Weekend open thread: Stories of the year

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread.

I didn't post a year-end summary of Iowa politics news from 2013, but two big stories are obvious bookends: Senator Tom Harkin's decision in January not to seek re-election, and Representative Tom Latham following suit in December. Other important developments ranged from the surprising (a highly productive legislative session despite divided control) to the expected (Representative Steve King making national news with offensive remarks).

The Sioux City Journal compiled King's highlight reel for 2013. "Cantaloupe calves" seems destined to become a lasting catch phrase, and may stir nightmares for Republican strategists hoping to make inroads with Latino voters. But King can feel successful in that immigration reform now appears less likely to pass than it did early last year.

  • Interesting twist to IA House District 25 race.

    "Stan Gustafson, the Republican candidate for the Iowa House District 25 seat, was recalled in his last foray into elected office in California in 2005, he acknowledged this week.

    Gustafson, 71, of Cumming, was president of a service district board in California when he and two other members were recalled.

    According to a report by the Associated Press in 2005, Gustafson helped pass a plan to build a new sewer plant in Los Osos, Calif. While the plant was reportedly needed, the project would have cost homeowners between $1,000 and $4,000 each, plus a $200 monthly sewage charge.

    The plan for the new sewer system was scrapped after the recall election, according to the same report."


    • doesn't look good

      that he concealed part of his public service record, but he may have been right about the sewer system. The fact that he was recalled doesn't mean he made a bad decision in office.

  • The coverup is worse than the crime

    Ordinarily a new sewer plant would not be that controversial; however, a lot of the Republican base is opposed to essential goverment services.  Here in Iowa, a majority of the Lake Delhi community opposed incorporation because they would have had to spend money of roads and trash collection.

    This incident probably won't bring in any new votes for the Democratic candidate, but it might suppress the base suport for the Republican.

    • a lot of Republicans may have voted early

      for him already in the special. But this story could inspire someone to challenge him in the GOP primary this spring.

  • HD 25

    The Republicans could nominate Mr. C. Ment Block in that district, and Mr. Block would win 55-45.

    • probably true

      but I would not be surprised to see a Republican challenge to Gustafson in the primary later this year. The seat's going to be on the ballot again regardless of what happens in the special.

      • Like 'rolling blackouts'...

        ..Warren and Madison counties have been experiencing 'rolling elections' ever since Kent Sorenson resigned. First, the normal November local elections, then the first special election for Sorenson's senate seat, now this election for the house seat...then another round of elections next fall.  Considering the scheduling of these races, I'm reminded of New Jersey and C.Christie's handy election schedule that sent Booker to the US Senate, but kept his name out of the election that involved the governor there.  

        • I keep saying this

          In 1994 when Bob Dvorsky ran in a state senate special, he resigned from the House to save the special election cost. He had a close call in that Senate special, too; 16 inches of snow on election day...

          • that's the exception

            I don't think someone should be required to resign the House seat before running in a special for a Senate seat.

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