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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More than a photo

Tyler Higgs is a local activist and concerned constituent in Clive. Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts advocating for candidates in Democratic primaries. Please read these guidelines before writing. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Anyone who has been to Representative David Young’s Facebook page knows what pandering looks like — drawings by second-graders, pictures of handshakes with people he votes to remove healthcare from, etc. His page is completely devoid of substance. What is he actually doing to address the concerns of his constituents? When will he put the People of Iowa ahead of his party’s far-right agenda?

That’s why I was so eager to see such a wide field of candidates challenge him this year. Unfortunately, a quick search of many of the candidates’ websites and Facebook pages shows just more of the same — photo ops of meet and greets, charming pictures of family, and no substance.

I’m an issues person. I care about the issues, not about who is advocating for them. I know that if I talk with any of these great candidates one-on-one, they will tell me what I want to hear. But I’ve had that experience with David Young as well. I don’t want to be pandered and lied to any more. I don’t want to be told something in private that a politician won’t state publicly.

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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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Austin Frerick highlights Iowa Farm Bureau's conflicts of interest

Investment revenue gives the ostensibly non-profit Iowa Farm Bureau Federation “a vested financial interest in advocating for policies that hurt Iowa’s farmers,” Congressional candidate Austin Frerick charged today. One of seven Democrats seeking the nomination in Iowa’s third district, Frerick has made economic concentration, especially in the agricultural sector, a central issue of his campaign. He has highlighted the proposed Monsanto-Bayer merger, which would result in two corporations “controlling about three-quarters of the U.S. corn seed market.”

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