Matt Paul rules out running for Iowa Democratic Party chair

Matt Paul has decided against seeking to lead the Iowa Democratic Party for the next election cycle, he told Bleeding Heartland on July 3.

I’ve concluded that now is not the right time for me to make a run. I need to focus on my business and [the] Chair role requires beyond a full-time commitment. Much work to do on behalf of our party and I’ll help support the new chair and staff any way possible.

Having led Hillary Clinton’s campaign before the 2016 caucuses, Paul would have faced a skeptical audience among the roughly half of Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee members elected last year by Bernie Sanders delegates. The committee will choose a successor to Derek Eadon on July 22.

So far Julie Stauch and Bill Brauch are the only confirmed candidates for state party chair; you can read their statements here. Those who have taken themselves out of the running include Sandy Dockendorff, Laura Hubka, Blair Lawton, and Kim Weaver.

Kurt Meyer is still considering the race, he told me on Monday.

I’m “in discernment,” meaning I’m talking to people — and listening — to thoughts about the future of our Party. My intent is to make a decision soon. According to those I’ve heard from, we’ve lost six months that could have — and should have — been devoted to preparing our Party for 2018… without much to show for the passage of time. What does this mean? The challenge facing the incoming Chair is even greater than it was in January. There certainly are Individuals who can help the IDP “mark time” (serve as a caretaker); much rarer are those who can significantly advance our efforts and lead our Party to a state of readiness in 2018. Our Party has much to do… efforts that will clearly require many hands on deck. My aim is to determine how best I can be of service in light of the current situation and considering my commitments and responsibilities. Again, I hope to decide soon.

State Representative Chris Hall has not responded to requests for comment on his plans. On July 1, the ranking Democrat on the Iowa House Appropriations Committee published a hard-hitting guest column in the Cedar Rapids Gazette about Republican mismanagement of the state budget. Excerpts:

• Is it fiscally sound to make Iowa a low wage state so more taxpayers rely on government subsidies even while working full time?

• Is it fiscally sound to approve tax cuts without knowing how much they will actually cost?

• Is it fiscally sound to hold harmless corporate tax cuts that haven’t grown the state’s economy, while at the same time cutting public safety services and vital support to victims of domestic violence?

• Is it fiscally sound to hold harmless tax credits that have doubled in cost to the taxpayer over the past few years, while the companies that receive them pay no tax to the state in return?

• Is it fiscally sound to subsidize companies that would do business in Iowa regardless, and not require support as a startup?

• Is it fiscally sound to continue outdated tax breaks at the same time college tuition is increasing due to lacking state funds?

• Is it fiscally sound to allow tax credits to private companies to outpace growth in every other area of the budget, automatically and without legislative approval?

Some State Central Committee members have speculated that former Iowa Democratic Party executive director Troy Price may seek to replace Eadon. I’ve sought comment from Price, who has been working with State Representative Todd Prichard’s gubernatorial campaign, and will update this post as needed.

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