Laura Belin

Three ways Mark Smith can restore faith in the Iowa Democratic Party

The Iowa Democratic Party released revised Iowa caucus results on the evening of February 18, following a recanvass of 79 precincts. Recanvass administrators changed delegate allocations in 26 precincts where the precinct chair did not properly apply the party’s rules on February 3, and revised results in three precincts after spotting data entry errors.

The adjustments shrank Pete Buttigieg’s delegate lead over Bernie Sanders to “almost nothing,” a Sanders news release declared: 563.207 state delegate equivalents to 563.127, to be precise. The Sanders campaign will request a recount in several precincts where results were not adjusted during the recanvass.

While the work of tabulating the Iowa caucus numbers nears its end, the work of restoring confidence in the process is just beginning. Events of the past few weeks exposed serious flaws in the party’s operations.

After being chosen to succeed Troy Price as state party chair on February 15, State Representative Mark Smith told reporters, “Priority number one is to get out across the state and to talk to everyday Iowans and restore the faith in the Iowa Democratic Party.” A few places he could start:

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Where things stand in Iowa's second Congressional district

Part of a series catching up on Iowa’s 2020 races for federal offices.

Republicans and GOP-aligned interest groups did not make a serious play for Iowa’s second Congressional district in the 2016 or 2018 elections, but this seat covering 24 counties in southeast Iowa is expected to be much more competitive this year, due to U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack’s retirement.

As the filing period for state and federal candidates approaches, both parties still have two declared candidates in IA-02, but the front-runners–former State Senator Rita Hart for Democrats and State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks–have further consolidated their positions.

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Am I a member of the media? Iowa Republican leaders still say no

A number of readers and some journalists have asked me recently whether I was able to resolve the credentialing problems I experienced last year.

The short answer is no. Despite being warned that their press credentialing policies “suffer from serious constitutional deficiencies,” leaders in the Iowa House and Senate and staff in Governor Kim Reynolds’ office continue to deny me access to resources they provide to most other reporters who cover state government.

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Guidelines for guest authors covering Iowa Democratic primaries

With the Iowa caucuses in the rear-view mirror, political attention will soon shift to other important campaigns.

Five Democrats are competing for the U.S. Senate nomination. Two are running in Iowa’s second Congressional district, and two of the most competitive state Senate races have multiple declared Democratic candidates as well. During the filing period for state and federal offices, which begins on February 24 and runs through March 13, I expect competitive Democratic primaries to take shape in other races as well.

Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts about elections at all levels, including those urging readers to support a certain candidate in a Democratic primary. Once writers hit the “submit for review” button, their commentaries are “pending” until I approve them, to block spammers. But I publish all substantive, non-spam pieces.

If you do not already have a Bleeding Heartland user account, get in touch with me, so I can set one up for you and explain the process.

My advice for anyone wanting to write about any 2020 Democratic primary:

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