Democrats and Republicans were busy in Iowa House district 90 over the weekend, making calls and knocking on doors to GOTV for tomorrow's special election. Democrats had an early lead in terms of absentee ballots returned, and according to the field organizer for the Fairness Fund, efforts to collect outstanding absentee ballots continued. We won several Iowa House seats in 2008 through big leads in early voting. A strong absentee ballot showing will be crucial for Curt Hanson, because the national political environment for Democrats is less favorable now than it was last November, conservative interest groups are heavily invested in this race, and same-sex marriage has galvanized the Republican base in Iowa.
Speaking of gay marriage, the National Organization for Marriage has spent nearly $90,000 trying to get Republican Stephen Burgmeier elected. It's an astronomical sum to spend on advertising in a rural Iowa House district. The group will have to do things differently if they want to get involved in our statehouse races next year:
An out-of-state anti-gay marriage group will likely need to form its own Political Action Committee and disclose its donors if it continues its Iowa activities, a state official warned today. [...]
NOM will likely need to disclose future donors if it continues its Iowa activities, Charlie Smithson, the head of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, warned NOM in a letter today.
"I'm not as much concerned with this particular race as I am that Iowa is not going to become a dumping ground for undisclosed campaign contributions," Smithson said in an interview. "Anyone can play the game here, but they are going to play within the rules."
The One Iowa blog has more details and a link to Smithson's letter. The bottom line is that the National Organization for Marriage will need to form a PAC that discloses donors in order to spend more than $750 on advocacy activities in Iowa. Click here to sign One Iowa's petition calling on NOM to disclose their funding sources.
If you live in or near House district 90, let us know what you've seen in terms of advertising, yard signs, or door hangers for either candidate. I'm also interested to know whether either party has been aggressively contacting the large number of Green and Libertarian voters in the Fairfield area. The Greens would be more inclined to support Democrat Curt Hanson, while I could see Libertarians going either way in this race.