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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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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Vote on Greenfield candidacy sets bad precedent for Iowa Democrats

Members of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Third District Central Committee voted yesterday to use an obscure provision of state law to nominate Theresa Greenfield for the primary ballot. After about 30 minutes of debate, the committee narrowly supported a motion to add another candidate to the Congressional primary ballot (36 to 31, with two abstaining). A second motion, for Greenfield to be that additional candidate, passed 47 to 10, with six abstentions.

Before Greenfield’s name is added to the candidate list, an election panel consisting of Attorney General Tom Miller, Secretary of State Paul Pate, and State Auditor Mary Mosiman will likely consider an objection. Depending on the outcome, the panel’s decision may be challenged in court.

Central committee members were in an unenviable position; no matter how they voted, some activists would be upset. Unfortunately, the chosen path suggests that Iowa Democrats will abandon normal procedures if necessary to help a sympathetic candidate.

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