A candidate for the people

Stacey Walker is a Linn County supervisor who considered seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’ve always said that I never wanted to be one of those politicians who sat on the sidelines, not making my support known until it was absolutely clear who the winner would be. I’ve also never been comfortable offering my endorsement of a candidate out of sheer political expediency. It’s just not me.

Instead, I’ve chosen to be an elected official who weighs in and helps bring attention to bold, progressive candidates, because that is exactly what our party and our country needs. Luckily, we have a candidate with those qualities and then some. Her name is Kimberly Graham and she is running to be the next U.S. senator from the great state of Iowa.

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Where things stand in Iowa's Senate, Congressional races

Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the most intense phase of campaigning in election years. This holiday is also a good time to review the state of play in races for federal offices in odd-numbered years. Though new candidates could emerge at any time before Iowa’s March 2020 filing deadline–Patty Judge was a late arrival to the Democratic U.S. Senate field in 2016–it’s more typical for federal candidates here to kick off their campaigns by the end of summer the year before the election.

Thanks to Iowa’s non-partisan redistricting system, all four U.S. House races here could be competitive in 2020, and our Senate race is on the map–in contrast to 2016, when Senator Chuck Grassley’s re-election was almost a foregone conclusion.

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Stacey Walker reluctantly rules out IA-Sen race

Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker has ruled out running for U.S. Senate in 2020, he announced in a post published on his website on August 8. He made the “quite difficult decision” mainly because the Democratic primary “was already heavily skewed in favor of one candidate.”

I’ve read a lot of statements by politicians bowing out of a campaign. Few have spoken as frankly about their reasons as Walker.

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How politicians control coverage of their fundraising: A Joni Ernst case study

Some incumbency advantages in campaigns are inevitable, like higher name ID and greater ability to raise money from interest groups.

Others are undeserved.

Bleeding Heartland has noted before that Iowa members of Congress, especially U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, greatly influence media coverage of their activities. If these elected officials don’t brag about it in a news release or conference call with reporters, Iowans are unlikely ever to hear that it happened. As a result, stories that would shine an unflattering light on the senators largely stay out of the news.

Articles about campaign fundraising shouldn’t suffer from the same dynamic. Journalists can easily do original reporting without being on the ground in Washington. Anyone can access filings on the Federal Election Commission website and convey the key figures to readers.

Yet too often, what Iowans learn about political fundraising is largely written by campaign strategists.

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