Iowa Labor Commissioner Michael Mauro is considering another run for secretary of state in 2014, he confirmed in a telephone interview yesterday. If he runs, he will face Brad Anderson in a Democratic primary.
Mauro had thirteen years experience as Polk County elections director and another ten years as Polk County auditor and commissioner of elections before winning the 2006 election for Iowa secretary of state. A long list of county auditors, including quite a few Republicans, endorsed him for re-election in 2010.
Soon after Mauro narrowly lost that race to current Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Governor-elect Terry Branstad praised his professionalism as secretary of state. Branstad eventually nominated Mauro for the position of Iowa labor commissioner, saying he "has been a dedicated and effective public servant for many years."
Here are a few of Mauro's accomplishments as secretary of state.
In 2009, Mauro worked closely with the Cerro Gordo County Auditor to make electronic poll books available for use in counties across the state. The electronic poll books will enhance Iowa precinct officials' ability to process voters effectively and consistently on election day. In addition, the poll books add an extra layer of security to the voting process.
During the 2008 General Election, Iowa saw the fifth highest percentage turnout in the nation i and had the highest rate of young voter participation (18- to 24-year-olds) ii. Secretary Mauro's office also took the honor of having the top elections website in the country during the 2008 election season according to a leading national election research group iii. In the fall of 2009, Iowa's election laws and procedures implemented by Secretary Mauro gained national attention when the state ranked first in a study focusing on the ease of voting for members of the military and U.S. citizens living overseas iv. [...]
Since Mauro took office, much progress has been made in the business services division. In 2009, the development of a new corporations database is paving the way for online corporate filings beyond the biennial report. Currently, the majority of business filings are done electronically and advancements for additional filings will continue.
The online business center allows business to be conducted 24-hours a day, seven days a week and currently provides access to over three million filed documents and a complete array of forms, applications, and searchable databases for businesses, lending institutions and interested citizens.
Mauro said yesterday that he will decide sometime later this year whether to run for secretary of state again. The filing period for statewide candidates ends on March 14, 2014, but Mauro would need to start raising money and laying the groundwork for the June 3 primary before then.
Nearly a year and a half before the primary, Brad Anderson rolled out a campaign steering committee including Senator Tom Harkin, U.S. Representatives Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, former Governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver, former Lieutenant Governors Sally Pederson and Patty Judge, State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, several state legislators, and five former chairs of the Iowa Democratic Party. While Mauro holds a full-time job in state government, and therefore has limited time to campaign, Anderson will be able to do lots of events around Iowa this year. Many Democratic activists and volunteers are familiar with Anderson as the state manager for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign.
Anderson is a great campaign manager with access to the Obama For America database. Some may argue that makes him a better candidate to take on Matt Schultz, who has already defeated Mauro once.
I would counter that Mauro didn't lose by much (approximately 50 percent to 47 percent) in a horrendous year for many Democratic candidates in Iowa. He outperformed the top of the ticket.
Mauro has proven that he can do this job well. By all accounts Anderson is a bright and talented guy, and he's easily as qualified as some people who have been elected Iowa secretary of the state. But Mauro is on another level, and he doesn't view this job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
The Democratic establishment will likely pressure Mauro to stay out of this race. In addition to the long list of notables on Anderson's steering committee, the Iowa Democratic Party's new chair Tyler Olson was an early Obama endorser, and the party's new executive director Troy Price worked closely with Anderson on the 2012 Obama campaign. Democrats who want Mauro to take on this challenge should encourage him to do so.