Is door closing for other Republican candidates in IA-02?

State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks announced on October 7 that former Governor Terry Branstad has endorsed her candidacy in Iowa’s second Congressional district. A statement quoting the former governor and his son Eric Branstad is at the end of this post. Branstad named Miller-Meeks to lead the Iowa Department of Public Health when he took office in 2011, and she served in that role for a little more than three years.

Miller-Meeks, who was the Republican nominee in IA-02 three times previously, has been unofficially campaigning for months but only formally launched last week. The other declared GOP candidate is former U.S. Representative Bobby Schilling.

Although there is plenty of time for other contenders to announce–Miller-Meeks kicked off her 2014 campaign less than a month before the filing deadline–the signal from Branstad could discourage other Republicans from seeking this seat.

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As labor unions decline, income inequality grows

Labor Day should be about celebrating the many successes of the labor movement. The Economic Policy Institute has found, “On average, a worker covered by a union contract earns 13.2 percent more in wages than a peer with similar education, occupation, and experience in a nonunionized workplace in the same sector.20 This pay boost was even greater in earlier decades when more American workers were unionized.”

The percentage of U.S. workers represented by a labor union is lower now than at any point since World War II. That trend is among the factors contributing to income inequality not seen in this country since the 1920s.

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Where things stand in Iowa's Senate, Congressional races

Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the most intense phase of campaigning in election years. This holiday is also a good time to review the state of play in races for federal offices in odd-numbered years. Though new candidates could emerge at any time before Iowa’s March 2020 filing deadline–Patty Judge was a late arrival to the Democratic U.S. Senate field in 2016–it’s more typical for federal candidates here to kick off their campaigns by the end of summer the year before the election.

Thanks to Iowa’s non-partisan redistricting system, all four U.S. House races here could be competitive in 2020, and our Senate race is on the map–in contrast to 2016, when Senator Chuck Grassley’s re-election was almost a foregone conclusion.

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Axne, Finkenauer join Loebsack on assault weapons ban

All three Democrats representing Iowa in the U.S. House are now among 204 co-sponsors of a bill that would ban numerous forms of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

H.R. 1296 is modeled on the assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004. It would prohibit the sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of a wide range of semiautomatic weapons, including AK, AR, Thompson, and Uzi models, which have been used in various mass shootings. The bill would apply to shotguns with revolving cylinders or grenade launchers, as well as to any “semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.”

The bill would grandfather in any assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to its date of enactment.

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