Third-party and independent candidates in Iowa's 2014 elections

The filing period for general election candidates in Iowa closed last Friday, so it’s a good time to review where candidates not representing either the Democratic or Republican Party are running for office. The full candidate list is on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website (pdf(. After the jump I discuss all the federal, statewide, and state legislative races including at least one independent or minor-party candidate. Where possible, I’ve linked to campaign websites, so you can learn more about the candidates and their priorities.

Rarely has any Iowa election been affected by an independent or third-party candidate on the ballot. Arguably, the most recent case may have been the 2010 election in Iowa’s first Congressional district. Final results showed that Democratic incumbent Bruce Braley defeated Republican challenger Ben Lange by 4,209 votes, while conservative candidates Rob Petsche and Jason Faulkner drew 4,087 votes and 2,092 votes, respectively.

Any comments about Iowa’s 2014 elections are welcome in this thread.

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Tom Shaw retiring from Iowa House, rules out running in Senate district 5

Republican State Representative Tom Shaw announced on Facebook last night that he will not seek re-election in Iowa House district 10. Defending his “no compromise” approach to serving in the legislature since his first election in 2010, Shaw quoted a retired California legislator as saying, “When we give in to liberals, even an inch, we’re not compromising; we’re abdicating our rights and our honor.” Shaw and his close allies, State Representatives Kim Pearson and Glen Massie, were perhaps best known for helping to block in committee and later voting against a 20-week abortion ban bill, on the grounds that it did not go far enough to end abortions. Pearson and Massie both retired from the Iowa House rather than seek re-election in 2012. Last year, Shaw could persuade only ten of his Republican colleagues to co-sponsor his more extreme version of a “personhood” bill declaring life to start at conception.

Iowa House district 10 covers Humboldt, Pocahontas, and Calhoun counties, plus portions of Webster County (but not Fort Dodge). I’ve posted a map after the jump. It leans strongly Republican, with nearly 3,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats as of January 2014.  

Shaw confirmed by telephone this morning that he is retiring from the state legislature and will not consider running against Democratic State Senator Daryl Beall in Iowa Senate district 5. Shaw’s retirement may be good news for Beall, as the open Iowa House seat comprising half the district should draw more Republican interest than taking on a three-term incumbent in a much more competitive Senate district. Beall currently has one declared challenger, Fort Dodge-based financial adviser Tim Kraayenbrink.

UPDATE: The first candidate to declare for Shaw’s seat was Mike Sexton, who was elected to the Iowa Senate in 1998 but retired after one term. I’ve posted background after the jump. I would guess that an experienced candidate and former legislator would have been a tougher challenger to Beall than Kraayenbrink. But not surprisingly, Sexton sees the open House seat as an easier path back to the statehouse. I would guess that at least one tea party oriented candidate will compete against Sexton in the House district 10 primary.

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Impeachment going nowhere and other Iowa Supreme Court news

Last week, a group of conservative Iowa House Republicans finally made good on their promise to introduce articles of impeachment against the four remaining Iowa Supreme Court justices who concurred in the 2009 Varnum v Brien decision on marriage. The impeachment bills won’t make it out of committee, let alone the Iowa House, but there may be some political fallout from the effort.

After the jump I examine the articles of impeachment, future prospects for their backers and recent news related to the 2012 judicial retention elections.

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Follow-up on Iowa Republican fundraising for legislative races

Last week I discussed the strangely low fundraising numbers reported by some Republican candidates in battleground Iowa House and Senate districts. Craig Robinson of The Iowa Republican blog is worried about the “lackluster fundraising numbers of the House Republicans,” not so much by candidates running in the open seats but by the GOP leaders:

Obviously, party leaders will always prefer candidates who can raise money to fund their campaigns, but very few candidates actually raise enough money to be self-sufficient.

This means that the leadership team in both chambers must raise money to help win or protect seats. House Republicans are not hitting on all cylinders in this area. […]

At this time in 2008, [Chris] Rants’ five-person leadership team had raised over $437,000. [Kraig] Paulsen’s seven-person team has raised significantly less, bringing in $364,000.

Another problem for the House Republican effort is that two of the seven-member leadership team are facing stiff competition this fall. Representatives Renee Schulte and Dave Deyoe both occupy seats that are very expensive in which to campaign, and both will have to use every dollar that they raise on their own races instead of helping others. If Schulte and Deyoe’s fundraising totals are subtracted from the leadership team’s total, it means that Paulsen’s team has really only raised $298,000. […]

In total, the 2008 leadership team for the House Republicans raised $785,000. That means that, at this point in the 2008 election cycle, Rants’ leadership team had raised 56% of the total funds they would raise that year. If Paulsen’s crew raises only what was raised in 2008, then they are only 46% of the way there if you include Schulte’s and Deyoe’s contributions, and they are a disappointing 38% of the way there if [Schulte] and Deyoe are excluded because they have their own races to worry about.

If House Republicans want to wrestle control away from the Democrats, they need to get serious about fundraising. Legislative campaigns are expensive. The average cost of a rural House seat is $200,000, while an urban house seat can easily cost $400,000 or more. […]

Robinson also posted a table comparing Iowa House Republican leaders’ fundraising from 2008 and the current election cycle, which you can find after the jump. House district 37 (map here) is one of Iowa Democrats’ best pickup opportunities. It contains a large part of northern Cedar Rapids, ending where the suburbs Hiawatha and Marion begin. Schulte defeated first-term State Representative Art Staed by just 13 votes in 2008. Even after recent Republican gains in voter registration, registered Democrats slightly outnumber Republicans in district 37 (no-party voters have a plurality). Robinson is right: Schulte won’t be able to afford to share her campaign funds with other House Republicans, because her Democratic opponent Mark Seidl is pounding the pavement.

Deyoe’s House district 10 (map) covers most of Story County outside Ames as well as the eastern part of Hamilton County. Compared to House district 37, this is slightly more favorable terrain for the GOP, as registered Republicans outnumber Democrats. But as in many Iowa legislative districts, no-party voters comprise the largest group of registrants. Moreover, Deyoe has a more experienced opponent in Selden Spencer, who was the 2006 Democratic nominee against Tom Latham in the fourth Congressional district. Both Spencer and Deyoe have just under $26,000 cash on hand, according to the July 19 disclosure reports.

I hadn’t realized before reading Robinson’s post that Iowa House GOP leaders were not keeping up with the party’s fundraising pace in 2008, but that’s not surprising. Ask any professional working in the development field: the recent recession and stock market declines make it more challenging to raise money now than in 2008. In addition, Republican statehouse leaders had much less competition for donors two years ago. The statewide offices weren’t on the ballot, and John McCain had a small donor pool here, having mostly bypassed the Iowa caucuses. Now Terry Branstad and to a lesser extent Brenna Findley are raising big money from the same people Paulsen needs to tap for the House races.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread. If you can afford to do so, please donate to one or more Democrats running for Iowa House. You can give online through ActBlue or the candidates’ official websites.

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HD-10 Race to be very close

House District 10 is shaping up to be one of the most competitive races of this cycle in the state house.

Democrat Susan Radke will once again be facing Republican Dave Deyoe, two years after she lost by a mere 680 votes in a largely Republican district.

If you would like to know more about Susan Radke, please visit her website at

 http://www.voteradke.com/

Or leave me a comment or question and I will do my best to retrieve an answer!

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