IA-01: First thoughts on a possible Rod Blum-Abby Finkenauer rematch

Thomas Nelson of the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier was first to report last week that former U.S. Representative Rod Blum’s campaign has spent $11,365 on polling this year. Blum’s quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission showed two disbursements to the candidate’s longtime pollster in early January.

The payments exceeded the $4,119 Blum for Congress owed The Polling Company at the end of December, indicating that Blum commissioned new surveys in the first district and wasn’t merely settling debts left over from the 2018 campaign.

While I have not been able to find details about the questions asked, his campaign likely tested voters’ views on key issues as well as approval and favorability numbers for himself and Representative Abby Finkenauer. Blum hasn’t ruled out running for office again. Nelson noted that he appeared at a Jones County GOP event on April 11.

No Republican has confirmed plans to run against Finkenauer. I see Blum as a weaker challenger than State Representative Ashley Hinson, who has said she’s considering the race and will make her intentions known after the legislative session ends.

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Julian Castro offers an immigration policy with an international approach

John Webb is a writer in Des Moines. Please read these guidelines if you would like to contribute to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of the Iowa caucuses. -promoted by Laura Belin

Julian Castro has not yet caught fire in the mainstream media, and I think part of the reason is that he is not easily defined in neat and tidy terms. He is a product of public schools who went on to graduate from Harvard Law. He is the grandson of a woman who came to the U.S. at age 12 following the death of her parents. He is progressive and pragmatic in equal measure, yet he stresses bold policies to address big issues.

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59 senators defended the constitution. Not Chuck Grassley or Joni Ernst

President Donald Trump will soon cast his first veto. The U.S. Senate approved on March 14 a resolution disapproving of Trump’s declaration of emergency powers. All 47 members of the Democratic caucus and twelve Republicans voted for the resolution (roll call). Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst were among the 41 Republicans to oppose terminating Trump’s power grab.

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"Wall" and white fear - a step-by-step guide to understanding racism

Gwen Hope examines the deeply-embedded racism surrounding President Donald Trump’s “Wall” and those who typically advocate for and support it. -promoted by Laura Belin

The president’s emblematic “Wall,” while envisioned to become physical, is more accurately a political symbol – an ideological device. It is a symbol of power and might for the traditionally quintessential U.S. citizen – the white Protestant.

This especially goes for men, who have traditionally led the patriarchal U.S. society. This illusory power is summoned and bolstered to defend against what that quintessential citizen typically fears the most – diverse, multicultural society, and those they see as the harbingers of their fall from power most typically – the Latinx and the Muslim. This originates from an ethnocentric and racist mindset of a group of people would would prefer a homogeneous society.

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Grassley, Ernst can show they're serious about executive overreach

The U.S. House voted on February 26 to terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build a wall that Congress repeatedly declined to authorize or fund. All 232 Democrats present, including Iowa’s Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03) backed the resolution, joined by thirteen House Republicans (roll call). Representative Steve King (IA-04) was among 182 Republicans who opposed the joint resolution.

In statements enclosed in full below, Finkenauer, Axne, and Loebsack highlighted the need to defend the checks and balances prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, which grants spending power to Congress.

The National Emergencies Act requires a U.S. Senate vote within eighteen days on any House-approved joint resolution to terminate a presidential declaration. Three Senate Republicans have already pledged to vote for the resolution. More than half a dozen others criticized Trump’s decision and seem open to formally rejecting it.

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are not seen as potential supporters of this bipartisan effort. They have never defied the Trump administration and had little to say about the president’s power grab. But given their stature in the Republican caucus and their forceful denunciations of President Barack Obama’s executive actions, Iowa’s senators have an excellent opportunity to show some principles matter more to them than political loyalty.

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