Weekend open thread: Iowa Democratic district conventions edition

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

The Iowa Democratic Party's conventions in the four Congressional districts yesterday elected 29 delegates and four alternates for the Democratic National Convention as well as members of various party committees.

Unlike 2008, when Barack Obama gained significant ground at Iowa's county and district conventions, this weekend's allocation of delegates for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was the same as what would have been predicted based on the February 1 precinct caucus results. The Iowa Democratic Party released this table on April 30:

IDP district convention delegates photo IDPdistrictconventions_zps5ibx8ljl.png

I'll update this post later when the full lists of delegates and State Central Committee members become available. Some notable results are after the jump.

State Senator Rita Hart was elected a Clinton delegate from IA-02. State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad and Sean Bagniewski, a key figure at the Polk County Democratic Convention, were elected male Clinton delegates from IA-03.

Former State Senator Staci Appel, the 2014 Democratic candidate for Congress in IA-03, just missed out on a female Clinton delegate slot. Josh Hughes, a Drake University student who is also the youngest elected school board member in Iowa right now, was third in the balloting for two male Clinton delegate positions at the same convention. A few more delegates to the DNC will be chosen at this summer's state convention.

UPDATE: Zach Wahls, known for his marriage equality activism since 2011, won one of the male Clinton delegate slots in IA-02.

Some of the Sanders supporters vying for DNC delegate slots in IA-02 flew the "Bernie or Bust" flag. Why would you want to go to the Democratic convention when your candidate has essentially no hope of becoming the nominee, and you won't support the likely nominee against the Republican alternative?

Fortunately, ugly scenes such as those that marred the Polk County Democratic Convention in March did not develop at any of the district conventions. However, the gatherings still dragged on way too long.

Although delegates shared some fun bonding experiences--singing classic American songs to pass the time in IA-02 and finding a prom date in IA-01--the state party needs to introduce a more efficient method for choosing delegates and committee members. The IA-03 convention ran until nearly 1:00 am, and delegates in IA-02 didn't adjourn until after 1:30 am. I don't know exactly when the other meetings ended, but delegates worked into the evening in IA-04 and until late evening in IA-01 (I'm told after 11:00 pm). There must be fair ways to speed the process along, perhaps through instant runoff voting. Spending five hours to elect four delegates is unacceptable.

Judging by social media posts by various convention delegates, yesterday's platform debates were more tedious than contentious. The most controversial proposal was a plank registering opposition to superdelegates as part of the presidential nominating process. That plank passed in IA-02 and failed by only one vote in IA-03. (The issue didn't come up at the IA-04 convention.) Expect this to be the biggest platform fight at the state convention, largely playing out as a proxy war between Clinton and Sanders supporters. Almost all of Iowa's superdelegates publicly endorsed Clinton before the caucuses. I support eliminating superdelegates, though that reform alone wouldn't solve all of the problems surrounding unrepresentative allocation of DNC pledged delegates. UPDATE: According to someone who attended the IA-01 convention, the plank opposing superdelegates was part of the "minority report" on the document approved by the district platform committee. Delegates did not debate specific planks in IA-01, because it was approximately 10:30 pm before they got to the platform part of the agenda.

Sanders supporters managed to elect several new Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee members, including Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry.

Democratic candidates for Congress and U.S. Senate also took advantage of the chance to speak to committed party activists yesterday. The big news was AFSCME and the Iowa Federation of Labor supporting Rob Hogg in the four-way Senate primary, which Bleeding Heartland covered here. James Q. Lynch reported for the Cedar Rapids Gazette on the Senate candidates' remarks at the IA-01 convention in Van Horne (Benton County).

Patty Judge asked Democrats to help her "send Chuck Grassley home to mow his lawn," a reference to one of Grassley's 2010 campaign ads, which showed him using three lawnmowers tied together.

Fiegen touted his opposition to the Bakken pipeline and claimed to be the only candidate in the Senate field who supports the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against drainage districts in three northwest Iowa counties. Hogg disputed Fiegen's assertion. For more on where Hogg and Judge stand on the Water Works lawsuit, see this Bleeding Heartland post.

Final note: on Friday, the Sanders campaign dropped its lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee over a temporary loss of access to the voter file in December. Meanwhile, "A DNC investigation, the results of which were also released Friday, concluded that the wrongdoing did not go beyond the four Sanders staffers who accessed the database and were fired soon after the incident came to light." David Atkins and Pat Rynard explained at the time how the Sanders staffers used the data breach to obtain information about the Clinton campaign.

SECOND UPDATE: According to Christian Ucles, who recently joined the Iowa Democratic Party's staff as convention director, here's the generational breakdown of DNC delegates elected at the four district conventions:

15 Millennials
10 Generation X
6 Baby Boomers
2 Silent Generation

I'm shocked there aren't more from the baby boomers and silent generation.

A reader asked my why the state delegate numbers for Clinton and Sanders are different from the totals the Iowa Democratic Party released after the March 12 county conventions (704 for Clinton, 700 for Sanders). I checked with the IDP's communications director Monica Biddix to confirm that the disparity was because some district convention delegates elected from their counties did not show up on Saturday. However, they will still be entitled to attend the June 18 state convention.

  • Minority Report

    Don't know if it matters, but in reviewing my platform, the question about Super-delegates was a minority report, not an amendment. The minority report would've replaced an existing plank (apparently a bipartisan agreement) that was thrown on in platform committee that supported "reducing the number of Super-delegates." So either way, the 3rd District is in favor of limiting super delegate numbers. I would expect to see a similar debate at state, as you said.

  • 1st District

    All four of the senatorial candidates spoke to the 1st District Convention on Saturday. On my unofficial applause meter, Rob Hogg got the most enthusiastic reception, followed by Tom Fiegen, with Patty Judge decidedly third and Bob Krause fourth. To be sure, Fiegen’s popularity was most evident on the side of the room where the Sanders delegates were seated.

    I haven’t been paying attention to know if there is any publicly available polling on this race. That would be interesting.

  • 1st District Additional

    There was more dilly-dallying in the morning than usual, so that we only got to cast one ballot before lunch - for male state central committee. The great time-saver would be to have an effective convention leadership, especially Credentials Committee and Rules and Nominations Committee.

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