GOP firm boosting attorney's campaign for Iowa judicial selection panel

A former leader of the Iowa State Bar Association is waging an unprecedented campaign for a seat on the panel that chooses finalists for Iowa’s two highest courts.

Many attorneys received a mailing on December 28 promoting the candidacy of Robert Waterman, Jr., a partner in the Davenport firm Lane & Waterman. The mailing appears to have targeted every member of the bar in 24 counties that make up the second Congressional district. The paid postage mark indicates that the Republican political consulting firm Victory Enterprises handled the mailing.

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GOP outspending Democrats in almost every competitive Iowa Senate race

As was the case two years ago, Democratic candidates are at a financial disadvantage in almost all of the Iowa Senate districts both parties are targeting.

The disparity adds another challenge to a party already facing a difficult path to gaining ground in the upper chamber. Republicans currently hold 29 of the 50 Senate seats and are guaranteed to pick up the district independent Senator David Johnson is vacating.

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Exclusive: How Kim Reynolds got away with violating Iowa's constitution

Governor Kim Reynolds swore an oath to “support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of Iowa.” But when she missed a deadline for filling a district court vacancy in June, she did not follow the process outlined in Iowa’s constitution.

Public records obtained by Bleeding Heartland indicate that Reynolds did not convey her choice for Judicial District 6 to anyone until four days after her authority to make the appointment had lapsed. Nevertheless, staff assured the news media and Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady that the governor had named Judge Jason Besler on time.

Reynolds and Secretary of State Paul Pate later signed an appointment and commission certificate that was backdated, creating the impression the governor had acted within the constitutionally-mandated window.

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