# IA-Gov 2022



Take two on Kim Reynolds' racist campaign commercial

Governor Kim Reynolds’ re-election campaign continues to air a television commercial that plays on racist tropes in order to boost the governor among the largely white Iowa electorate.

Reynolds’ campaign spokesperson Pat Garrett has not replied to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries about the commercial. But after Iowa Democratic Party chair Ross Wilburn denounced the ad as “a cheap, racist and dangerous stunt using harmful stereotypes to score political points,” Garrett told some other reporters that the spot “contrasts the failed policies supported by liberal Democrats across the country with the common sense leadership of Gov. Reynolds.”

Visual evidence shows the ad-makers were determined to create negative associations with Black women. The tactic would undermine the governor’s Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear.

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Kim Reynolds race-baits in new tv ad

Nothing happens in a campaign commercial by accident. Strategists plan every word and image, with the candidate’s approval. Directors may film many takes to get the perfect cadence for every line.

So Iowans should understand: the racist tropes in Governor Kim Reynolds’ latest tv ad are deliberate.

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Iowa Democrats face bigger challenges than voter registration numbers

Top Iowa Republicans crowed this month when the state’s official figures showed the GOP had expanded its voter registration lead over Democrats. At this point in the 2018 election cycle, registered Republicans outnumbered Democrats in Iowa by around 24,000. The current disparity is more than three times as large. According to the latest numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office, Iowa has 681,871 active registered Republicans, 597,120 Democrats, and 555,988 no-party voters.

The voter registration totals should concern Democrats, but two other trends facing the party’s candidates in this midterm election should worry them more.

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How close are Iowa's races for Senate, governor?

If you listen to leading national forecasters, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and Governor Kim Reynolds are in no danger of losing this November. Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball all put Iowa’s elections for Senate and governor in the “solid” or “safe” Republican category.

But last week, Mike Franken’s Senate campaign released partial results from an internal poll showing the Democrat within striking distance of Grassley. And the only poll of the governor’s race released this year showed Reynolds ahead of Democrat Deidre DeJear by just 8 points.

In past election cycles, media organizations commissioned more frequent political surveys. For instance, Survey USA tracked approval ratings for Iowa’s senators and governor on a monthly basis during the 2000s.

Unfortunately, polling has been another casualty of newsroom budget cuts. While campaign coverage should not focus excessively on the horse race, occasional independent snapshots of public opinion are important. Otherwise conventional wisdom can lead to genuinely competitive races being overlooked.

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How far can Iowa Republicans go to ban abortion? (updated)

The worst-case scenario for bodily autonomy in Iowa played out over the past ten days. First, the Iowa Supreme Court on June 17 overturned its own 2018 precedent that established a fundamental right to abortion, protected by the state constitution. Then, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that established a federal constitutional right to an abortion, and the related Casey decision of 1992.

Top Iowa Republicans immediately promised further action to restrict abortion, which is now legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. It’s not yet clear when they will try to pass a new law, which exceptions (if any) may be on the table, or whether a ban modeled on other state laws could survive an Iowa court challenge.

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In Van Lancker, DeJear selects experienced corner man

C.J. Petersen chairs the Iowa Democratic Party’s Stonewall Caucus. This column first appeared in the Carroll Times Herald.

Politics ain’t beanbag. If Deidre DeJear is our prize fighter, then Eric Van Lancker is her corner man. 

By selecting Van Lancker to serve as the lieutenant governor nominee, DeJear acknowledged the tough fight Democrats are in to reclaim Terrace Hill this November. 

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