Iowa Senate district 36 preview: Jeff Edler vs. Dave Degner

Some sobering facts about the bloodbath that was the 2016 election in Iowa:

Donald Trump carried eighteen state Senate districts that had voted for President Barack Obama in 2012.*

Eleven of those eighteen were even-numbered districts, which are on the Iowa ballot in presidential election years.

The four Republicans who already represented Obama/Trump districts all easily won another term in the Iowa Senate.**

But six of the seven Democratic senators up for re-election in Obama/Trump districts lost: Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (Senate district 8), Mary Jo Wilhelm (Senate district 26), Brian Schoenjahn (Senate district 32), Steve Sodders (Senate district 36), Tom Courtney (Senate district 44), and Chris Brase (Senate district 46).

With Republicans now enjoying a 32-18 majority in the upper chamber, Democrats need to win back at least a few Obama/Trump seats next year to have a realistic chance of regaining Iowa Senate control after the next round of redistricting.

Democrats have been actively campaigning in Senate districts 8 and 44 for some time. Now GOP State Senator Jeff Edler has a strong challenger in Senate district 36.

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Elizabeth Warren can take on Washington corruption

Sandy Dockendorff is president of the Danville Board of Education and a longtime Democratic activist in southeast Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

As a rural school board member, nurse, parent, and grandparent, I’ve been looking for the presidential candidate who shares my vision for America — an America with great public schools, access to quality health care as a right, resources like broadband and child care in rural communities, and opportunity for struggling folks from all walks of life to gain economic security.

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Where are they now? Matt Whitaker edition

Matt Whitaker will become a managing director for the Kansas City-based Clout Public Affairs consulting firm, Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News was first to report on August 1. Whitaker served as chief of staff for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a little more than a year before President Donald Trump named him acting attorney general in November 2018, flouting a federal law and a constitutional requirement that anyone holding that position be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Whitaker stepped down as acting attorney general in February, after the Senate confirmed William Barr. He was “counselor in the associate attorney general’s office” for just a few weeks before leaving the Justice Department in early March. Jacobs tweeted on August 1, “There was speculation Trump would appoint Whitaker to another admin job, but the president so far hasn’t made any moves to do so, I’m told.”

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How politicians control coverage of their fundraising: A Joni Ernst case study

Some incumbency advantages in campaigns are inevitable, like higher name ID and greater ability to raise money from interest groups.

Others are undeserved.

Bleeding Heartland has noted before that Iowa members of Congress, especially U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, greatly influence media coverage of their activities. If these elected officials don’t brag about it in a news release or conference call with reporters, Iowans are unlikely ever to hear that it happened. As a result, stories that would shine an unflattering light on the senators largely stay out of the news.

Articles about campaign fundraising shouldn’t suffer from the same dynamic. Journalists can easily do original reporting without being on the ground in Washington. Anyone can access filings on the Federal Election Commission website and convey the key figures to readers.

Yet too often, what Iowans learn about political fundraising is largely written by campaign strategists.

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