Rematch coming in Iowa House district 90

Jefferson County supervisor Stephen Burgmeier filed yesterday to be the Republican candidate in Iowa House district 90, setting up a rematch with Democrat Curt Hanson. The district covers all of Van Buren County, most of Jefferson County (including Fairfield) and a small portion of Wapello County (map here).

Last summer Hanson narrowly defeated Burgmeier in a special election, even though Iowa-based conservative interest groups went all-in for Burgmeier and the National Organization for Marriage spent nearly $90,000 on advertising to support him.

Notably, Hanson built up a strong advantage in early voting and beat Burgmeier in Jefferson County by about 600 votes. In addition, two social conservatives ran as third-party candidates, and the 282 combined votes they received was greater than Hanson’s 127-vote margin over Burgmeier. The spoiler candidates were unhappy that Burgmeier didn’t talk much about abortion and gay marriage during the campaign.

Iowa Republicans tried to put a good face on the special election result, but the outcome was disappointing for them on several levels.

House district 90 is likely to be one of the most competitive races in the state. If you living within striking distance of the area, please consider volunteering for Hanson’s campaign this summer and fall. That said, I like Hanson’s chances of holding the seat this November. Burgmeier couldn’t win a low-turnout special election during a severe recession when the GOP base was all fired up about the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage. Despite having been elected three times as a supervisor, Burgmeier lost his own county by a sizable margin.

This week Hanson, a retired driving instructor, co-chaired a conference committee to resolve differences between the Iowa House and Senate bills to restrict texting while driving.

Anti-gay group goes all-in for Republican in special election

Neither Republican Stephen Burgmeier nor Democrat Curt Hanson has highlighted same-sex marriage rights during the campaign for the September 1 special election in Iowa House district 90. However, a group opposing marriage equality is funding an intense advertising campaign in the district.

Chase Martyn of Iowa Independent noticed that the “National Organization for Marriage has purchased $86,060 worth of television and radio ads” to help Burgmeier. That is a major ad buy for an Iowa legislative election. Martyn uploaded an independent expenditure report (pdf file) that the group filed with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, but that didn’t include information about the content or placement of the ads.

If you have seen or heard any advertising paid for by National Organization for Marriage, please post a comment in this thread or e-mail me at desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com with as much detail as possible about the message. How many different versions of the ads are running? Do the commercials mention any issues besides overturning the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage? Do they mainly support Burgmeier, who is under attack from a right-wing candidate? Or do they also attack Hanson, and if so, using what kind of language?

I hope the National Organization for Marriage’s ads are as laughable as the group’s “Gathering Storm” commercial from April, which spawned many parodies on YouTube and a brilliant response from Stephen Colbert.

Nice work if you can get it

Have you gotten four raises in the past six years? Jefferson County supervisor Stephen Burgmeier has, I learned after writing about the Republican’s first television ad for the September 1 special election in Iowa House district 90. Burgmeier is highlighting alleged overspending by Democrats, but if he’s so stingy with the people’s money, why did he keep voting to raise his own pay?

The “check the facts” page on Democratic candidate Curt Hanson’s website contains other useful information too. In addition to raising his own pay repeatedly, Burgmeier voted five times to raise taxes on Jefferson County residents. Did Iowans for Tax Relief know about this record when the group took responsibility for running Burgmeier’s campaign?

The Iowa Democratic Party is running this ad backing Hanson:

Share any relevant thoughts about phony Republican posturing in this thread. You can sign up here to volunteer for the Hanson campaign.

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