Quick hits on the race in IA-03

Here's a new thread for any comments on the race between David Young and Staci Appel in Iowa's third Congressional district. Some stories that caught my eye in the last few days:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shared with Roll Call partial results from a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll taken on October 1 and 2, which showed Appel ahead of Young by 49 percent to 42 percent, with 9 percent undecided. That's a bigger lead for Appel than in the previous DCCC poll, despite weeks of Republican attacks on the phony "passports for terrorists" issue.

Speaking of which, I agree with Kathie Obradovich's take (excerpted below) on the way the candidates handled "passports for terrorists" during their second debate.

Young's campaign released a memo yesterday hailing some $800,000 in third-quarter fundraising and an internal poll allegedly showing Young ahead. I've enclosed that memo and the Appel campaign's response at the end of this post. The polling firm Tarrance Group used strange methodology. Whereas the survey toplines showed Young leading by 43 percent to 41 percent, with other candidates taking 6 percent and 10 percent undecided, the Tarrance Group claimed Young was ahead by 47 percent to 43 percent based on "projected turnout."

I look forward to digging into the details of the third-quarter FEC reports, which should be released by October 15. I would expect GOP donors to flock to Senator Chuck Grassley's longtime top aide. But I don't understand why Young would cancel television advertising time if his campaign was bringing in so much money in the third quarter. Even if he used some of the money to pay off debts incurred during the second quarter, he should have had plenty left over for a full-court press on television.

The DCCC has increased its television advertising buy in the Omaha market, which covers roughly 20 percent of the population in IA-03. To my knowledge, neither Young nor the National Republican Congressional Committee has aired tv ads in Omaha lately.

The DCCC has been running radio ads bashing "DC David Young" for supporting tax breaks for the wealthy, even as he backs cuts to education funding (such as eliminating the U.S. Department of Education). A similar television spot has been on the air for a while. Although education funding and tax policy are important issues, I suspect most voters tune out cookie-cutter negative political advertising.

Conservative blogger Shane Vander Hart thinks Young has problems with the GOP base because of some comments on abortion, his qualified support for a minimum wage increase, and legal residency for some undocumented immigrants. News flash: IA-03 is a swing district. Young has to communicate some level of moderation on at least a few issues. Vander Hart's comments make me wonder whether hard-core conservatives will go for Libertarian candidate Ed Wright as a protest vote.

I've enclosed below excerpts from Young's comments to the Des Moines Register's editorial board about how to handle an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

Excerpt from Kathie Obradovich's column in the October 10 Des Moines Register:

Young objected to Appel trying to revise her previous comments. "You can't take these things back when you are a member of Congress. Your vote is your vote. You need to be decisive. You need to show leadership. You said that in the first debate. It is on the table." [...]

I asked Young whether he would hold himself to the same standard: A public statement is the same as a vote, and it can't be retracted even in the event of a mistake or in the face of new facts.

"I think it's the standard that should be given to all members of Congress and all candidates as well," he said.

It's a ridiculous standard and one too often applied in politics. A remark made during a political debate may become part of a candidate's record, but it's not the same as a vote in Congress. No one carved Appel's words on stone tablets on Mount Sinai. She has not voted on anything dealing with terrorists' passports.

There is or should be room for a candidate, upon further reflection, to clarify or even retract statements that she comes to realize are misleading or wrong. Part of Appel's problem, however, is she seems reluctant to say she was mistaken. Asked if she misspoke, she said, "I think I was very clear. Maybe I wasn't clear enough in the last debate." [...] She should have been the first to say she fumbled her previous remarks as she worked to set the record straight. The ability to admit occasional mistakes actually improves credibility rather than undermining it.

Excerpts from Young's comments to the Des Moines Register's editorial board, published in the Register on October 9:

"I would allow them to be guest workers - all who want to be," without immediate full rights of citizenship, Young told Des Moines Register editors and reporters on Wednesday. He added he would let all undocumented persons apply for the program, provided they don't have a felony record or another barrier to preclude participation.

Some parallel status could be provided for non-working spouses and children of the immigrant workers as well, said Young, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District.

"No, I am not one who wants to round up and deport people; that is not me, and that is not our country," he added. [...]

A guest worker program would allow people who are now undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, get a paycheck and not be worried about going to jail. "They may not get all the rights of U.S. citizens, but we have had programs before," he noted. He was referring to the Bracero program, which allowed for the importation of temporary contract workers from Mexico to the United States between the early 1940s to the 1960s.

A pathway to citizenship is eventually going to come, Young said. But he believes a narrow piecemeal approach to immigration reform would work best at this point because the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill has many issues that need to be pored through, such as delegations of authority to the administration.

Young for Iowa press release, October 10:

MOMENTUM: Young leads in poll, raises nearly $800,000 in latest fundraising quarter

Campaign shows momentum heading into the final 25 days

(DES MOINES) - The Young for Iowa campaign today released a new poll showing David with a clear lead over his opponent. Using the very latest registration and turnout projections, the poll shows David with a 4 point advantage.

"We feel very good about these numbers," said Campaign Manager Cory Crowley. "The Tarrance Group has accurately predicted races in Iowa for Senator Grassley and Congressman Latham for years. This latest poll reflects the momentum David is feeling on the campaign trail including on his tour of every county in the district with Senator Grassley last week."

The campaign also announced today that it raised close to $800,000 in the past 90 days. This strong fundraising is another measurement of the intense momentum behind David.

"We have received support from across the district, and I'm proud we are able to report such strong numbers, from polling to contributions," said Young. "I continue to travel throughout the district, and the message I hear is resoundingly clear: we need someone who will balance the budget, work across the aisle to tackle tough issues, and most importantly someone who will listen. I pledge to be a strong leader for this district in Congress, and am excited to get to work."

In these final 25 days, Young says he'll continue capitalizing on the momentum with visits across the district leading up to election day.

Appel for Iowa press release, October 10:

Following is a statement from Appel for Iowa Campaign Manager Ben Miller on Washington insider David Young's 3rd quarter fundraising and polling memo:

"The reality is that Washington insider David Young has had to cancel round after round of TV ads, but Staci Appel has the resources to hold him accountable for his agenda that would eliminate the Department of Education so he can slash taxes for the wealthy. Just yesterday, Roll Call reported that Appel is leading Washington insider David Young 49 percent to 42 percent making it clear that Staci is the only candidate voters trust to stand up for middle class Iowans."

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