Our shared future is at stake

Kurt Meyer is chair of the Mitchell County Democrats, the Tri-County Democrats and the Iowa Democratic Party’s Finance Committee. Earlier this month he was elected president of Americans for Democratic Action. He delivered these remarks to delegates who braved a snowstorm to attend the Mitchell County Democratic convention in March. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Good morning, Democratic friends and neighbors.

As you see, this morning I brought with me this gavel, not because I think we’ll get unruly – I don’t think we will – but rather because of what this gavel symbolizes: a system of justice, the rule of law, and a social code committed to process and fairness. We need to be reminded of these things every so often. Indeed, let me suggest this is one of those times.

You know me and you know I’m an incurable optimist. It’s true… guilty as charged! In addition, I am a student of history, a field of study that generally undergirds my optimism.

It’s this historic perspective I want to touch on for a moment. Despite considerable optimism, my read of history suggests we are now in an unprecedented and frightening time. Our country, and yes, even our state, are in peril. By their actions, elected leaders at multiple levels indicate they have minimal interest in actually representing us. It’s all very sobering, especially the thought that we may well be approaching a tipping point, a countdown of sorts to something even more disastrous than what we’ve seen in the last 15 months.

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Annette Sweeney wins Iowa Senate district 25 special election

Republican Annette Sweeney will represent Iowa Senate district 25 for the remainder of the year after winning today’s special election by 4,742 votes to 3,726 for Tracy Freese (56.0 percent to 44.0 percent), according to unofficial results. Although that may not sound like a close race, Freese’s vote share was impressive in a district with nearly twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats.

Hillary Clinton received about 33.6 percent of the vote in Senate district 25 in November 2016. Two years earlier, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley received just under 34.8 percent here. Democrats did not field a candidate in Senate district 25 during the 2014 cycle.

In addition, Freese was a first-time candidate, whereas Sweeney represented parts of this district for four years in the Iowa House. The Iowa GOP also spent far more promoting Sweeney during the brief special election campaign (truncated because Majority Leader Bill Dix resigned during the legislative session) than the Iowa Democratic Party did on behalf of Freese. Unlike the December special election in Senate district 3, Republicans had quite a few canvassers and ballot chasers out during the last several days.

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IA-03: Theresa Greenfield off Democratic primary ballot

Secretary of State Paul Pate did not certify Theresa Greenfield’s candidacy in Iowa’s third Congressional district today, following advice from Attorney General Tom Miller. The Iowa Democratic Party’s Third District Central Committee voted on March 26 to designate Greenfield as an “additional primary election candidate.” Miller declined last week to issue a legal opinion on whether the relevant portion of Iowa code applies to Greenfield’s circumstances. But in an analysis released today, the attorney general said the statute is intended “to encourage and ensure contested primaries” and “is not a do-over provision” for candidates who failed to qualify for the ballot through ordinary means.

I’ve posted the full statement and legal analysis from the Attorney General’s office after the jump, along with a statement from Greenfield accepting Miller’s conclusion. She could have filed a lawsuit challenging Pate’s refusal to certify her, but she probably would not have succeeded for reasons Bleeding Heartland discussed here and here.

The big question mark now is where Greenfield’s prominent supporters, including major labor unions, will land. Three Democrats are competing for the chance to take on two-term Representative David Young: Cindy Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, and Eddie Mauro. Although they agree on many issues, they have been making very different cases to voters. Each has well-known advocates in Iowa Democratic circles.

Axne angered some Greenfield backers by lobbying the central committee not to invoke Iowa Code 43.23, whereas Mauro promised last week not to challenge efforts to add Greenfield to the ballot. D’Alessandro helped Greenfield during her mad dash to collect new signatures on March 16.

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Vote on Greenfield candidacy sets bad precedent for Iowa Democrats

Members of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Third District Central Committee voted yesterday to use an obscure provision of state law to nominate Theresa Greenfield for the primary ballot. After about 30 minutes of debate, the committee narrowly supported a motion to add another candidate to the Congressional primary ballot (36 to 31, with two abstaining). A second motion, for Greenfield to be that additional candidate, passed 47 to 10, with six abstentions.

Before Greenfield’s name is added to the candidate list, an election panel consisting of Attorney General Tom Miller, Secretary of State Paul Pate, and State Auditor Mary Mosiman will likely consider an objection. Depending on the outcome, the panel’s decision may be challenged in court.

Central committee members were in an unenviable position; no matter how they voted, some activists would be upset. Unfortunately, the chosen path suggests that Iowa Democrats will abandon normal procedures if necessary to help a sympathetic candidate.

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