IA-Sen: Republicans not interested in Jim Carlin

After keeping a relatively low profile during his first few years in the Iowa legislature, State Senator Jim Carlin has been “loud and proud” this year on matters that might appeal to conservative Republicans.

Speaking on the Iowa Senate floor, Carlin has repeatedly alleged that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. He introduced a “bathroom bill” that became the first legislation targeting trans youth to make it through an Iowa House or Senate subcommittee. He led an effort to ban employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccines, and turned a subcommittee hearing on that bill into a platform for airing anti-vaccination views. He introduced a bill that would have required state university employees to be surveyed about their political views.

Carlin announced in February that he would seek the 2022 Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, whether or not Senator Chuck Grassley runs for re-election. In a campaign video, he declared, “Donald Trump made the Republican Party the party of working men and women,” and outlined “core beliefs” that hit everything on the usual conservative checklist. “I know the people of Iowa very well,” Carlin told Jacob Hall of The Iowa Standard in February. “I’ve literally represented the forgotten man for the last 30 years.”

Nevertheless, the people of Iowa have little apparent interest in his Senate bid.

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Rob Sand drops a hint

As fundraising emails go, the message State Auditor Rob Sand’s campaign sent around 10:00 am on March 20 was nothing special. It began this way:

Even though it’s an off-year for us, it is still important to show our campaign is viably powered and the supported choice to move Iowa forward.

While re-election is still many months away, our campaign is already hard at work building the critical infrastructure needed to ensure re-election.

A “corrected” version arrived about an hour and 20 minutes later.

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As Grassley weighs 2022 plans, either path entails political risks

A new Iowa poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom contained shocking numbers: 55 percent of respondents, including 35 percent of Republicans surveyed, hope U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley does not run again in 2022. Just 28 percent of respondents (50 percent of Republicans) hope he will run for an eighth Senate term.

The same poll measured Grassley’s job approval at 48 percent, the lowest in this survey since 1982. Selzer polls routinely found Grassley’s approval to be above 70 percent during the 2000s and above 60 percent during the first half of the 2010s, a graph published in the Des Moines Register shows.

Although Grassley would be a prohibitive favorite to win again, the new numbers indicate widespread unease about the senator’s capacity to serve another six-year term.

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The politics of Ashley Hinson's balancing act in IA-01

Eighth in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.

During her first six weeks serving in the U.S. House, Representative Ashley Hinson has been speaking in two distinct voices.

In many public statements, she has positioned herself as a unifier within the House Republican caucus and Congress at large, willing to work with anyone for the benefit of her constituents. Meanwhile, she has regularly demonized Democrats as threats to America, especially when speaking to perceived supporters or on conservative platforms.

The dual messaging reflects Hinson’s dependence on Donald Trump’s base in a swing district where future Republican victories are not assured.

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