Saying he is the “compromise candidate” best positioned to unify the Iowa Democratic Party and bring back blue-collar workers who swung to Donald Trump, Bob Krause e-mailed Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee members late Friday night to announce his candidacy for state party chair.
Krause served in the Iowa House during the 1970s and in recent years has been an outspoken advocate for veterans as president of the Des Moines-based Veterans National Recovery Center. He sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2016, finishing a distant second in the 2010 primary and fourth in 2016. Krause also explored a candidacy for governor in 2014 before leaving that race to endorse Jack Hatch.
I enclose below Krause’s message to Iowa Democratic leaders, who will hear from contenders on December 17 and vote for a new chair in January. Krause’s comments about the shortcomings of the Vote Builder database echo frustrations I’ve heard from quite a few down-ballot candidates and activists.
The others seeking to lead the state party, in order of their official announcements, are Kim Weaver, Sandy Dockendorff, Blair Lawton, Derek Eadon, Kurt Meyer, Julie Stauch, and Mike Gronstal. Click here for background on each. Bleeding Heartland has published commentaries by Stauch, Meyer, and Eadon, and I hope to run guest posts by the other candidates soon.
UPDATE: Krause also posted an announcement video on Facebook late on December 9.
E-mail Bob Krause sent to Iowa Democratic leaders on the evening of December 9:
KRAUSE ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR CHAIR OF IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY
Dear IDP State Central Committee Member:
Today I join with the many other fine candidates running for chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. 2017 is the pivotal year for the very survival of the party. We will be tested as never before. The series of landslide defeats over multiple years has marginalized us and opened us to splintering and realignment.
To be effective first as an opposition party, and then as a regaining majority party we need to look inward. My take is that first we walked away from our roots, and then our roots walked away from us. Blue collar Democrats have been the backbone of our party since FDR. There were signals of pain both from organized labor and the working poor on plant floors and offices. During my Senate run, labor leaders were telling me as early as March that Trump fever was running amok. As chair, I can participate in the fix.
· I am the compromise candidate best suited to bring the IDP back together. Critically, I remained proactively neutral in the Presidential race. I defended both from GOP attacks when they came, attended rallies for both candidates, and only endorsed after [Bernie] Sanders conceded. Then during the general election, I focused on bringing Bernie’s people back into the fold via social media.
· I am known as a Democratic loyalist. I supported both Roxanne Conlin and Jack Hatch when I did not become the nominee. When another US Senate candidate [Tom Fiegen] bolted the party and asked people to vote against down ticket Democrats in 2016, I stayed with the IDP and participated in Veterans for Judge. During the entire campaign, I continuously attacked Grassley and Trump on social media. I still do today, and will continue to attack the opposition regardless of what happens in this race.
· I have high name recognition and know many of the rank and file throughout the state because of my run for US Senate. I have met with many Democrats in the state and remain respected by most. This saves time in getting a fix in place. Although I will circle the state, I am already a known quantity and will need no introductory period.
· Finally, during my US Senate campaign I spoke directly to the historically Democratic group that we lost – blue collar workers. I was the first to emphasize the minimum wage, income inequality and the impact of trade on working families. This is a weapon that I will use to build a record for Iowa Democrats going into the 2018 election.
My plan is to build a coordinated issues campaign from the first day of the Iowa General Assembly and the first day of the administration of Kim Reynolds.
· The Divide. The ill-will between some Bernie and Hillary supporters lives on. I will do a 99 County Unity Tour to bring the disparate factions back to the same table.
· Legislature. While each campaign for the legislature is individual, issues are cross cutting across the state. By the end of the session (s) we will have an issues manual focusing on key issues and votes that orchestrate our Democratic theme. We will work with Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate to insure that there are amendments and record roll calls on the issues we wish to spotlight. This base for the manual will make the most novice candidate sound like a seasoned veteran and we will have workshops to implement it.
· Enhance the Natural Regions. IDP will work to better develop the regional fundraiser events such as the Wing Ding that have surfaced across the state.
· Enhance the Identify Caucuses. IDP will work with the Identity Caucuses to develop fundraising peculiar to their interests. We ask them to use some of these cash resources to identify their voters and leaders through the VAN/Vote Builder.
· Rebuild the Philosophy of the VAN/Vote Builder. Several years ago the DNC took Iowa’s pioneering VAN away from us and replaced it with the nationally focused Vote Builder. Under the old VAN, as a chair of the Iowa Democratic Veterans Caucus, I was able to identify over 75,000 veterans. When I purchased Vote Builder access years later, there were less than a couple dozen. Vote builder has lost its way. Instead of being a collective effort by candidates through the years to build better lists, the hard work of volunteers is taken outside the party and sold on the market. Unlike the VAN, each campaign now has to build its own base from scratch. This ‘no free ride’ philosophy is self-defeating. I will work for a philosophy that our candidates start with a fairly good list – not end the campaign with an inadequate list.
· Start the Candidate Selection Process Early. As Democrats we have no excuse to leave ballot positions unfilled – especially at the local level and up. The IDP will have EARLY showcase events to spotlight all potential candidates – not only at County gatherings – but at regional and state gatherings.
In conclusion, we now have a President-elect without a national mandate, but with a mandate from his core supporters. And we have lost our mandate to mitigate the damage here in Iowa. Likewise, we now have a President- with an avowed dislike the diversity, civil liberties and sense of fair play that made America. And, as Senator Grassley so aptly put it: we now have a President-elect with a mandate from core supporters to reshape the Supreme Court not to our liking for the next 40 years.
Where the fight on principle needs to happen, we must continue to fight. The protection of civil rights, human rights and civil liberties is high ground that we must defend. The marginalization of the middle class and the abandonment of the working poor is something we must fight. 50 years of progress in environmental law must be defended.
We cannot afford to lose our dreams as Democrats. We need to fix, to patch, to mend and to build. For Iowans will soon recognize that the hit and run that has occurred was an 18 wheeler running over their own dreams. When that day happens, we as Democrats will be ready to re-assume leadership of Iowa and the nation.
I ask for your support as IDP chair as a first step in girding for the battle to come.