How Iowa could have lost three Supreme Court justices in 2016

Remember how awful you felt on November 9, 2016, as you started to grasp what we were up against following the most devastating Iowa election in decades?

Would you believe the results could have been even worse?

Imagine Governor Terry Branstad appointing three right-wingers to the Iowa Supreme Court. It could have happened if conservative groups had targeted Chief Justice Mark Cady, Justice Brent Appel, and Justice Daryl Hecht with the resources and fervor they had applied against three justices in 2010.

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Kim Schmett didn't disclose political donations while acting for Saudi Arabia

Kim Schmett, one half of an Iowa Republican power couple who were foreign agents for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while serving on influential state boards, made at least three donations to GOP campaigns or entities while registered as a foreign agent in late 2016. There is no record of Schmett disclosing those political contributions, as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

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If all Iowa candidates had to win under rules Republicans forced on unions

“There’s not one Republican in this state that could win an election under the rules they gave us,” asserted AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan after the first round of public union recertification elections ended this week.

He was only slightly exaggerating.

A review of the last two general election results shows that Iowa’s capitol would be mostly devoid of office-holders if candidates for statewide and legislative races needed a majority vote among all their constituents–rather than a plurality among those who cast ballots–to be declared winners.

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Get ready for a competitive GOP secretary of agriculture race

Craig Lang didn’t wait for Governor Kim Reynolds to decide. He is running for Iowa secretary of agriculture, no matter whom Reynolds picks to replace Bill Northey.

In his first comments to journalists about his campaign, Lang advocated more crop diversity and better land management practices, asserting that the dominant approach to farming in Iowa is not “sustainable.” That’s an unusual message for a Republican. Stranger still is hearing a former president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation talk about soil health in terms more often heard from environmental experts than from Big Ag heavyweights.

Though he’s a first-time candidate, Lang has plenty of political connections and should have little trouble raising enough money for a credible statewide primary campaign against State Representative Pat Grassley or other contenders.

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Great work, Iowa Republicans

After nearly the entire Iowa GOP establishment had been sucking up to him for more than a year, President Donald Trump instructed the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to deny our state’s request for a waiver designed to shore up the individual health insurance market.

Trump’s intervention reflects his contempt not only for the thousands who stand to lose insurance coverage, but also for Iowa Republican leaders who have promoted, defended, and enabled him.

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