# David Young



Republicans spending big on Des Moines area legislative races

The Republican Party of Iowa has reserved more than $1.1 million in television air time for six candidates seeking Iowa legislative seats in the Des Moines metro area, and will likely spend hundreds of thousands more to promote them on television during the final stretch of the campaign.

Documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission show the GOP plans to spend more than $650,000 on broadcast tv supporting Jake Chapman and Mike Bousselot, who are running in the party’s top two central Iowa Senate targets.

The party also will spend six-figure sums on tv ads for four Iowa House candidates in Polk or Dallas counties, whose commercials began airing last week.

Those numbers do not include any funds the GOP will spend on direct mail, radio, or digital advertising for the same candidates.

This post focuses on early tv spending on legislative races in the Des Moines market. Forthcoming Bleeding Heartland posts will survey other battleground Iowa House or Senate districts.

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Iowa GOP candidates love state fair, shun DM Register Soapbox

Politicians love spending time at the Iowa State Fair, and many candidates for state and federal offices made multiple visits this year. But in a break with a long-running practice, Republicans seeking statewide and federal offices mostly shunned the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox.

Just three of the eleven GOP candidates invited to the Soapbox were willing to devote 20 minutes of their state fair visit to a public speech outlining their agenda. Every elected Republican official steered clear.

Avoiding the Register’s platform is another sign of growing Republican hostility toward traditional Iowa media. Other recent examples: some GOP candidates refused to meet with high-profile editorial boards in 2018 and 2020, and Iowa Senate leaders abandoned more than a century of tradition to kick reporters off the chamber’s press bench this year.

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Ten Iowa Democratic legislative primaries to watch in 2022

UPDATE: I’ve added unofficial results for each race.

Iowa Democrats have more competitive state legislative primaries in 2022 than in a typical election cycle. That’s partly because quite a few House and Senate members are retiring, and partly because the redistricting plan adopted in 2021 created some legislative districts with no incumbents.

In most of the races discussed below, the winner of the primary is very likely to prevail in November. However, a few of the districts could be targeted by one or both parties in the general election.

All data on past election performance in these districts comes from the Iowa House and Senate maps Josh Hughes created in Dave’s Redistricting App. Fundraising numbers are taken from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board’s database.

This post is not an exhaustive account of all contested Democratic primaries for state legislative offices. You can find the full primary candidate list here.

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Barriers for third-party candidates reduced Iowa voters' choices

New laws enacted by Republican legislators and Governor Kim Reynolds succeeded in limiting third-party competition for Iowa’s state and federal offices.

According to the general election candidate list published by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office on March 21, only one minor-party candidate qualified for a federal office this year: Bryan Jack Holder, who is running in the fourth Congressional district. Libertarians are fielding candidates for governor and lieutenant governor: Rick Stewart and Marco Battaglia. In 2018, Libertarian candidates were on the ballot for all of Iowa’s statewide and federal offices.

No independent candidate filed for any federal or statewide office in Iowa this year. For most of the last decade’s elections, independent candidates were on the ballot for several of those offices.

Only two candidates not representing a major party filed for any of the the 34 Iowa Senate seats on the ballot in 2022; both are running in Senate district 17. Across the 100 Iowa House races, only three Libertarian candidates and four independents will appear on the November ballot.

Before Republicans passed new restrictions in 2019 and 2021, Iowa voters were able to choose candidates not representing either major party in more elections.

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A long time coming

Tom Walton: I plan to offer common sense in an uncommon time. We need more reality-based problem-solving in politics, less reality TV.

My name is Tom Walton. I’m running as a Democrat for Iowa House District 28, which includes Adel, Van Meter, and parts of West Des Moines in Dallas County. The right Democrat can win this district, which Republicans barely won by increasingly narrow margins in 2018 and 2020. Donald Trump carried the district by only about seventy votes.

My desire to run for public office has been with me for now for 40 years. This campaign has been a long time coming.

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IA-03: How vulnerable is Cindy Axne?

Ninth in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.

U.S. Representative Cindy Axne was among 32 House members added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” program, Stephanie Akin was first to report for Roll Call on March 1.

Putting Axne on the list of potentially vulnerable House incumbents is a no-brainer. Iowa’s third Congressional district was one of only seven in the country that voted for both President Donald Trump and a Democratic candidate for U.S. House. Speaking to members of the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee in December, Axne noted that she is the only House Democrat to win two elections by less than a 2 percent margin in a district Trump carried. She’s also the only current member of her caucus to win twice with less than a 50 percent vote share.

Iowa won’t adopt a new political map for at least another six months, and Axne has not confirmed whether she will seek re-election. (She is sometimes mentioned as a possible candidate for governor.) Nevertheless, the 2020 results in IA-03 inform some educated guesses about Axne’s prospects in a third Congressional campaign.

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