We may need a new candidate in Iowa House district 65

Ed and Lynn Fallon’s I’M for Iowa organization sent out an e-mail blast today containing the following tidbit:

Monday, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, we talk about politics, and expose what appears to be a sneaky effort in the 65th House District in Des Moines to keep Wayne Ford’s retirement a secret so party insiders can hand-pick a successor. We also talk about the Des Moines Register’s love affair with Senator Grassley, Jonathan Narcisse’s love affair with himself, and Iowa Senate Republicans’ burning love for coal.

Tom Beaumont’s latest piece on Chuck Grassley for the Des Moines Register was egregious. He depicted Grassley as an old-fashioned bipartisan hero instead of the disingenuous double-dealer he has become. But that’s a topic for another post. I’m more interested in Fallon’s take on Iowa House district 65, which covers a heavily Democratic area of Des Moines (map here).

Jason Hancock listened to today’s radio show and wrote up the story for Iowa Independent. Fallon alleges that seven-term incumbent State Representative Wayne Ford has decided to retire, but is keeping his intentions secret so that there won’t be a competitive Democratic primary in the district. Republicans have no chance of winning House district 65, but in a Democratic primary with multiple candidates, someone other than the party insiders’ choice might win.

Hancock contacted the Iowa Democratic Party for a reaction and got this comment from communications director Ali Glisson:

“Whatever a member of the legislature decides to do, it is a personal decision that I will not speculate about,” she said. “But, I can assure you that the Iowa Democratic Party is not something out of Bond movie. No ‘cover up’ is going on.  We remain confident that the Iowa House will remain under Democratic control.”

In high school debate we would have called that a “non-response.” Did Fallon say the IDP was like something out of a Bond movie, or that they were “covering up” wrongdoing? No, he’s saying they don’t want to roll the dice on a competitive primary and would rather hand-pick someone to succeed Ford. And Fallon’s allegation regarding House district 65 has nothing to do with whether the Democratic Party will retain an Iowa House majority. This is about who will determine Ford’s successor, if he retires: voters or insiders. If Ford wants another term, he should say so. If not, he should give other Democrats time to start a campaign.

Whether or not Ford plans to retire this year, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to for a progressive Democrat to collect 50 signatures (plus a few extra) in time to file nominating papers by this Friday. Community organizer Tyler Reedy won about 36 percent of the vote in his primary challenge against Ford in 2008. He worked hard in that campaign and deserves another shot if he is willing to run again.

Share any other suggestions or opinions in this thread.

UPDATE: Ford could have put this matter to rest by answering Dave Price’s question about whether he plans to run again. Four days before the filing deadline, he refused to say. If he isn’t running, he owes it to his Democratic constituents to give other potential candidates an opportunity to file for an open seat.

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