That assessment of Francis Thicke’s incredible grassroots campaign for Iowa Agriculture Secretary came from food writer Michael Pollan via Twitter. Another assessment, via a pollster, is that it’s winnable, but more about that below.
For people who care about what they eat and how much they pay for it, Pollan’s tweet is not hyperbole. It is a tribute to an organic dairy farmer with no prior political experience who has put together a professional statewide campaign, and is now within three percentage points of a well-financed Republican. Francis Thicke (pronounced Tickee) does have experience in government. He worked for the USDA after getting his PhD in Agronomy, and he has been advocating policies like reducing the concentration of market power in agriculture for years. But with this campaign, he is trying to get his hands on the government machinery and change what it does.