If Rod Blum tanks, how many Iowa House Republicans will he take with him?

A New York Times poll of Iowa’s first Congressional district this week found Democratic challenger Abby Finkenauer leading two-term Representative Rod Blum by 51.5 percent to 37 percent. Finkenauer led by double digits in every turnout model the pollsters applied to the raw data. Blum’s favorability of 35 percent was even lower than President Donald Trump’s 39 percent approval rating among respondents.

As national Republican strategists and GOP-aligned advocacy groups write off Blum and election forecasters increasingly view IA-01 as a probable Democratic pickup, I’ve been thinking about how a Blum implosion could affect down-ballot Republicans. With no straight-ticket option for Iowa voters this year, coat-tails may be less important than they were in the past. Nevertheless, it can’t be good for GOP legislative candidates that Finkenauer’s campaign has had field organizers working across the district for at least six months to identify and turn out supporters.

Democrats need a net gain of ten Iowa House seats to win a majority in the lower chamber (currently split 59 R/41 D). At least eight potentially competitive GOP-held state House districts are located within the first Congressional district.

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Politico calls Rob Sand a "young Robert Mueller"

I wholeheartedly agree with Ed Fallon: grassroots activists are excited about the Democratic candidates for state auditor and secretary of state. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The excitement around November 6 is above and beyond what we normally experience leading up to an off-year election. Coast to coast, young, progressive candidates are fueling that excitement — as is growing discontent over President Trump’s reign of error. Even conservative voters are pulling away from the Tweeter in Chief over his:

— Escalating trade war with China,
— Support for pipelines and fracking,
— Belief that “eminent domain is a wonderful thing,” and
— Lack of a moral compass.

In Iowa, two candidates firing up voters are Rob Sand, running for state auditor, and Deidre DeJear, running for secretary of state. Check out the great story about Rob and Deidre in Politico this week — and the entertaining comparison of Rob to Robert Mueller.

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Interview: What drives Senator Jeff Merkley

“We need to use every tool we have to reclaim our country,” U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley told me during his latest visit to Des Moines. “We are at the verge of a tipping point, and maybe we’re almost past it, in which the power of the mega-wealthy is so profound that we can’t tip the balance back in to we the people.”

The senator from Oregon spent much of Labor Day weekend in central Iowa supporting Democratic candidates for the state legislature. His fifth trip here since the 2016 election won’t be his last: he will be a featured speaker at the Polk County Steak Fry later this month. During our September 2 interview, I asked Merkley about the most important matters pending in the U.S. Senate, prospects for Democrats in November, and his possible presidential candidacy.

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Words in contrast

Des Moines resident Ira Lacher noticed a striking contrast in two commentaries published this weekend. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Page 3 of the Sunday Des Moines Register opinion section told us everything we need to know about the people who are in the top positions in America.

On one hand, there was Rob Tibbetts’ heartfelt plea for decency in the wake of the murder of his daughter, Mollie.

Below it, was Donald Trump Jr.’s pathetic attempt to sustain hatred of brown people.

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IA-01: Under growing pressure, Rod Blum channels Donald Trump

As signs mount that national GOP strategists are ready to let his district go, two-term Representative Rod Blum seems to be staking his political career on appealing to fans of President Donald Trump.

While some vulnerable Republicans keep their distance from an unpopular president, Blum welcomed Trump to Iowa’s first Congressional district in July and continues to praise trade policies that hurt the farm economy. More recently, he has sought attention by portraying himself as the news media’s victim.

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