IA-04: CREDO SuperPAC targeting Steve King

A new progressive super-PAC pledged today to support grassroots organizing in Iowa's new fourth Congressional district against five-term Representative Steve King.

UPDATE: Added King's reaction to this development below.

The CREDO SuperPAC was created by the CREDO mobile phone company, which has long donated a portion of its revenues to numerous progressive non-profit organizations. (For the record, I am a CREDO mobile subscriber.) The SuperPAC will mobilize volunteers against ten U.S. House Republicans considered part of the "tea party" movement. King was one of six targets announced today; the others are named in a press release I enclose below.

Matthew Arnold, campaign manager for the CREDO SuperPAC, confirmed by telephone today that the independent expenditure campaign will not purchase radio or television advertising in IA-04 or the other targeted districts. The focus will be on hiring paid field organizers to identify and turn out voters. Arnold did not rule out some spending on direct mail, but indicated that mailings would not be the focus of the super-PAC's efforts.

Arnold said the location of the group's field office in Iowa has not yet been determined, adding that it will be in "one of the population centers." The obvious location is Ames. Story County leans Democratic and contains more voters than any other IA-04 county that King has not represented before. Mason City is another contender, because Cerro Gordo County is also not in King's current district. Christie Vilsack will need strong Democratic turnout in both of those metro areas to have any chance against King.

CREDO SuperPAC President Becky Bond told Eliza Newlin Carney of Roll Call that the super-PAC "will hire four to six paid field organizers" in each of the targeted districts.

A few hours into the public campaign, CREDO SuperPAC had raised more than $160,000 from more than 8,000 donors on the "Take Down the Tea Party Ten" ActBlue page, and an additional $12,000 through this page, which describes King as follows:

Steve King - Paranoid bigot

This founding member of the Tea Party Caucus may be the most open bigot in Congress. King has said he'd support the re-creation of committees to investigate un-American activities, and called shamed Sen. Joe McCarthy "a great American hero." He has compared immigrants to "livestock," compared President Obama to Stalin, Mao and Castro, and was the only one out of 400 representatives to vote against a resolution acknowledging the role of enslaved African-Americans in constructing the U.S. Capitol. He took more than $240,000 from the financial and insurance industries, but King blames gay marriage for destroying our economy. And while he voted to deny climate change and to defund the USDA's climate change adaptation policy, King said that it was requiring health insurers to cover birth control could make us a "dying civilization."

Knowing King, he'll wear this super-PAC's criticism like a badge of honor. He has been a Republican liberals love to hate for a long time. Now a progressive group based in San Francisco is going to pay for boots on the ground in his district.

The House Majority PAC, a separate super-PAC created to oppose House Republicans, has commissioned a poll in IA-04 and may buy television or radio ads against King in the future.

Any comments about the IA-04 campaign are welcome in this thread.

CREDO SuperPAC press release, January 30, 2012:

CREDO members vow to "Take Down Tea Party Republican Steve King"

Only Stephen Colbert's Super PAC Has More Donors than CREDO Super PAC

New Progressive Super PAC Targets 10 Tea Party House Members

Washington, DC-Today, CREDO Mobile announces the first six candidates to be targeted by the CREDO SuperPAC's Take Down the Tea Party Ten campaign, including Rep. Steve King. The SuperPAC will support local organizing in ten districts represented by Tea Party Republicans who are vulnerable in the 2012 elections, including Iowa's 5th district [sic].  The multi-million dollar independent expenditure operation will target the most extreme members of the Tea Party in districts where grassroots organizing by progressive activists both online and in the field can narrow the gap between victory and defeat and retire some of the worst members of Congress.

As a founding member of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Steve King may be the most open bigot in Congress. King has said he'd support the re-creation of committees to investigate un-American activities, and called shamed Sen. Joe McCarthy "a great American hero." He has compared immigrants to "livestock," compared President Obama to Stalin, Mao and Castro, and was the only one out of 400 representatives to vote against a resolution acknowledging the role of enslaved African-Americans in constructing the U.S. Capitol. And while he voted to deny climate change and to defund the USDA's climate change adaptation policy, King said that it was requiring health insurers to cover birth control could make us a "dying civilization."    

Other targets of the campaign include Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN), Rep. Allen West (R-FL), Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), and Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH).

An additional slate of candidates will be selected with input from CREDO's members and subscribers.

"We're talking about some of the most odious members of Congress.  Even for Republicans these guys are low," said Campaign Manager Matthew "Mudcat" Arnold. "We're going to empower local activists to organize their friends and neighbors to lay out the truth about their representatives in the most basic terms: They are anti-woman. They are anti-science. They are hypocritical, bigoted, and have said and done things that are downright crazy. They've done more to embarrass their constituents then they have to govern or work toward solutions. They are unfit for congress, and we're going to help their constituents hold them accountable."

CREDO SuperPAC will open field offices in each district, partnering with local constituents and organizers to lead voter mobilization and education campaigns targeting the outrageous policies of the "Tea Party Ten."  Calling these representatives "unfit to serve," CREDO Super PAC seeks to highlight the worst stances of the Tea Party incumbents, including: Steve King's bigotry; Chip Cravaack's hypocrisy and attacks on Planned Parenthood; Real World star Sean Duffy's out-of-touch policies; Joe Walsh's refusal to pay child support; Frank Guinta's extreme corruption; and Allen West's outrageous public statements and votes for slashing Medicare benefits for nearly 20% of his own constituents - including 125,00 seniors.  

"We're taking the traditional SuperPAC model and turning it on its head - to put power back in the hands of the people, instead of consolidating it in the hands of corporate executives and the ultra-wealthy." Becky Bond, president of the CREDO SuperPAC, said "Where Karl Rove and the Koch brothers can use shady money from a few hidden donors to fund a barrage of TV attack ads, this SuperPAC will empower local voters and our list of 2.5 million activists to build a grassroots campaign that is as hard hitting as it is progressive. Using innovative tactics, technology, and good, old fashioned grassroots organizing, we're going to kick Tea Party Republican Steve King out of office."

UPDATE: The Sioux City Journal's Bret Hayworth talked to King on January 30 about this super-PAC. I recommend clicking through to read Hayworth's entire piece. Excerpts:

"This will be the most expensive congressional race, and probably the dirtiest one, this state has ever seen. I will learn things about me that I don't yet know, from watching the ads." [...]

King rebutted many of the lines in the [CREDO SuperPAC] press release, beginning with the statement that he'd called former U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy, who in the 1950s had investigated communist ties in the government, "a great American hero."

Said King, "That is false, right there. I didn't call Joe McCarthy a great American hero, I called him a hero for America. But that has been regurgitated through the left-wing websites with the wrong quote, and so they just lift it off there."

Another CREDO line was that during discussion of immigration policy, King compared immigrants to "livestock."

Said King, "See, that I did not do, that's their embellishment, that is not true. That is false, if you watch the tape, you know it is. They made that one up."

Another CREDO assertion was that King said requiring health insurers to cover birth control could make America a "dying civilization."

Retorted King: "What happens when people don't have babies anymore? You're a dying civilization, right? So they must be writing to people that can't think."

I love the logic behind that last comment. Sure, Congressman, requiring insurance companies to cover the full cost of birth control means "people don't have babies anymore."

Here is the video of King talking about how a secure border fence could be constructed. The part about electrified wire comes shortly after the 1:45 mark. Decide for yourself whether liberals have distorted King's meaning.

The group America's Voice Education Fund, which advocates for immigration reform, has sharply criticized King's past comments and actions regarding immigration policy.

  • how is this different

    from DFA paid "public option" organizers, etc?

    I don't know about this. I just see a clash with anti-immigration extremists and the like, with everybody else getting a headache. This has a whiff of self-aggrandizement about it.  

    • Matthew Arnold

      has done stuff with DFA in the past, but I thought their "public option" organizing was mostly getting people to call Congress or sign petitions. This sounds more like a concrete plan for voter ID and GOTV, but we'll have to wait and see how they implement the plan in the various districts. King seems like more of a reach than several of the other announced targets, but I don't know what Duffy's new district looks like. I was a bit surprised Michele Bachmann wasn't on their list--she's in the "liberals love to hate" category of tea party Republicans for sure.

      • From what I understand

        Bachman's district is so rock-solid that Jesus running as a Dem would lose.  And with Republican control of the MN legislature, that will certainly only continue.  Don't know if they've come out with their new map yet.  I have a friend in Stillwater on the MN/WI border whom I visited in summer of 2010, and that town was COVERED with Bachman everything.  People put barn signs on their fences that were bigger than their yards. It was nuts!  I vomited in my mouth a little.

        • Bachmann's best performance in that district

          was 52.5% in 2010, a major GOP year. In 2008:

          Bachmann: 46.4

          Tinklenberg: 43.4

          Anderson: 10

          MN-06 is/was a R+7 district compared to R+9 for what was IA-05. What is known is that her district will change the most as it has grown the most in MN: Bachmann, Not a Shoe-In for Sixth District. In principle, she should be particularly vulnerable this cycle, but I'm not surprised to see CREDO give a pass to AT&T's MVP.

          • I'm damn glad to see that!

            Glad to be wrong.  

            Ok, so a R+7 district is considered pretty red by all accounts though, right?  I still think Jesus would have just as hard a time in a R+7 district as he would in a R+9 district.

            Looking at your numbers from the last 2 elections, that strong Minnesota penchant for third parties might hopefully do her in this time!

      • marketing ploy

        CREDO is a for-profit company that markets a brand, in this case "progressive" bona fides, to sell Sprint phone plans.

        They can't coordinate with the Dems, so who knows what they'll be doing. Given that a fair number of people in IA-04 put the "paranoid bigot" in office, how smart is it to introduce yourself in this way? This reminds me of PCCC and the Grassley blooper reel.

        I would prefer if they just donated directly to candidates just like the telco pacs do. CREDO's partner carrier Sprint/Nextel has already sent $1K to Tom Latham and nothing to Boswell.

        I was a bit surprised Michele Bachmann wasn't on their list

        Bachmann might be the right bait to poach customers from AT&T:


        Credo's political marketing is also a boon for Sprint, the nation's third-largest phone company, said Ronald Goodstein, a marketing professor at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business.

        "Sprint benefits indirectly when Credo does well because Credo is pulling customers from AT&T and Verizon," Goodstein said. "Although they are not buying Sprint directly, Sprint is getting better capacity utilization of their services."

        Linking charities to a utilitarian product - like a cellphone - does not typically attract more customers, but a public personality, especially one as repugnant to liberals as Bachmann, could be very effective for Credo, he said.

        "They can say, 'These companies support wackos,'" he said. "There's nothing in the technology that differs anymore ... so now they are trying to relate to you politically.

        but if she benefits AT&T, she benefits Sprint and CREDO as well.

  • Better than nothing

    While I'm not aware of any previous on-the-ground action by CREDO Action, more organizers are definitely the best way to spend any campaign dollars.  Massive media buys in this district I think would be wholly ineffective. As an old field organizer, knocking those doors and making connections in a community really makes a difference, especially on the margins, which is where this race will definitely be won.

    However, I fear CREDO might bring in some "left coast" liberal kids to work in this district, and that could have very negative consequences.  I hope they make a commitment to hire local organizers (lord knows there are enough hanging around Iowa).

    I'm thinking of becoming a CREDO Mobile member myself when my current smart phone dies in a few weeks/months. I'm already on Sprint, so DesMoinesDem, how does it work for you?

    • don't have a smart phone

      so can't speak to that angle, but I've been satisfied with CREDO service.

      I would hope they hire local people as field organizers. I will ask.

  • press release update needed

    ten districts represented by Tea Party Republicans who are vulnerable in the 2012 elections, including Iowa's 5th district.

  • yes, they have

    Decide for yourself whether liberals have distorted King's meaning.

    and more people will agree with King in IA-04 than disagree. This is why CREDO should contribute to the Vilsack campaign directly and earmark for field instead of dancing and prancing around IA-04. What are they going to do, hire temps to double-knock on doors to argue the finer points on what fences do and don't do?

    There is a reason why Roxanne Conlin referred to undocumented residents as criminals who should be subjected to criminal charges. Why do you think she needled Grassley for having voted for amnesty under Reagan? Answer: because Iowans are very much against illegal immigration, and due to the federal government's failure in controlling the border, are increasingly in favor of physical barriers like fences or walls instead of more porous options.

    What is the purpose of Iowa's Fence Law? Simple, fences keep out wanderers and trespassers, usually assumed to be livestock. Human beings are more ingenious. After high school, I traveled extensively behind the Iron Curtain, before the physical boundaries were removed. Here is the reality of what it looked like, and how it worked in practice, depending on location/section:

    - barbed wire along the top of barriers (cement, steel)

    - rows of barbed wire along barriers

    - bundles of barbed wire at ground level to make approach difficult

    - electrified

    - double-walled with sharp edges

    - sentry stations and visible rifles pointed outward.

    The most well-known section was the Berlin Wall. Number of people who managed to cross w/o permission between 1961-1989? Almost zero. I remember a Communist parade celebrating "Stopping western fascism over 25 years." If I'd wanted to bolt and get across, I would not have been able to.

    Currently, there are sections of the US-Mexico border with a wall. Agents are intentionally "herding" livestock people to more difficult terrain like mountains. Any less cruel? Arguable, but with certainty we can say that it's less effective and more resource-intensive.

    This moral posturing by liberals is tedious. Steve King is not calling Central Americans cows to imply inferiority. He is talking about the efficacy of fences and barriers with additional impediments to manage the segregation of peoples, which differs from the livestock issue only because humans have higher intelligence, hence the need for additional engineering, which he oh, so carefully, explains.

    The majority in IA-04 will have no problem with the idea of a border "fence," and if asked what it will accomplish, are likely to answer that it keeps unwanted visitors out, much like a fence between neighbors prevents livestock from wandering across properties.

  • "People don't have babies anymore."

    People certainly don't have babies anymore, at least not like they used to. I think there's a pretty good consensus that increased availability of contraception does have a big impact on fertility rates. In the US right now, we're right around replacement level (thanks to the fact that the fertility rate is relatively high among immigrants - which is one good reason to relax immigration laws, congressman). But also, if you go back to King's original comment, he said (emphasis mine)

    We have people that are single, we have people that are past reproductive age, we have priests that are celibate. All of them, paying insurance premiums that cover contraceptives so that somebody else doesn't have to pay the full fare of that? And they've called it preventative medicine. Preventative medicine. Well if you applied that preventative medicine universally what you end up with is you've prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That's not- that's not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate we're a dying civilization.

    He's making a reductio ad absurdum argument that you can't treat pregnancy like a disease. He's also (in-eloquently) making the point that there are negative consequences to letting your fertility rate get too-low (for instance, see this article about Japan which is on the front page of Yahoo today: http://news.yahoo.com/japans-p... ).

    Now, there are plenty of people who think we should encourage a lower fertility rate as a form of population control, but that's another debate.

    When the congressman argues that pregnancy is not a disease and that increased contraception leads to lower fertility rates, he's right.

    • agree

      the replacement rate in the US is about 2.3 last time I looked, and women of European descent are below that.

      The Democrats in DC were quite worried about this around 2005-2006 because birth rates in conservative households tend to be higher. I can remember a panel discussion or two on how conservatives would "win" the battle of fertility rates. Then it was put aside thanks to Hispanic families.

      If you look at the distribution of large families in Iowa, you'll find them in heavily conservative areas and areas w/ a lot of immigrants.

      There are cities in Europe dying out because of this -- some Iowa towns as well.

      It is King's style that offends some liberals, apparently, but he does not offend me. I would not want him as my representative because I don't agree with his solutions; find him inflexible; and think he's an ineffective legislator. But I do not agree with what CREDO is putting out there as reasons to be "shocked, shocked." I also think these arguments are highly ineffective in the district, where most people are going to understand his intent the way we understand it.

      • Replacement level

        The total fertility rate in the US is about 2.05 (from 2005-2010 according to this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... ).

        Replacement level is about 2.1, so it appears we're sub-replacement now.  

        • yes,

          probably because the rate of immigration has slowed!

          2.1 sounds about right. The 2.3 is a number I read some time ago, and it will change every year, I imagine.

  • King not guilty on that charge

    I don't see that he has compared people to livestock.  He has said what works with livestock will work with people.  It's true.  

    If I said "Livestock in the desert need lots of water, and so do people," would you say I had compared people to livestock?

    Still I thought his fence was laughable.  He really is a paranoid bigot.  They got that right.

    Credo should hire Hispanics in Storm Lake and Denison to turn out the vote.  

    • this

      Credo should hire Hispanics in Storm Lake and Denison to turn out the vote.

      sounds like what Dems do in Baltimore, Philly, etc. Temp work come election time; GOTV because you're a target of racism, bigotry, etc. If you want to accuse King of playing xenophobic wedge politics to get out the conservative white vote, then we have to acknowledge that liberals do the same thing to get out the minority vote.

      I think this go-round, Romney/Rubio will benefit. Obama needs enthusiastic Hispanic turnout, while R/R only need to peel off a small fraction of the Hispanic vote (say, independents) to win.

      Flashback:


      The conservative tone of Martinez on immigration and other policies has helped her to secure overwhelming support from registered Republicans throughout the general election campaign, 83 percent in the most recent Albuquerque Journal Poll. Furthermore, the conservative policy platform of Susana Martinez garnered an endorsement from Sarah Palin during the Republican Primary and heavy support (94%) from those who say they are a part of the Tea Party movement, a population that is estimated by a recent Rasmussen poll to be 20% of the New Mexico electorate. The ability of a Latino Republican candidate to garner a significant share of Republican votes is far from surprising.

      What is interesting however is that Martinez is polling relatively well with Hispanic voters who have voted for Democratic candidates in large numbers in recent years- see Richardson trends cited above. Specifically, although the majority of Latino voters are projected to vote for Diane Denish, recent polls have Martinez garnering between 30 and 44 percent of the Hispanic vote (see table above). This is a greater share of the Latino vote than other Republican candidates in recent memory in New Mexico, and more importantly, may well be a large enough portion of this group to help off-set a significant Democratic advantage in registered voters across the state of New Mexico. This seems to support the work of scholars who find that large numbers of minority voters will cross party lines to support a candidate of their own racial and ethnic background when given a chance.

      I think what gets forgotten is that Hispanics who are able to vote do not have to worry about border crossing or anchor babies. So w/ the politics of polarization, which is what both conservatives and liberals engage in, you have to weigh whether the hoped-for Hispanic turnout in the district will offset the energized white conservative turnout when King plays victim. And this cycle, there's a good chance that this will affect top-of-the-ticket as well.

      What is interesting is that if Romney/Rubio put NH/FL out of reach, Iowa is an absolute must-win state.

      While I don't expect to find much support for my position on progressive blogs, I'll be very happy if this cycle sets up a conundrum for Dems. I abhor the politics of polarization and hate Dems going to the "get the racist" well every 2-4 years. The sooner the parties have to take minority bloc voters more seriously as Americans who have the same broad set of concerns as suburban whites, the better.

      • agree

        I could see Romney/Rubio getting 35-40 percent of the Latino vote.

        Iowa may not be "must-win." Kerry states minus NH plus NC and VA would get Obama to exactly 270. There are some other possible combinations without Iowa too. But then, if Obama's losing in Iowa it's hard to see him winning in some of those other states.  

        • "New South" strategy

          is a loser. I'll just say it now, will revisit as the conventions approach.

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