IA-Gov: Boulton, Hubbell lead in early legislative endorsements

State Senator Nate Boulton and Fred Hubbell have locked up more support among state lawmakers than the five other Democrats running for governor combined.

Whether legislative endorsements will matter in the 2018 gubernatorial race is an open question. The overwhelming majority of state lawmakers backed Mike Blouin before the 2006 gubernatorial primary, which Chet Culver won. Last year, former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge won the nomination for U.S. Senate, even though about 60 current and 30 former Democratic lawmakers had endorsed State Senator Rob Hogg.

Nevertheless, prominent supporters can provide a clue to activists or journalists about which primary contenders are well-positioned. Where things stand:

Seventeen current Democratic lawmakers announced their support for Boulton in May or June. They include most of his colleagues in the Iowa Senate:

Tony Bisignano
Joe Bolkcom
Tod Bowman
Bill Dotzler
Rita Hart
Pam Jochum
Kevin Kinney
Liz Mathis
Janet Petersen
Herman Quirmbach
Rich Taylor

Six members of the Iowa House are also supporting Boulton:

Bruce Hunter
Jerry Kearns
Brian Meyer
Amy Nielsen
Rick Olson
Art Staed

Four former state senators have endorsed him too:

Chris Brase
Tom Courtney
Steve Sodders
Brian Schoenjahn

LATE UPDATE: Boulton’s campaign announced endorsements from State Representatives Bruce Bearinger, Tim Kacena, Charlie McConkey, and Todd Taylor on September 28.

LATER UPDATE: State Representative Scott Ourth and former State Senator Gene Fraise are also supporting Boulton.

Note: Senate Minority Leader Hogg confirmed in July that he does not plan to endorse any candidate for governor before the 2018 primary.

Senator Bob Dvorsky was an early supporter of State Representative Todd Prichard for governor. Prichard ended that campaign last week and will seek re-election to the Iowa House in 2018. I’m seeking comment on whether Dvorsky is ready to back anyone else in the field.

This morning, Hubbell’s campaign announced endorsements from six current House Democrats:

Cindy Winckler
Mary Mascher
Helen Miller
Ruth Ann Gaines
Vicki Lensing
Mary Wolfe

Five former state senators also endorsed Hubbell:

George Kinley (a former Senate Majority leader)
Jack Hatch (the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor)
Staci Appel (the 2014 Democratic nominee for Congress in Iowa’s third district)
Frank Wood
Dennis Black

Eight former House Democrats are on the Hubbell endorsement list:

Kevin McCarthy (a former House Majority leader)
Wayne Ford (appeared in Hubbell’s campaign announcement video)
Mike Reasoner
Doris Kelley
Sally Stutsman
Joe Riding
Deborah Berry
Jane Teaford

Although he wasn’t named in today’s press release, former State Representative Daniel Lundby confirmed in an August 22 Facebook comment that he will support Hubbell. Lundby had previously backed Prichard, with whom he served in the Iowa House.

The Hubbell campaign hasn’t announced Patty Judge’s endorsement yet, but she was spotted at the Iowa State Fair on August 20, greeting fairgoers alongside Hubbell and wearing one of the green “Corn fed, Iowa bred, voting for Fred” t-shirts.

LATE UPDATE: State Senator Matt McCoy endorsed Hubbell on October 10.

State Senator Jeff Danielson endorsed Hubbell on October 11.

OCTOBER 18 UPDATE: The Hubbell campaign announced more supporters, including five current House Democrats:

Lisa Heddens
Dave Jacoby
Bob Kressig
Monica Kurth
Beth Wessel-Kroeschell

Also endorsing Hubbell: former House Minority Leader Dick Myers, former State Senators Pat Deluhery, Julia Gentleman, and Ralph Rosenberg, and former State Representatives Rick Dickinson, Paul Johnson, Dan Muhlbauer and David Osterberg. Worth noting: Gentleman was a Republican lawmaker back when pro-choice moderates were welcome in the GOP.

Rosenberg, Johnson, and Osterberg are well-known and highly regarded in the Iowa environmental movement. For many years, Hubbell has been among the largest Iowa donors to various non-profits doing work in that area, including the Iowa Environmental Council, for which Rosenberg served as executive director and I served on the board of directors. Fred and Charlotte Hubbell and I are all current members of the Iowa advisory council for the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center.

NOVEMBER 20 UPDATE: The Hubbell campaign announced an endorsement from State Representative Chris Hall.

JANUARY 25, 2018 UPDATE: State Representative John Forbes endorsed Hubbell, as did former State Senators Roger Stewart and Bob Rush and former State Representatives Bill Witt, Steve Falck, and Ro Foege.

To my knowledge, the only other Democratic gubernatorial candidate to be endorsed by state lawmakers is Andy McGuire, who has the backing of State Representative Phyllis These and former Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. (UPDATE: forgot to mention former State Representative Linda Nelson.) Leonard Boswell is also supporting McGuire; he led the Iowa Senate before being elected to Congress in 1996.

LATE UPDATE: McGuire’s campaign announced another batch of endorsements on September 7, including former members of Congress Dave Nagle and Mike Blouin, former Iowa Secretary of State Elaine Baxter, former Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie, and former State Representative Patti Ruff. McGuire was Blouin’s running mate during the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign.

LATER UPDATE: State Representative Marti Anderson endorsed John Norris on November 20, the same day the Norris campaign announced support from longtime Democratic campaign operative and 2014 nominee for secretary of state Brad Anderson. State Representative Jo Oldson, former State Representatives Brian Quirk, Andrew Wenthe, Mark Kuhn, Deo Koenigs, and Roger Thomas, and former State Senators Daryl Beall, Bill Hutchins, and Lowell Junkins also joined the Norris statewide steering committee.

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