The Des Moines Register poll shows Buttigieg can win Iowa. But...

The latest Iowa poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register, CNN, and Mediacom did what November Des Moines Register polls often do: shake up perceptions of the presidential race.

Buttigieg’s historic rise (I will show how historic in a minute) is stunning. While I am skeptical he is really ahead of everyone else by 9 points–another poll released on November 17 showed him 1 point behind both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden–the idea that he leads and is well over 20 is believable. But the horse numbers underestimate what Buttigieg has accomplished. He is the best-liked candidate as well as the one being considered by the most voters.

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Iowa's Ag department ignored repeated warnings from state auditors

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has not acted on advice to improve its management of financial transactions and databases “to prevent losses from employee error or dishonesty.”

For ten years running, under three different state auditors, reports have warned Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig or his predecessor Bill Northey that the IDALS accounting system does not conform to best practices and does not ensure that some divisions are collecting and depositing fees appropriately.

IDALS leaders have responded to each report with boilerplate excuses and non-sequiturs, instead of changing internal procedures to address the concerns.

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Guilty or not guilty? You decide

Miriam Kashia of North Liberty was one of five people arrested in June 2019 while attempting to enter a West Des Moines venue where President Donald Trump was headlining a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Iowa. The activists were seeking to call out the president’s climate denial to the hundreds of people in attendance. -promoted by Laura Belin

On November 12, I was tried for a simple misdemeanor trespass, along with four others. Our “crime” was for entering a privately owned parking lot while protesting for climate action at a Trump fundraiser in West Des Moines and refusing to leave. We pled “not guilty” based on a clause in Iowa Code that says in essence: if you are justified in trespassing, it is not illegal.

At this writing, the judge has not announced the verdict from the bench trial. I was not allowed to read the statement for my defense that I had prepared for the trial. I am sharing parts of it with the public here, so you can decide: guilty or not guilty?

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Deadline approaching to apply for Iowa Democratic satellite caucuses

Although the Democratic National Committee rejected Iowa’s plan to hold “virtual caucuses” by phone, some Iowans who are unable to attend their precinct caucus on February 3, 2020 may still be able to participate at some other location. But the Iowa Democratic Party will soon stop accepting applications to hold satellite caucuses.

What you need to know if you want to make alternate arrangements for caucus night:

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Hear Chief Justice Mark Cady's passionate appeal to combat implicit bias

Devastating news: Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady passed away on November 15, having suffered a heart attack.

Best known for writing the court’s unanimous opinion in the Varnum v Brien marriage equality case, Cady was a staunch supporter of civil rights. Since becoming chief justice in 2011, he was often the swing vote on Iowa’s high court and concurred in many 4-3 opinions.

Appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in 1998, Cady sometimes aligned with the high court’s conservatives–for instance, on upholding Iowa’s felon disenfranchisement system. Sometimes he joined his more liberal colleagues–for instance, on juvenile sentencing. Cady also authored last year’s opinion that found Iowa’s constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion. Seventeen months later, three of the five justices who joined that landmark ruling are gone. (Justice Bruce Zager retired, and Justice Daryl Hecht died.)

Bleeding Heartland intends to publish several reflections on Cady’s legacy in the coming weeks. For now, I want to share the chief justice’s remarks at the recent Iowa Summit on Justice and Disparities.

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