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Bleeding Heartland is a community blog about Iowa politics: campaigns and elections, state government, social and environmental issues. Bleeding Heartland also weighs in on presidential policies and campaigns, federal legislation and what the Iowans in Congress are up to. Join our community, post your thoughts as comments or diaries, help keep our leaders honest and hold them accountable.
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Weekend open thread: Woulda, coulda, shoulda edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 10:50:10 AM CST

Now that we've all had a few days to take in the election results, candidates and political activists in both parties can reflect on how our time and money could have been better spent during the campaign. After the jump I've posted links about Republican and Democratic regrets.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

There's More... :: (7 Comments, 683 words in story)

Where things stand in the Iowa Senate races

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 10:51:34 AM CST

Democrats are assured of maintaining their majority in the Iowa Senate, with one race headed for a recount and another to be decided in a December 11 special election.
There's More... :: (9 Comments, 470 words in story)

Democratic and Republican party spending in the Iowa Senate races

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 19:16:09 PM CST

Candidates for the Iowa legislature were required to submit campaign finance disclosure reports on October 19 and November 2. The Schedule E forms on "In-Kind Contributions" contained the most interesting numbers, because they showed how Democratic and Republican party leaders are allocating resources across the battleground districts.

After the jump I've enclosed in-kind contribution figures for the Senate districts expected to be in play tomorrow. Candidates running in other Senate races did not report large in-kind contributions from their respective parties.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 794 words in story)

Four strategies for interest group Iowa legislative endorsements

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 07:47:54 AM CST

Many candidates for the Iowa House and Senate tout endorsements by outside groups in their campaign communications. Some of those groups pay for direct mail, phone calls, or even advertising supporting their endorsed candidates.

Iowa's influential political action committees and advocacy groups have very different ways of getting involved in the state legislative campaign. Follow me after the jump for examples of four distinct strategies.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1627 words in story)

Vander Plaats group on radio in two races, conspicuously absent in one

by: desmoinesdem

Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 16:15:00 PM CDT

Three-time candidate for Iowa governor Bob Vander Plaats has made news this fall primarily on the "No Wiggins" campaign trail. However, the social conservative group he runs is supporting some Republican Iowa Senate candidates as well.

Last week the FAMiLY Leader launched radio advertising campaigns in two competitive Senate races--but notably, not in the district where Vander Plaats' longtime right-hand man Matt Reisetter is running.  

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1023 words in story)

Iowa Senate ad watch: Water bottles (really)

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 14:10:00 PM CDT

In a surprising turn of events, Republican challengers are putting an obscure vote on water bottles at the center of their attacks on Iowa Senate Democrats. Follow me after the jump for background on this year's equivalent to the non-existent "heated sidewalks" of 2010.
There's More... :: (7 Comments, 608 words in story)

Hello Dolly! The War on Women, Iowa Edition

by: 2laneIA

Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 08:41:14 AM CDT

(Great post. Iowa Senate District 26 is one of the tossup races that will determine control of the Senate for the next two years. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Merlin Bartz is an Iowa State Senator who carries around an unusual picture of his opponent, State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm.  The photo is a life-size legless paper doll. At public events he sets his creepy companion in a chair next to him.  If Senator Wilhelm arrives at the event, she has to move it so she can sit down.
lakemillsforum-sm
What message do you think this sends to Iowans? To women? To Senator Wilhelm?

There is more below the fold.
There's More... :: (3 Comments, 1714 words in story)

Weekend open thread: Iowa state legislative race edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:00:00 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? A bunch of posts on Iowa House and Senate races are in the works for the next couple of weeks. Several Democratic candidates for the Iowa House have been targeted by push-polls similar to the one I received attacking Susan Judkins in House district 43. Direct mail pieces are resurrecting some of the dishonest Republican talking points of the 2010 campaign, including non-existent "heated sidewalks" allegedly funded with state money, fancy flowerpots and "bus service for lobbyists."

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee strategists included three Iowa Senate races in the new list of 50 essential state legislative races around the country. Those are Senate district 26, where Democratic incumbent Mary Jo Wilhelm faces Republican incumbent Merlin "build my fence" Bartz, Senate district 46, pitting Republican incumbent Shawn "Go Home" Hamerlinck against challenger Chris Brase, and Senate district 49, an open seat pitting almost-elected 2010 GOP candidate Andrew Naeve against longtime teacher and planning and zoning commissioner Rita Hart on the Democratic side.

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, who is working hard to preserve his 26-24 edge in the chamber, has chaired the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee since 2007. Republicans failed to recruit a strong candidate against Gronstal in the new Senate district 8, covering Council Bluffs and Carter Lake.

This is an open thread. If you've noticed any interesting direct mail, phone calls, radio or television commercials supporting or attacking Iowa House and Senate candidates, please post a comment here, put up your own diary, or send a message to desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com. Most of the candidates are not uploading their campaign advertising to YouTube. Remember not to hang up the phone when you get calls targeting your local state legislative candidates. Instead, take detailed notes if you can, and don't be afraid to ask the caller to repeat the questions.

UPDATE: Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack will be at today's Reichert Oktoberfest in Muscatine supporting state Senate Candidates Brase and Tom Courtney and state House Candidates John Dabeet and Sara Sedlacek.  

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

First look at the Obama and Romney ground games in Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 06:45:00 AM CDT

At this time four years ago, Barack Obama's campaign had about 30 field offices up and running in Iowa, compared to six offices for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Obama's campaign has had eight Iowa field offices open this summer and is rolling out another 26 offices around Iowa this weekend. So far, Mitt Romney's campaign has ten Iowa field offices, in addition to the unified Republican headquarters in Urbandale.

After the jump, I compare the field office locations for each presidential campaign, grouped by Iowa Congressional district. Where relevant, I've also noted competitive Iowa House and Senate districts near the Obama and Romney field offices, although I doubt either presidential campaign will do much for down-ticket Democratic or Republican candidates.

There's More... :: (8 Comments, 1966 words in story)

Weekend open thread: Candidate filing deadline edition

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 20:26:59 PM CDT

I'm posting the weekend thread early, because the filing period for primary election candidates in Iowa closed this afternoon. The Secretary of State's Office posted the full list of candidates here (pdf). John Deeth has been covering the filing on a daily basis all month at his blog. Some highlights from races I'm watching are after the jump.

This is an open thread; all topics welcome.

UPDATE: Gotta agree with Senator Chuck Grassley: the History Channel is useless.

There's More... :: (9 Comments, 1726 words in story)

Bartz confirms re-election bid in Iowa Senate district 26

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 13:04:32 PM CST

Republican State Senator Merlin Bartz confirmed this week that he will run for re-election in the new Iowa Senate district 26. His race against Democratic incumbent Mary Jo Wilhelm is probably a must-win for Senate Democrats in order to preserve their majority. After the jump I've posted a district map. Bleeding Heartland previewed the Bartz/Wilhelm matchup here.

Bartz has given Iowa progressives plenty of reasons to want him gone, from encouraging county recorders to ignore a Supreme Court ruling to trying to block the most significant water quality regulations of the last decade. Bartz's record is so bad that even learning he "has performed for over 35 years in north and northeast Iowa with various dance bands" didn't give me any sympathy for the guy. Democrats who live within striking distance of Worth, Mitchell, Floyd, Howard, Chickasaw, Cerro Gordo, or Winneshiek counties have a golden volunteer opportunity here.

P.S. to the Des Moines Register's editorial staff: that last link was to William Petroski's blog post. I liked the dance band detail. When you read something interesting on a blog, it won't kill you to link to it. I mention this because your January 15 comment on Bartz's crusade against "obsolete" laws reads a lot like Bleeding Heartland's post from January 10.  

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 45 words in story)

Merlin "Build my fence" Bartz taking on obsolete laws

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jan 10, 2012 at 06:35:00 AM CST

Republican State Senator Merlin Bartz set the bar high for irony on the opening day of the 2012 legislative session. Bartz sought publicity for a bill he has introduced to remove "frivolous, obsolete, and redundant mandates" from the Iowa Code.

On the one hand, that's a worthwhile effort for the ranking member of the Iowa Senate Local Government Committee. On the other hand, a guy who's using a 19th-century law to force neighbors to pay for half of his new fence might not be the best standard-bearer for this cause.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 591 words in story)

Iowa Workforce Development offices as a 2012 campaign issue

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 09:00:49 AM CST

The state agency Iowa Workforce Development has replaced 36 field offices with hundreds of new "enhanced access" computer terminals this year.

Although the shuttered offices are unlikely ever to reopen, they may live on as talking points in many competitive Iowa House and Senate races next fall.

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 4433 words in story)

Iowa Senate district 26 preview: Mary Jo Wilhelm vs Merlin Bartz

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 07:03:34 AM CST

Only one Iowa Senate race in 2012 will pit Republican and Democratic incumbents against each other. First-term Democrat Mary Jo Wilhelm confirmed this week that she will seek re-election in the new Senate district 26. Her likely opponent is four-term Republican Senator Merlin Bartz. Follow me after the jump for a district map and first take on this matchup.

As a bonus, this post also covers the strangest failure to do basic damage control I've seen from a political veteran.  

There's More... :: (23 Comments, 2138 words in story)

IA-01: Rod Blum joins Republican field against Braley

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 07:25:15 AM CDT

Dubuque businessman Rod Blum will formally announce today that he is seeking the Republican nomination in the first Congressional district. Blum considered running against Democrat Bruce Braley during the last election cycle, and I suspect he would have had a much better chance of winning the primary and general elections in 2010.
There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1664 words in story)

IA-01: Ben Lange exploring rematch against Braley (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:09:00 AM CDT

Republican Ben Lange will formally announce today that he is exploring a second campaign against three-term incumbent Bruce Braley in Iowa's first Congressional district.
There's More... :: (1 Comments, 1310 words in story)
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