Five questions inspired by the Des Moines Register's IA-03 poll

Iowa’s third Congressional district Democratic primary has no clear front-runner, according to the first public poll of the race by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. If the June 5 election were held today, 27 percent of respondents would support Eddie Mauro, 26 percent Cindy Axne, 11 percent Pete D’Alessandro, 10 percent “none of these/someone else/would not vote,” and 26 percent unsure/refused to answer.

Mauro has the highest name recognition in this field–not surprising, since he comes from a well-known Polk County political family and began advertising on Des Moines television stations in mid-April, about two weeks before Axne and D’Alessandro did. Selzer found 42 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Mauro, 13 percent unfavorable, and 46 percent didn’t know enough to have an opinion, William Petroski reported for the Des Moines Register today. The comparable numbers for Axne were 33 percent favorable, 8 percent unfavorable, 59 percent unsure, and for D’Alessandro, 22 percent favorable, 10 percent unfavorable, 68 percent unsure.

I have no idea who will win the nomination. Five questions came to mind after reading Petroski’s write-up.

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The case for each Democrat running for Congress in IA-03

With less than three weeks remaining before the June 5 primary, many Democrats (including myself) are still undecided in the primary to represent Iowa’s third Congressional district. All three candidates left standing in the once-crowded field have raised enough money to run strong, district-wide campaigns.

This post focuses on how Cindy Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, and Eddie Mauro have presented themselves in stump speeches, direct mail, and television commercials aimed at Democratic voters.

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Diversity lacking on Iowa Democrats' new governing body

Both major parties held district conventions on April 28. One encouraging sign from the Iowa Democratic Party’s proceedings: activists are much more energized this year than usual. Every delegate slot was filled in all four Congressional districts. Quite a few alternates (including myself) did not receive credentials. According to former State Senator Jack Hatch, it was only the second time in 40 years that an IA-03 district convention “packed a full slate of delegates.” State party chair Troy Price observed in a Facebook post, “Typically, in a non-Presidential year it is a struggle to reach quorum, and this year we had more people than spots available.”

All of the district convention delegates elected at county conventions in March are automatically delegates for the state conventions in June. So the main order of business yesterday was choosing members of each party’s State Central Committee.

Both Democrats and Republicans will have lots of new faces on their governing bodies. But Democrats mostly missed an opportunity to elect leaders who reflect the diversity of the party’s base.

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IA-03: Every Democrat has the resources to compete (updated)

The Democratic campaign in Iowa’s third Congressional district is unlike any three-way race I can recall here. All of the candidates have raised enough money to get their message to voters district-wide before the June 5 primary. Disappointed activists won’t be able to claim later that their favorite could have won the nomination if only s/he hadn’t been drowned out by a better-funded front-runner.

Meanwhile, two-term Republican Representative David Young continues to amass a huge war chest, mostly thanks to a small army of corporate political action committees.

Highlights from the latest round of Federal Election Commission reports are after the jump.

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IA-03: Theresa Greenfield off Democratic primary ballot

Secretary of State Paul Pate did not certify Theresa Greenfield’s candidacy in Iowa’s third Congressional district today, following advice from Attorney General Tom Miller. The Iowa Democratic Party’s Third District Central Committee voted on March 26 to designate Greenfield as an “additional primary election candidate.” Miller declined last week to issue a legal opinion on whether the relevant portion of Iowa code applies to Greenfield’s circumstances. But in an analysis released today, the attorney general said the statute is intended “to encourage and ensure contested primaries” and “is not a do-over provision” for candidates who failed to qualify for the ballot through ordinary means.

I’ve posted the full statement and legal analysis from the Attorney General’s office after the jump, along with a statement from Greenfield accepting Miller’s conclusion. She could have filed a lawsuit challenging Pate’s refusal to certify her, but she probably would not have succeeded for reasons Bleeding Heartland discussed here and here.

The big question mark now is where Greenfield’s prominent supporters, including major labor unions, will land. Three Democrats are competing for the chance to take on two-term Representative David Young: Cindy Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, and Eddie Mauro. Although they agree on many issues, they have been making very different cases to voters. Each has well-known advocates in Iowa Democratic circles.

Axne angered some Greenfield backers by lobbying the central committee not to invoke Iowa Code 43.23, whereas Mauro promised last week not to challenge efforts to add Greenfield to the ballot. D’Alessandro helped Greenfield during her mad dash to collect new signatures on March 16.

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