Art Hackett is a Texas born and raised retired TV reporter. He worked in Dubuque in the late 1970s and spent 30 years as a magazine segment producer with Wisconsin Public Television. He moved back to Cedar Rapids in retirement to be close to grandchildren.
Let's discuss another day the apparent manipulation of the State Objection Panel's review process. The Republicans on the panel were rejecting signatures due to the lack of dorm room numbers on address lines, even though the Iowa Code doesn't require them. (I live in a single family home but perhaps they will want to know if I'm sleeping in the first or second floor bedroom.)
What concerns me right now is a flock of candidates who seemed to be shooting for the bare minimum number of signatures.
We're not talking about newbies here. Attorney General Tom Miller is anything but. I interviewed him the first time he ran when I was a rookie TV reporter. I've been retired for twelve years. Abby Finkenauer is running for a federal office for the third time.
Full disclosure: I've contributed to her Democratic primary opponent, Mike Franken. He had at least 50 people attend an event in Cedar Rapids during the signature collection period. No one appeared to be seeking signatures there. I signed a sheet offering to help but never heard back. Franken cut it close, too.
Here's a suggestion. All of these candidates have contributor databases. How hard would it be to spit out a list of contributors by county? Send them a letter saying something like this:
Thank you for your financial support. But right now I need your help with something more immediate.
I'll be in your community soon looking for people to sign my nominating petitions. If I don't gather those signatures all the money in the world won't help.
Can we get together for coffee and take care of this necessary paper work? We can talk about your concerns about our state and nation, too.
I can understand if the candidate can't do all of these events in person. Some could be delegated to key staffers.
But skating under the wire in so many cases gives the appearance that the candidates are more interested in spending time with their campaign consultants than with the voters. If the consultants suggested collecting signatures in this manner, they were peddling bad advice.
Top image: Part of a Tom Miller petition for Story County. A Polk County voter signed on the top line and a voter provided the incorrect date on another line. The State Objection Panel struck both signatures.