# Jake Porter



Court: Iowa's early filing deadline for third parties unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that Iowa’s early filing deadline for third-party candidates “imposes a substantial burden” on the Libertarian Party of Iowa’s rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Iowa legislators changed the state’s election law in 2019 to require independent candidates or those affiliated with a non-party political organization (like the Libertarian or Green Party) to file nominating papers for state or federal offices by mid-March, the same deadline as for Democrats and Republicans running in primaries.

The Libertarian Party and Jake Porter, the party’s 2018 nominee for governor, filed suit in 2019, saying the change put “heavy burdens” on third parties, and the adverse treatment served no legitimate state interest.

Helen Adams, chief magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, ruled on April 8 that Iowa’s legal framework places third parties “at a disadvantage” compared to the major parties, and the state’s “articulated interest in effective and equitable administration of election laws” did not justify those burdens.

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Four thoughts about Mary Ann Hanusa's state auditor campaign

Former State Representative Mary Ann Hanusa finally gave up her Congressional ambitions and announced on January 5 she’s running for state auditor. She won’t face any competition in the Republican primary, coming out of the gate with endorsements from Governor Kim Reynolds, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Joni Ernst.

Democrat Rob Sand won the 2018 state auditor’s race by 660,169 votes to 601,320 for GOP incumbent Mary Mosiman (50.9 percent to 46.4 percent). Turnout set a modern midterm record for Iowa that year. Participation could be far lower in 2022—perhaps 1.1 million to 1.2 million voters.

Whether Hanusa emerges as a strong challenger will become more clear as her campaign unfolds, but here are some initial thoughts.

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Iowa House district 16 preview: Mary Ann Hanusa vs. Jen Pellant

UPDATE: Hanusa announced in March 2020 that she will not seek re-election. Original post follows.

Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take control of the Iowa House after the 2020 elections. One seat that wasn’t on the party’s 2018 target list (but should have been) was House district 16, covering part of Council Bluffs. State Representative Mary Ann Hanusa had a close shave there, defeating Democrat Steve Gorman by only 114 votes, a roughly 1 percent margin.

Gorman is running for the Iowa Senate this cycle, but as of October 1, Democrats have a strong challenger for the House seat: Jen Pellant.

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Libertarians lose political party status in Iowa

The Libertarian Party of Iowa will become a non-party political organization again after two years on the same legal footing as the Democratic and Republican parties. Unofficial results show Libertarian nominee Jake Porter received 21,095 votes for governor, about 1.6 percent of the statewide vote.

Iowa law defines a political party as an organization whose nominee for president or governor “received at least 2 percent of the total votes cast at the last general election.” Libertarians gained that status after Gary Johnson received nearly 4 percent of the 2016 presidential vote in Iowa.

Although Porter improved slightly on the 20,321 votes Lee Hieb received in the 2014 governor’s race, the Libertarian share of the vote decreased due to unusually high turnout for a non-presidential year in Iowa.

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IA-Gov: Final Des Moines Register poll points to close race

Earlier this year, Kim Reynolds wasn’t widely seen as one of the country’s most vulnerable Republican governors. But she trails Fred Hubbell in the most widely respected Iowa poll, and Democrats have built up a larger advantage in early votes than the party had going into the last midterm election.

Democrats should not be complacent, though. The governor’s race still looks more like a toss-up than a campaign with a clear favorite.

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