Faith leaders support Deidre DeJear for governor

Cynthia Sebian-Lander is Deidre DeJear’s 2022 campaign manager. Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts advocating for Democratic candidates for local, state, or federal offices.

Dear Friends,

Wishing you and yours all of the blessings during this new year. As we begin 2022, we are looking forward to a renewed hope in our political discourse and trajectory. And with that in mind, we are honored and delighted to support Deidre DeJear at the head of the ticket in 2022. She is the best moral choice for the future of Iowa.

Here’s why:

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Ras Smith's departure raises tough questions for Iowa Democrats

State Representative Ras Smith suspended his campaign for governor on January 5, saying he had reached “the heartbreaking conclusion that there are barriers that one campaign cannot overcome, no matter how hard we work or how faithfully we represent the majority of hardworking Iowans.”

In a written statement and recorded video message, Smith thanked Iowans who welcomed him a candidate for governor, saying the campaign “has reaffirmed for me the magnitude of mission-driven work that lies ahead.” He added, “Unfortunately, this process has also exposed a drastic disconnect between the current political system and the people.”

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Court ruling good for open records, bad for Kim Reynolds

A Polk County District Court has rejected the state’s motion to dismiss part of Polly Carver-Kimm’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the state of Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds, her former communications director Pat Garrett, and several senior Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials.

Carver-Kimm handled press contacts and public records requests for the IDPH for thirteen years before being forced to resign in July 2020. She asserts that she was “stripped of her duties and later terminated after she made repeated efforts to comply with Iowa’s Open Records law (Chapter 22) by producing documents to local and national media regarding the State of Iowa’s response to the ongoing pandemic.”

District Court Judge Lawrence McLellan’s December 22 ruling (enclosed in full below) affirmed the importance of the open records law and rejected the state’s effort to remove Reynolds as a defendant in this case.

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Where things stand in the Iowa Democratic race for governor

Since State Auditor Rob Sand ruled out running for governor earlier this month, I’ve been meaning to catch up on the Democratic candidates who have been actively campaigning against Kim Reynolds: State Representative Ras Smith and Deidre DeJear, the 2018 nominee for secretary of state.

The field may not be set; many Democrats believe at least one other candidate will join the governor’s race early next year. Recent speculation has centered around State Representative Chris Hall. The six-term Iowa House Democrat from Sioux City, who is ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, has not announced whether he will seek re-election or run for higher office in 2022. Hall declined to comment for the record when I reached out to him shortly after Sand confirmed he’ll run for state auditor again.

This post will focus on bases of support for Smith and DeJear. We’ll know more about their capacity to run a strong statewide campaign after candidates disclose how much they’ve raised and spent this year. Those reports must be filed with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board by January 19.

Bleeding Heartland is unlikely to endorse any candidate before the primary, but I welcome guest commentaries advocating for any Democratic contenders. Those wanting to learn more about the options should tune in to the Iowa Unity Coalition’s gubernatorial candidate forum on January 22 in Des Moines; both Smith and DeJear have agreed to participate.

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Pam Jochum rules out running for governor

Democratic State Senator Pam Jochum will not be a candidate for governor in 2022, she confirmed to Bleeding Heartland on November 1. The longtime senator from Dubuque seriously considered the gubernatorial race in recent months. She could have run for statewide office without giving up her seat in the legislature, because she was re-elected to a four-year term in 2020, and Iowa’s redistricting plan puts her in an even-numbered Senate district, which won’t be on the ballot until 2024.

In a written statement, Jochum said she had been “humbled by the outpouring of support” for a potential candidacy. But after speaking with many activists and much “soul searching and prayers,” she determined, “My place is a strong voice in the legislative branch of government.”

Jochum believes Governor Kim Reynolds is “very vulnerable, but it is not going to be easy” to beat her. It would take “a minimum of $15 million to launch an effective campaign, and to “put all of the pieces together,” she would have needed to make the decision last spring.

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