Weekend open thread: 2012 Iowa county conventions edition

The Iowa Democratic Party and Republican Party of Iowa held county conventions today. After the jump I’ve posted some notes on where Iowa politicians and candidates spent the day, and which Democrats addressed the Polk County Democratic convention. I left the convention during the lunch break, because delegates had finished most of the day’s business, including all work on the platform. However, the Polk County Republican convention was still going strong at this writing (around 5 pm).

This is an open thread; all topics welcome, especially county convention stories from today or years past.

Rick Santorum destroyed the competition in today’s Kansas caucuses, winning 52 percent of the vote to 21 percent for Mitt Romney, 14 percent for Newt Gingrich and 13 percent for Ron Paul. Romney swept the delegates at stake yesterday and today in the Guam and Northern Marianas Islands caucuses. Romney also won the Wyoming caucuses and most of the delegates from the Virgin Islands.

BONUS POTENTIAL FLAMEWAR TOPIC: Kevin Drum makes a counter-intuitive case: Return of the Jedi is the best Star Wars movie, especially if you take out the 10 minutes of horrific Ewok sequences. Thoughts?

The most interesting rumor I heard in the hallways today was that State Representative Kim Pearson has decided to run for re-election after all. Pearson announced in January that she would not seek a second term in the Iowa House. Jim Carley is running as a Republican in her district, and the Iowa Farm Bureau may also be recruiting a candidate here. When I contacted Pearson this afternoon, she said she had heard the same rumor but is not running for re-election.

County conventions provide an excellent opportunity for candidates to get to know party activists. Many Congressional and statehouse candidates attended multiple conventions today. In the first Congressional district, Republican Rod Blum appeared at the Linn, Black Hawk and Fayette County conventions, according to his Twitter feed. Incumbent Representative Bruce Braley did not attend county conventions today, because he’s en route to Iwo Jima today with a group of WWII veterans.

In the second Congressional district, Republicans John Archer and Dan Dolan both visited seven county conventions on Saturday, according to their updates on Facebook and Twitter. CORRECTION: Dolan posted later that he visited nine conventions. Both he and Archer ended the long day in Louisa County. Incumbent Dave Loebsack and possible primary challenger Joe Seng were both expected to appear at the Scott County Democratic convention. UPDATE: Loebsack dropped by the Johnson County Democratic convention too.

These elected officials and Democratic candidates mingled with delegates or gave short speeches to the Polk County convention today.

State Senator Jack Hatch

State Senator Dick Dearden

State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad (he also delivered the invocation)

State Representative Bruce Hunter

State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines

Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald

Polk County Treasurer Mary Maloney

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie

Altoona Mayor Skip Conkling

Des Moines School Board member Connie Boesen

Marti Anderson, candidate in House district 36 (open with Janet Petersen running for the Iowa Senate)

Cara Kennedy-Ode, another candidate in House district 36

Joe Riding, candidate in House district 30 (open with Kim Pearson retiring)

John Forbes, candidate in House district 40 (open with Scott Raecker retiring)

Susan Judkins, candidate in House district 43 (against incumbent Chris Hagenow)

John Phoenix, candidate in House district 69 (against incumbent Kevin Koester)

Desmund Adams, candidate in Senate district 22 (against winner of Pat Ward/Jeff Mullen primary; Adams also attended the Dallas County Democratic convention)

Unfortunately, I didn’t write down the name of the woman who’s running against Erik Helland in the new House district 39. She’s about to graduate from Drake Law School. UPDATE: She is Kelsey Clark, who grew up in Grimes and went to Drake for undergrad and law school.

Representative Leonard Boswell didn’t attend the Polk County Democratic convention (at least not in the morning). I assume he was elsewhere in the district and will update this post with details. CORRECTION: Bleeding Heartland user Van Perkins notes in the comments that Boswell did turn up at the Polk County convention around 1:25 pm. Boswell’s opponent, Republican Representative Tom Latham did attend the Polk County GOP convention.

Christie Vilsack was scheduled to appear at the Franklin, Cerro Gordo and Hancock County conventions in the fourth Congressional district. I will update this post with information on where her opponent, Representative Steve King, spent the day.

I did not see Iowa House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy today at the Polk County gathering. I assume that means he was out recruiting candidates in other counties. To my knowledge, Democrats still lack declared candidates in the new House districts 95 and 96; both are open seats.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Sue Dvorsky spoke to delegates in Polk County and was scheduled to appear at the Warren, Dallas, Pottawattamie, and Carroll county conventions as well.

UPDATE: John Deeth notes in the comments that “uncommitted” reached viability at the Johnson County Democratic convention. Good for them!

Iowa House Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Kaufmann announced at today’s county conventions that he will run for the Cedar County board of supervisors and not for a fifth term in the Iowa House. Kaufmann’s district (the new House 73) has a slight Democratic voter registration advantage and will definitely be in play as an open seat. I will always remember Kaufmann for his classic close encounter with a live mic last year.

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  • Johnson County

    I was in the Credentials Bunker and missed the speeches. Uncommitted reached viability;


  • 95 and 96

    Unfortunately I forgot the name but a legislator told me there is a Dem in HD95. 96 is only semi-open, Republican Lee Hein moved in what I call a My District Just Not My House  move (see also Heddens, Mascher) and to get out of a pair up with a fellow Republican, the doomed Brian Moore.

    The seats I’m wooried about in recruitment are the Council Bluffs seats. Mark Brandenburg is very beatable in 15.

    Any word from Cedar County Republicans? I’ll bet anything the Jeff Kaufmann replacement debuted today.

    The District Of The Day rewrite should hit next Saturday or Sunday depending on how many last second surprises we get.

  • The candidate in HD 39

    Running against Erik Helland is Kelsey Clark, life-long resident of Grimes, and a very good friend of mine.

  • Boswell did show up

    At about 1:25 pm.

  • The entertainment from the repubs

    Geeze, I can’t believe that I must be the only one who is delighted over the hate fest going on over at TIR.