The case for Jim Mowrer to run in Iowa Senate district 24

A lot of talented, hard-working Democrats lost last night. I can only imagine how exhausted and disappointed they feel. Among others, I’m thinking of Jim Mowrer. He fought the good fight against Representative Steve King, arguably better than King’s previous challengers, but the fourth Congressional district is too conservative for any Democrat to have a chance–especially in a Republican wave election.

Mowrer is so bright and capable, many Democrats will want him to stay involved in public service. Even Tom Harkin needed two tries to get elected the first time.

It occurred to me recently that Iowa Senate district 24 will be on the ballot in 2016. The district includes Boone, Greene and Hamilton counties, plus some areas in Webster and Story counties. A detailed map is after the jump. Boone County, where Mowrer grew up and now lives with his wife and children, contains more registered voters than Hamilton and Greene counties combined. Republicans outnumber Democrats in Senate district 24, but no-party voters outnumber both groups, and a lot more of them show up in a presidential year. Both Barack Obama and Christie Vilsack carried Boone County in 2012. Mowrer fell just short of matching King’s vote total in Boone yesterday, but he outperformed the top of the ticket by a lot in his home county. He also outpolled Bruce Braley in Hamilton and Greene counties.

Jerry Behn currently represents Iowa Senate district 24. Nancy Boettger’s retirement this year leaves Behn as the longest-serving Republican in the Iowa Senate, having won his first race in 1996. For about a year, he was minority leader, but he stepped aside shortly after failing to lead Republicans back into the majority in 2012. Stuck in the minority and locked out of caucus leadership for the foreseeable future, Behn may retire in 2016. His former right-hand man, Brad Zaun, has reportedly been telling people he won’t run for re-election again. Even if Behn seeks another term, Mowrer’s skill set and background would make him a stronger challenger than anyone Democrats have fielded against Behn lately. I’ve enclose Mowrer’s official bio below.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

P.S. – I know it’s “too early” to be talking about 2016, but you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t a political junkie.

Iowa Senate district 24 photo IowaSD24_zpsf7759eb2.jpg

From Jim Mowrer’s official bio:

Born and Raised with Iowa Values

Jim Mowrer grew up on a farm in Boone, Iowa. When Jim was just seven, his father was tragically killed in a farming accident, leaving Jim’s mother, Susan, to raise Jim and his sister Ruth Ann, by herself. It wasn’t easy – they had only Susan’s small salary and Social Security survivor benefits to pay the bills.

Jim worked hard and graduated from Boone High School and married his high school sweetheart, Chelsey. Today they have two boys, Carter (6) and Jack (3).

Called to Service for His Country

After the September 11th, attacks Jim wanted to give back and serve his country. So as soon as he graduated high school, Jim joined the Iowa National Guard, where he quickly moved up the ranks and was promoted to Sergeant after just two years of service.

In 2005, Jim’s unit was mobilized and deployed to Iraq. Serving as an Intelligence Analyst, it was Jim’s job to help locate IED’s or roadside bombs so they could be removed before causing harm.  Jim’s unit, the 1-133 Infantry Battalion, served the longest deployment of any unit in the Iraq War – 23 months.

Even while serving in Iraq, Jim finished college in between missions, earning a degree from the American Military University. Jim went on to earn Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University.

Working at the Pentagon to make the military more efficient

Jim returned to Iowa with his National Guard unit in 2007, but he returned to Iraq in 2009 as a civilian analyst and advisor to the Commander of US Forces.

In 2010, Jim was asked to serve as the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Army. At the Pentagon, Jim helped start and oversee the Army’s Office of Business Transformation – tasked with making the Army more effective, while saving tax dollars.

At the Pentagon, Jim also served as the Army’s lead representative to the Council of Governors, where he worked with America’s Governors to help coordinate Army bases and operations in individual states across the country.

Maintenance Notice - As of November 14, 2023 we are still seeing issues with replying to comments...Thanks for your patience, this will be restored.

  • Agreed

    Another thing I would love to see is Murphy boot Blum out in 2016.  It broke my heart to see this loss by a great, progressive Union guy.  But he almost pulled it off despite the Republican wave and the weakness at the top of the ticket.  I would hate to see him lose heart and cede the stage to “Democrat” Monica Vernon, who was all smiles last night at her “loss”.  

    • Murphy had his chance

      and blew it. The Screaming Pat ads were devastating, mostly because they were accurate.

      I’d like to see Anesa Kajtazovic try again, or maybe the timing this cycle would be good for Liz Mathis. Yet to see if Monica Vernon sank with the Hatch ship.

      • Interesting.

        Liz Mathis.  I would like to see her hold off and run against Ernst in 6 years.  No more phony sexism charges need apply.  If she were to win the Congressional seat in a Presidential year, we would be in danger of losing her in a midterm and then have no one with the chops to take on the Palin of the Plains.

        Anesa.  She might possibly be able to win in a Presidential election cycle and then work hard on constituent service and visiting rural counties to cement her seat.  It’s a good thing she didn’t run this time, she would have been destroyed in this cycle.  Murphy did better than Braley in rural counties, and I seriously doubt that she would have.  He did not pull the margins in urban areas that Braley did, but my guess is that that is due to a very Republican electorate this year.  The moderate urban Republicans were not comfortable with tea party crazy, but had no problem with Blum.  

        • moderate urban Republicans

          are about to learn that Blum will vote like a “tea party crazy” in the House.  

      • Anesa needs more experience

        to win a Congressional seat. Two terms in the Iowa House minority is not enough of a record to run on–especially against an incumbent.

    • Bill Bailey?...(I'm guessing he spells it that way as in "bail"ing hay.)

      You don’t think Braley will go for that seat?  Murphy already got stomped. 2016 will be another Republican year for president and it will get tough to beat an incumbent. Braley is at least pseudo-incumbent and has probably helped some constituents there that will remember.  

      • I don't see it

        Braley seemed to have his eye on the Senate seat. Doubt he has the interest in starting over in the House in two years, particularly when he can probably make a ton of money in DC.

        • When Braley won second term

          and played a key role in overthrowing Dingell for Waxman as Energy/Commerce chair, I though Bruce was playing for a long House career and a leadership track.

          Remember in late 2012 when everyone though he’s run for governor?

      • famous last words

        “2016 will be another Republican year for president.” I really don’t think so. If you won’t take my word for it, read this piece by Republican strategists Glen Bolger and Neil Newhouse. The GOP was able to take the Senate because small-population states that are solid for them are over-represented in the Senate. But those states don’t add up to 270 electoral votes for a presidential candidate. Excerpt from Bolger and Newhouse:

        Assuming that the Democrats replicate their 2012 electoral success with minority voters two years from now, and assuming that Hispanics grow as a percentage of the overall electorate, which they will, we calculate that Democrats will already have almost half (24 percent) of the votes they need to win a majority of Americans in 2016. To win 50.1 percent of the popular vote, we estimate, Republicans will need nearly 64 percent of the white vote – which would be a record for a non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate. Remember, Mitt Romney and John McCain won 59 percent and 55 percent of the white vote, respectively; and even in victory, George W. Bush took only 58 percent of the white vote in 2004. […]

        Republicans can win in red states. Tuesday should bear that out pretty well. But the challenge for the GOP long-term is winning in blue or purple states. Our success in states such as Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire on Tuesday may indicate that we’re getting back on track. That’s pretty important, because in 2016 we face the “Big Blue Wall” – the 18 states (plus Washington, D.C.) that have gone for the Democratic presidential candidate six elections in a row. They add up to 242 electoral votes, leaving the Democrats needing just 28 of the 183 electoral votes in the 18 toss-up states. Republicans were not able to put any Senate races in those Blue Wall states in play. Thus the GOP “strategy” is essentially to be perfect in purple states – not a game plan with a high probability of success.

        242 electoral votes from the “Big Blue Wall” plus Florida (which Hillary would carry) = a Democratic president.

        Or, 242 EVs from the “Big Blue Wall” plus some combination of states including Ohio/Nevada/New Mexico/Colorado/Iowa/New Hampshire (all of which went for Obama twice) can get a Democratic presidential candidate to 270 EVs pretty easily.

        • 2016

          I get very uncomfortable with the concept of proportional representation in the Senate.  It just comes across as elitist to me in a sense.  Either agree with us or we’ll just claim that your state should be irrelevant.  That argument has merits, but can’t we just talk to people?

          You get on the internet and you see liberals on Daily Kos, all kinds of different sites just bashing poor whites in West Virgina or hell rural Iowa……..aren’t we suppose to be the party that helps people reach their full potential?  They may call us names, but we should still help folks.  

          I agree with you on 2016.  I think there are just a ton of casual voters that are anxious to see a female President of the United States and Hillary doesn’t really offend these voters in any real way.  

        • 2016?

          That sounds like a lot of optimism but probably unlikely. I also don’t think Florida, Ohio or even Pennsylvania are going to be easy wins for Democrats. The bigger pendulum of our two party system shows that the out party gets mobilized in presidential elections. The next two years will grow the resentment for a lame duck president. Hilary will probably have an easy walk through the primary and leave Democrats asleep. The mobilized younger voter will come out conservative. The Republican nominee will do some pacification comment that panders to immigrants and keep the issue out of the election like a ninja. People will still be voting against Obama. The Democrats only chance would be to nominate somebody cool and different that somehow could remain policy separate from Obama. Maybe Sen Webb. He has some Reagan cred.  His campaign manager is a guru if he can get him to do another US election.  

          • that sounds like wishful thinking

            on your part. Eighteen states adding up to 242 electoral votes have gone for the Democratic candidate in at least the last six straight presidential elections. This Republican thinks the “Big Blue Wall” should also include NH, NV, and NM, which would bring the total to 257 electoral votes.

            Both of those calculations include Pennsylvania but not Ohio or Florida as part of the Big Blue Wall.

            The GOP’s problems with Latino and Asian voters go way beyond the immigration issue, by the way.  

    • we need a new candidate

      If Murphy couldn’t beat Blum, nominate someone who can. My dream candidate is Pam Jochum, but there are many other good Democrats who would be better positioned than Murphy.

      • Follow Minnesota's example...

        They have been outperforming National Democrats. In Minnesota they ask candidates to commit to running twice.  This builds campaign skills and expertise, not to mention the benefits of having a candidate with good name recognition in the area.  Murphy ran well in a very, very tough year.  He played well in the rural areas of the district.  This was a huge Republican wave election in which Iowa elected a loon to the Senate, and yet he almost won.  He has earned a chance to run during a Democratic (Presidential) year.  Demonizing and dumping a candidate for losing in such a climate seems like a huge waste.  

        Speaking of which, Jack Hatch.  The man just looks senatorial with that mustache gone doesn’t he!! lol

        I would love to see him match up against Grassley.  Sure, he lost and lost badly, but he was a sacrificial lamb going up against the popular and well funded Branstad.  He ran a good campaign given the limited funding, did well in the debates, had great commercials.  He now has statewide name recognition. It will be a Democratic favorable year, I think he would have a shot.  

  • That district would be tough

    I recently moved back home to Greene County. I think Chip Baltimore would be very well resourced and have friends with capabilities and networks beyond a typical state senate candidate. (Or any other Republican that entered.)  Chip has also actually lived in and been a part of the Boone network for a long time. It’s one thing to move away for military service. It’s different to move for a patronage appointment. Plus…I think he will have to pay those dues.

    I am guessing that Jim will be very engaged trying to whip delegates for Joe Biden across the state…and not just in 4th congressional district.  

    • if Behn doesn't retire

      Chip Baltimore will stay put.

      If Behn retires and Chip Baltimore runs for SD-24, Mowrer could run for House district 47.

  • How about Jim Mowrer...

    …for Iowa Democratic Party chair?

  • What?

    He should rewrite his bio so it doesn’t include that he was a military analyst that was able to earn a degree while deployed.  Vets will think words like “fobbit” and “pogue”. I’ve seen his feats listed juxtaposed to each other and it was more benign