteran of many campaigns who is putting his name on the ballot for the first time, D’Alessandro is best known to Iowa activists as state coordinator for Bernie Sanders before the 2016 caucuses. His core issues echo some of the Sanders campaign’s central themes:

» Fight for a $15/hour livable wage
» Expand Medicare-for-all to ensure universal healthcare access
» Support tuition-free college
» Lead on addressing the global climate crisis

D’Alessandro is also promising to “do more than just stand against Donald Trump.” He developed his thoughts further on Democratic principles and tactics in a recent interview with Bleeding Heartland.

His campaign is on the web at PeteforIowa.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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If Pete D'Alessandro runs in IA-03, it won't be just to win an election

Pete D’Alessandro would be a first-time candidate if he joins the large group of Democrats challenging Representative David Young in Iowa’s third Congressional district. But no one in the field has more Iowa campaign experience than this longtime political operative.

D’Alessandro has been thinking seriously about this race for months. In a recent telephone interview, he told me he has set Saturday, August 26–the date of the Iowa Democratic Party’s third district workshop in Atlantic–as “the day to fish or cut bait.”

He also discussed the points he would raise as a candidate and how Democrats can accomplish “real change,” capitalizing on the activism that fueled Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

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