Eddie Mauro considering challenge to Senator Joni Ernst in 2020 (updated)

CORRECTION: Speaking by phone on April 17, Mauro said he is considering a campaign for U.S. Senate but hasn’t decided to whether to run. He doesn’t have a time frame for making a final decision and needs to “make sure my family is on board” before weighing other factors, such as whether he “might be a viable candidate.”

Iowa Democrats may have their first candidate for the 2020 U.S. Senate race. Eddie Mauro told activists in Panora on April 16 that he will may run against first-term Republican Senator Joni Ernst, according to sources who attended the event. Guthrie County Democratic Party chair Kathy Miller told Bleeding Heartland that she invited Mauro to attend the central committee meeting after he called her on April 14 to discuss his plans.

Mauro is CEO of Des Moines-based insurance company UIG and director of Purify Project, which installs water systems in Africa. He previously ran for Iowa’s third Congressional district and finished second in the 2018 Democratic primary with 26.4 percent of the vote. Before that, he challenged State Representative Jo Oldson in the 2016 Democratic primary for Iowa House district 41. Mauro’s 2018 campaign website does not currently reference a U.S. Senate bid. I’m seeking comment from him and will update this post as needed.

Earlier this year, Mauro launched a political action committee called Midwest Victory PAC. The group’s goals include helping to defeat Ernst and support Democratic candidates for the Iowa House and Senate in 2020. Mauro was the founding chair of the Midwest Victory PAC and still holds that position, according to the PAC’s website. Once he formally declares his Senate candidacy, he will need to step aside from that role. Iowa law states that “A candidate for statewide or legislative office shall not establish, direct, or maintain a political committee.”

I enclose below additional background on Mauro and the Midwest Victory PAC.

UPDATE: After I corrected this post, several Democrats contacted me on April 17 to say that in their recent conversations with Mauro, he sounded like a definite candidate, not someone who was only considering the Senate race. A person who attended the Adair County Democratic Central Committee meeting on April 13 got the same impression from listening to Mauro. State Senator Claire Celsi said that last week, Mauro “told me he was running and asked for my support.” (Celsi represents Senate district 21, containing the Des Moines south side neighborhood where Mauro lives.)

While I understand that politicians prefer to control the timing of their rollout, prospective candidates who tell Democratic activists that they’re running should expect that word will get around.

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When politicians become assignment editors

For many years, the Des Moines Register regularly published dispatches from Washington on what the Iowans in Congress were doing. Coverage deteriorated after the newspaper laid off Jane Norman in 2008. To my knowledge, no Iowa-based news organization has had a correspondent in the nation’s capital since the Register let Philip Brasher go in 2011.

In a wide-ranging review of the Register’s political reporting four years ago, I commented, “If a member of Congress didn’t brag about it in a press release, conference call, or social media post, the Register’s readers are not likely ever to learn that it happened.”

The newspaper’s recent coverage of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley illustrates that problem.

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Iowans rally to release full Mueller report

Amy Adams is an organizer with Progress Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

On Thursday, April 4, Iowans rallied in four locations across the state (Indianola, Red Oak, Cedar Rapids, and Dubuque) as part of a nationwide day of action to demand a full release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Attorney General William Barr has released only a four-page summary of more than 400 pages submitted to the Department of Justice regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election and contacts between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives.

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Another health care threat

Sue Dinsdale is the executive director of Iowa Citizen Action Network. -promoted by Laura Belin

Nine years ago this week, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, giving us a chance and a choice when it comes to health insurance. But since that time there has been threat after threat against it. And each time it is threatened, everyday Americans have spoken out.

Here in Iowa and across the country, small business owners, students, retirees, farmers, workers, seniors, young people, veterans and other constituents have been telling our Members of Congress: Stop these cruel and careless threats on our health and financial security.

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Republicans are worried about Iowa Senate district 30, with good reason

Voters in Cedar Falls, Hudson, and part of Waterloo will elect a new state senator on March 19. Three candidates are on the ballot for Iowa Senate district 30: Republican Walt Rogers, Democrat Eric Giddens, and Libertarian Fred Perryman.

Republicans took some advantages into this campaign, which is on a shortened timetable because Senator Jeff Danielson resigned during the legislative session. Rogers was better-known than Giddens, and Governor Kim Reynolds scheduled the vote during spring break for the University of Northern Iowa and Cedar Falls public schools, when many people in Democratic-leaning constituencies would likely be out of town.

But since Bleeding Heartland previewed this race in late February, Giddens has emerged as the favorite. Republicans tacitly acknowledged their weaknesses by launching a second over-the-top negative television commercial on March 15, rather than closing on what was supposed to be Rogers’ selling point: giving Black Hawk County and UNI a voice in the Iowa Senate majority caucus.

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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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