# Kurt Meyer

Showing up

Kurt Meyer discusses Governor Kim Reynolds’ recent assertion that some “explicit” books are in school libraries because teachers are trying to push “their worldview” on students.

It was the summer before my senior year in high school, 1971, more than a half-century ago. I drove three miles to the village of Otranto to visit the “bookmobile” and checked out several books, including one with the word “revolutionaries” in the title. A recent google search identified the book: The High School Revolutionaries, published in 1970. I was engaged in student government; this was a modest attempt at preparation.

The book included conversations with students from across the country. One review noted, “The quality is uneven, but five pieces are exceptionally well-argued and provocative… (providing) the most graphic picture of the experience and sensibility of high school students today.” Unfortunately, it was only marginally relevant to someone in rural Iowa seeking to be a conscientious student council member.

Continue Reading...

Troy Price resigning; who will replace him as Iowa Democratic Party chair?

UPDATE: The State Central Committee elected Mark Smith on the first ballot. Three other candidates were nominated: Joe Henry, Bob Krause, and Gabriel De La Cerda.

Troy Price will soon step down as Iowa Democratic Party state chair, he informed some 60 members of the party’s State Central Committee on February 12.

In that letter (enclosed in full below), Price apologized for “unacceptable” problems with reporting the Iowa caucus results, adding that “Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night. I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party.” He expressed a “desire to stay” on the job but recognized “it is time for the Iowa Democratic Party to begin looking forward, and my presence in my current role makes that more difficult.”

Continue Reading...

Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2019 guest authors

More than 125 authors contributed to the 290 guest posts Bleeding Heartland published this calendar year–way up from the 202 pieces by about 100 writers in 2018 and the 164 posts by 83 writers the year before that. I’m immensely grateful for all the hard work that went into these articles and commentaries and have linked to them all below.

You will find scoops grounded in original research, such as John Morrissey’s exclusive reporting on Sedgwick landing a lucrative contract to administer Iowa’s worker’s compensation program for state employee, despite not submitting the high bid.

The most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post this year was Gwen Hope’s exclusive about the the Hy-Vee PAC donating $25,000 to the Iowa GOP, shortly before President Donald Trump headlined a Republican fundraiser at Hy-Vee’s event center in West Des Moines.

Several commentaries about major news events or political trends were also among the most widely read Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019. I’ve noted below pieces by Ed Fallon, Tim Nelson, Bruce Lear, Randy Richardson, J.D. Scholten, Dan Guild, State Senator Claire Celsi, and others that were especially popular. (This site has run more than 630 pieces since January 1.)

Continue Reading...

Remembering John Culver

Former U.S. Senator John Culver passed away in late December. I’ve asked several Iowans who knew him well to share some of their memories with Bleeding Heartland readers. Thanks to Kurt Meyer for these wonderful stories about Culver’s 1980 re-election campaign. -promoted by Laura Belin

As has been noted often in recent days, the late Senator John Culver was a remarkable individual, with warm praise forthcoming both for the breadth of his knowledge as well as the depth of his integrity. One reason these thoughts resonate is the contrast with current officeholders at almost every level.

While both of these qualities are notable, they are challenged for primacy in my reflection on John Culver by the senator’s outsized personality. He was fun; he was engaging. He was a great story-teller, who, ironically is himself the focus of many a great story, a rather unusual combination.

In 1980, Senator Culver, then seeking re-election, took a flyer on a couple of 25-year-olds open to adventure to head up in-state fundraising for his campaign. Having agreed to this assignment, my wife, Paula, and I set aside early careers in the Twin Cities and moved to Des Moines. Paula had not worked in a campaign before; I had, in both 1974 and 1976. (Our marriage in 1978 confined campaign involvement to a brief assignment coordinating a GOTV phone bank for the Hennepin County, MN, Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.)

In retrospect, Paula and I came to regard 1980 as our short-term, Peace Corps-like experience: scrambling to achieve bold objectives in relatively uncharted territory, working ourselves silly for a greater cause in hopes of a better world… and perhaps bringing about some personal growth and maturity. We began in early January and vacated our modest apartment (and Iowa, at least temporarily) the day after the election in November.

Our 10-month campaign experience was unforgettable for many reasons, not least of which was that we worked for and with and under the banner of John Culver. The overall fund-raising strategy was relatively simple: to sponsor an ambitious series of events across the state, mostly gatherings in people’s homes in county seat towns, to re-introduce the senator, enabling Iowans to hear from him and question him directly, and conclude with a pitch for support.

It was vitally important for us to generate in-state financial support, with significant implications for our field/organizing operations. And, yes, clearly such efforts should have been taking place in an organized, low-key manner for at least three, maybe four years, rather than embarking on an aggressive “cramming” effort shortly before the final exam in early November.

Nevertheless, operating under a tight schedule, we set off, eager to do everything possible to advance the Culver campaign. For example, we aggressively marketed “Culver Corn Pins” (a lapel pin in the shape of an ear of corn, which had been part of the senator’s first congressional campaign). We sponsored a statewide lottery to win such a pin with a small diamond stud embedded. We sold and mailed complimentary copies of the book, Senator, by Elizabeth Drew, some of which included a “take-a-look” letter signed by Tom Stoner, who had sought the Republican Senate nomination to compete against Culver. Frank Licciardi, a gifted Dubuque artist, volunteered to paint a portrait of Culver, and we sold prints for something like $20. A signed and numbered version went for $100.

We hosted periodic heavy-hitter receptions with out-of-state guests, although the senator was unusually wary of surrogates coming into the state to campaign on his behalf. Two who did pass muster were Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey and Senator Muriel Humphrey of Minnesota, appointed to serve out her late husband’s term. Vance Bourjaily hosted a Culver fundraiser at “Red Bird Farm” in Johnson County that required no reminder calls. “Oh, people will come,” we were told – and they did (and many wrote checks!). Harry Chapin and Jackson Browne performed small-scale benefit concerts, each generating a bit of cash and presumably some favorable buzz among a more youthful demographic (but before social media, who knows… maybe buzz by word-of-mouth?).

Many of these efforts were designed primarily to expand our Iowa donor base, in the hope of re-soliciting support at least two or three more times prior to November. Looking back, it was all quite basic and unsophisticated, labor-intensive, and often inefficient. But it worked. Thousands of donors in every corner of the state wrote checks for $25 and $50 and $100, some of them two and three and four times. We lost the election, to be sure, but we did NOT fall short due to lack of generous funding support.

An elderly woman from Dubuque faithfully mailed us a check of varying amounts every month, accompanied by a scribbled, hard-to-decipher note of support and encouragement that was almost as valued as the check. When we happened by coincidence to encounter her frail presence on a trip to the Guggenheim Museum shortly after the election, we almost hugged her to death!

Among the more indelible moments of this entire experience were the many fervent Culver supporters who housed us, fed us, supported us, advised us, encouraged us, and in many cases, handed us checks almost every time we saw them. After 39 years, some of these wonderful people, just like the senator, have gone on to their reward; many of those remaining are dear friends.

Examples of steadfast hospitality had a profound and long-lasting impact on this once-young couple. Paula and I have endeavored to model similar support for candidates and, perhaps as important, for their staff members since we returned to Iowa fifteen years ago, with invitations extended to many campaigns willing to venture north of highway 3 to join us at our home, “Tranquillity.”

Driven by conviction, by a commitment to public service, and by thinking (more than mere feeling), John Culver adhered to high standards, for himself and for all around him. His belief in the power of persuasion – based largely on facts, often presented orally – makes him a throwback politician, at least from today’s vantage point.

While Culver grasped the big picture, he often took great pains to interpret subtle observations, nuances, and small “hinge” points on which mighty matters can swing. He took pains to provide detailed explanations to Iowans he knew wanted to hear more than just two or three talking points.

As noted, John Culver was both brilliant and a model of political integrity. Furthermore, he had a personality as expansive and varied as our state. He often demonstrated “white-hot intensity,” a term the Des Moines Register once used to describe him, which was certainly preferable to “a hair-trigger temper,” a term the newspaper did NOT use but which, truth be told, they easily could have.

Like many politicians, John Culver was great in front of a crowd; at the same time, he was especially comfortable in a setting with a half-dozen people he knew and liked. With that in mind, let me close with one Culver story (and, suffice to say, there are many). The senator’s favorite place in the world was his home in McGregor, overlooking the Mississippi River. Here he had hosted President Jimmy Carter in 1979 when the president and the first lady were on a well-publicized river cruise. And here he hosted three Des Moines Register reporters interested in traveling with him in the fall of 1980.

Jim Flansburg, Donald Kaul, and David Yepsen accompanied Senator Culver to his home in McGregor on an overnight trip that required a staff member to serve as a one-person hospitality crew. I drew the assignment. The rambling Culver home had once been a hotel and accommodations were certainly adequate to this number of guests, all of whom arrived after the evening meal. The greatest challenge I faced was cooking breakfast on a huge beast of a stove the house was probably built around, since it was way too large to move either in or out.

With dawn approaching, I arrived in the kitchen well in advance, leaving adequate time to acquaint myself with my short-order cook assignment. Provisions were set out: eggs, bread, bacon, cast iron pans, a trusty toaster, a plug-in percolator, etc. Yes, I was a bit nervous, but the whole excursion had taken on the flavor of a fishing trip, so I assumed no one expected haute cuisine. When at the appointed hour, hungry men emerged for the day, I set to work, asking each how he wanted his eggs.

“Mr. Flansburg?” (…yes, a formality prompted by respect.) “Scrambled would be fine.”

“Mr. Kaul?” “Scrambled sounds good.”

“Mr. Yepsen?” “Scrambled, sure.”

“Senator?” Pause. Pause. “Poached!” (Hey, I HAD asked… and as I recall, I somehow succeeded in digging appropriate poaching equipment out of the pantry!)

So, before closing, and in light of this story, let me add a few Culver traits to the aforementioned: independent-thinking; unswayed by public opinion; capable of reaching his own conclusions; and not afraid to chart his own course, even if and when it means standing alone.

John Culver was a remarkable individual. Many, probably most, of whom worked closely with him were intensely loyal to him when he served in public office, throughout the intervening years, and now… both to his memory and to what I trust will be his enduring political legacy. Count Paula and me proudly among them.

Top image, from left: Paula Meyer, John Culver, and Kurt Meyer in August 2010. Photo provided by the author, used with permission.

This next shot was taken at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding in August 2010. From left: Kurt Meyer, Becca Scoggin (daughter of John Culver), Senator Culver, Meg Tyler (daughter of Kurt and Paula Meyer), Matt Tyler (her husband), Paula Meyer.

Suspension of the rules: A case study of Iowa's 2018 First District Convention

Sarah Hinds explains why she and some other delegates have submitted a formal complaint about the process used last month to elect Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee members from the first Congressional district. -promoted by desmoinesdem

My name is Sarah J. Hinds. I’m from Linn County. I identify with the Progressive wing and The Disability Caucus. I knew as soon as I jumped into Iowa politics I was part of the Progressive movement, but it’s taken awhile for me to understand what that means to me. Not knowing exactly what my place would be in the party is why I’ve been quiet in my involvement up to now.

The other reason is much of my service has been on committees where I need to remain unbiased. I’ve never thought about this until now, but one week after becoming active in the Iowa Democratic Party I was chairing the Credentials Committee for the most populous county in the First Congressional District (IA-01) in a presidential year. Let that sink in for a moment. And thus began my crash course with the Rules. I’ve been on five Credentials committees now.

After Linn County 2016, I was “co-lead in charge of alternates” for IA-01 and co-vice chair at State. This year I was the secretary of Linn County and IA-01. All of this is to say I only know a fraction of what the Rules Committee must know, but I do understand there is power and purpose in our convention rules, and their complexity takes time to execute.

Continue Reading...

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.

Continue Reading...

Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2017 guest authors

Bleeding Heartland published 140 guest posts by 81 authors in 2016, a record since the blog’s creation in 2007.

I’m happy to report that the bar has been raised: 83 authors contributed 164 guest posts to this website during 2017. Their work covered an incredible range of local, statewide, and national topics.

Some contributors drew on their professional expertise and research, writing in a detached and analytical style. Others produced passionate and intensely personal commentaries, sometimes drawing on painful memories or family history.

Continue Reading...

"We have to wake the watchdog up": Why Rob Sand's running for state auditor

The state auditor of Iowa is not a “sexy office,” former Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand told me earlier this fall. “But it’s a huge opportunity for public service, because I think that the way that it’s run right now, there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit for improvement.”

Sand kicked off his candidacy this morning with a website and Facebook page. He’s been tweeting for some time at @RobSandIA. His opening video is here. At the end of this post I’ve enclosed Sand’s campaign committee, including activists and elected officials from many parts of the state as well as Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and former Attorney General Bonnie Campbell.

Sand discussed with Bleeding Heartland how he would approach the job and why he is running against Republican incumbent Mary Mosiman, a certified public accountant who has served as state auditor since 2013. Although this office is not the obvious choice for an attorney, Sand considers his experience prosecuting white-collar crime “my biggest qualification” and a key reason he could improve on Mosiman’s work. Moreover, he’s not afraid to call out a “historically irresponsible” state budget.

Continue Reading...

Throwback Thursday: Celebrating Julia Addington

Many thanks to Kurt Meyer for sharing his prepared remarks from an October 22 event dedicating a sign in Stacyville (Mitchell County). Meyer encouraged me to give credit to Cheryl Mullenbach, who “more than any other person, brought Julia Addington’s story out of obscurity and into the light of public recognition.” Mullenbach’s article, first published in Iowa Heritage Illustrated in 2007, is on the Stacyville town website and well worth reading. -promoted by desmoinesdem

My name is Kurt Meyer. I am a proud member of the Mitchell County Historic Preservation Association. Today, we gather to honor Julia Addington, one of our remarkable local contributions to the rich, unending flow of history.

Perhaps because history is always in motion, it’s challenging to time-travel back… back to 1869, 148 years ago this month, to October 12, when Julia Addington was elected. Julia Addington – a woman! Bear in mind, women in the U.S. could not vote until the 19th amendment was ratified… something that didn’t happen for another 51 years.

Now, I know I should have told you this as you entered the room today, but this isn’t really the Stacyville Public Library. It’s a space capsule – also known as the “Wayback Machine” – and you and I together are about to time-travel. Hold on to your hats, buckle your seat belts, and ignore the calendar on your cellphone.

Woosh! I have news: It’s no longer 2017. We’re back in 1869.

Continue Reading...

First look at Jim Mowrer's campaign for Iowa secretary of state

Vowing to fight for every vote to be counted and to “say no to making it harder and more expensive to vote,” Jim Mowrer launched his campaign for secretary of state on August 3. He is well-known to many Democrats as Representative Steve King’s 2014 opponent in the fourth Congressional district and Representative David Young’s challenger in the third district last year. Follow me after the jump for more on Mowrer’s case for his candidacy and against Secretary of State Paul Pate, including highlights from an interview with Bleeding Heartland.

Mowrer will have at least one competitor in the Democratic primary. Deidre DeJear launched her campaign on August 6. She’s on the web, Facebook, and Twitter. I recently spoke to DeJear about her background and goals and have a post in progress on her secretary of state campaign. Iowa Starting Line profiled her here.

State Representative Chris Hall of Sioux City has not ruled out the secretary of state race either, he told me in late July.

I’ve reached out to several county auditors who had floated the idea of challenging Pate in 2018. Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald told me he is no longer considering a run for higher office. Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert announced on Facebook on August 3 that Mowrer “has my full backing.” UPDATE: Two more county auditors endorsed Mowrer on August 7. Scroll to the end of this post for details.

Nathan Blake, who had been thinking about this race, confirmed two weeks ago that he has decided against it.

Because I believe the most dangerous thing about the Trump Republican Party is its disdain for democracy and its corresponding voter suppression efforts, I had been planning to run for Secretary of State in 2018. However, in May Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller asked me to take on a new role as a Deputy Attorney General. I believe I can do the most good over the next few years working for AG Miller to stand up for the rule of law, keep Iowans safe, and protect consumers. While I won’t be running for anything this cycle, I’ll continue to fight for voting rights and other progressive policies and I’ll evaluate opportunities to serve in elected office in the future.

Bill Brauch likewise considered running for secretary of state but will not be a candidate for any office next year. Instead, he told me, he will continue volunteering as the Iowa Democratic Party’s Third District Chair.

Continue Reading...

Latest news on the Iowa Democratic Party leadership contest

Former Iowa Democratic Party executive director Troy Price will seek the state chair position, he confirmed this afternoon. I enclose below the e-mail Price sent to State Central Committee members, who will elect Derek Eadon’s successor on July 22. Excerpt:

I have previously served as Executive Director of IDP, where among other things I developed and managed an $8 million coordinated campaign – the largest non-presidential coordinated campaign in Iowa’s history. My state leadership roles also include two presidential campaigns, staring with President Obama’s re-election in 2012, building and nurturing donor and organizational relationships all across the state. I have developed and managed communications for two Democratic Governors. Plus, I ran One Iowa, the State’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, during a time of great challenge following the loss in 2010 of three Supreme Court justices who supported the Varnum decision.

The biggest challenge for Price over the next two weeks will be winning over State Central Committee members elected by delegates who favored Bernie Sanders for president. Some Sanders supporters retain strong anti-establishment feelings, and Price was Hillary Clinton’s political director here before the 2016 caucuses. I have not heard of any “Berniecrat” planning to run for chair, though. During the last leadership contest, Blair Lawton had the most support from the Sanders wing on the State Central Committee, followed by Kim Weaver. Neither Lawton nor Weaver is seeking the position now.

Julie Stauch is the only other confirmed candidate to lead the Iowa Democratic Party. Bill Brauch told me this afternoon, “I have withdrawn as a chair candidate, for my own health reasons.” Kurt Meyer is still considering another bid for party chair.

For the last several months, Price has been running State Representative Todd Prichard’s gubernatorial campaign. Going forward, John Davis will manage day-to-day operations for Prichard, and Jesse Harris will be a policy adviser.

UPDATE: Bob Krause joined Stauch and Price at a forum organized by the Iowa Democratic Party’s Veterans Caucus in Waterloo on July 8. Krause was one of eight candidates who campaigned for the party’s top job last winter; I posted more background on him here.

Meanwhile, Meyer told Bleeding Heartland on July 9 that he has decided against running for state party chair again.

I looked long and hard at what the Party needs and what I could do to be helpful. I engaged in conversations with a number of people, mostly people inside the Party, activists, candidates, etc. I urged Troy Price to run for the Chair position and am very pleased that he’s seeking the post. I decided the best way for me to be of service is to do everything I can to help the Party’s efforts to raise money… that’s what I’ll be doing for the foreseeable future. I’ve agreed to head up a statewide Finance Committee. And although I agreed to this post when the previous Chair was in place, I am very eager to work with our new incoming Party Chair.

Continue Reading...

First look at possible new Iowa Democratic Party leaders

Derek Eadon announced this morning that he resigning as Iowa Democratic Party state chair, having recently been diagnosed with “Trigeminal Neuralgia, a painful but non-lethal ailment that requires radiation procedures over the summer.” I enclose below the full text of an e-mail Eadon sent to Iowa Democratic Party county chairs and State Central Committee members.

About fifty State Central Committee members will elect Eadon’s successor on July 22. I have reached out to the other seven Democrats who ran for state party chair in January.

Continue Reading...

Leadership contest may leave Iowa Democrats more divided than before

UPDATE: Derek Eadon was the winner; have added more about the meeting below, along with the audio from his first comments to reporters as state party chair and background on the new vice chairs. Democrats avoided a polarizing result today.

For many years, the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee “elected” the state chair in name only. In reality, insiders rubber-stamped a decision made by one person (Senator Tom Harkin, Governor Tom Vilsack, or Governor Chet Culver). So I was thrilled to see an open competition among four talented people seeking the top position in 2015. Contrary to some predictions, that race was not a foregone conclusion for the establishment’s favorite candidate; Andy McGuire needed three ballots to win.

The spirited campaign to become state party chair for the next two years is encouraging, considering the huge challenges facing our party after losses in November exceeding most people’s expectations.

I decided early not to endorse any candidate, because everyone in the field brought valuable skills and experience to the table. Reading the pieces posted here by Julie Stauch, Kurt Meyer, Derek Eadon, Sandy Dockendorff, Blair Lawton, and Kim Weaver, along with messages to State Central Committee members from Mike Gronstal and Bob Krause, I felt confident that whoever won would understand the key tasks facing the party and could draw on many good ideas floated during the process.

As today’s election approached, I have become increasingly concerned that the outcome will leave Iowa Democrats more angry and divided–party because the voting procedure won’t allow for consensus-building, and partly because some old hands simply don’t understand the mindset of many activists energized by the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Continue Reading...

An Outsider's Opinion on the Race for Iowa Democratic Party Chair

Highly-engaged Democratic volunteer nwfisch attended a January 10 meeting in Dubuque, where six candidates to lead the Iowa Democratic Party spoke to activists and answered questions. -promoted by desmoinesdem

As a teacher, I wouldn’t consider myself a political insider. I live a modest life and try my best to advocate for my students through politics. I’ve become more involved in the local party over the past year and I recently had the chance to hear six of the candidates running for chairperson of the Iowa Democratic Party.

Continue Reading...

Tough Choice. In Support of Kurt Meyer for Iowa Democratic Party Chair

Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee member Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats and helped create the Tri-County Democrats organization with Kurt Meyer. -promoted by desmoinesdem

After a disastrous election we all needed a breather, but it seemed we wouldn’t have it. We as Iowa Democrats have a lot to digest and consider. I am proud to say that I have listened to and HEARD what all the candidates for IDP Chair have to say.

The candidates who personally asked to meet with me were Kim Weaver, Derek Eadon, Blair Lawton, and Kurt Meyer. Julie Stauch called me and we spoke at length and she offered to meet up with me, but I could not find a free time to make it work. I got an email from Bob Krause. I heard Sandy Dockendorff speak at the first district. I never got any communication from Mike Gronstal except an email from someone else in his stead. I saw all of them speak at the forum the night before the December State Central Committee meeting and again at the SCC meeting (with the exception of Gronstal, who had a prior commitment).

I entered this with an open mind and have been pulled this way and that with my decision. I always have come back to Kurt.

Continue Reading...

The Case for Kurt Meyer for Iowa Democratic Party chair

Supporters of any candidate to lead the Iowa Democratic Party are welcome to post guest commentaries at Bleeding Heartland. Today’s entry is by Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker. You can read more about Meyer’s plans here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

He’s The Right Choice for Millennials and All Iowans

As a co-founder of The Political Party – an organization that seeks to better connect progressive millennials to our political system with the goal of affecting change – it is important to me that the next leader of the Democratic Party understand my peers; a generation of tech savvy, racially diverse, progressive idealists who believe that there is no problem that cannot be solved by innovation and creativity.

We’re more than the hipsters in skinny jeans and ironic t-shirts trope. We are a generation that still believes social and political progress is possible, because we have seen and reaped immeasurable benefits from unlikely partnerships and collaborations since birth. We understand and embrace the awesome power of technology. In fact, many of us don’t know a world without social media; powerful tools developed by young entrepreneurs who have created entirely new methods of communication. Now, I am smart enough to know that I cannot and should not attempt to speak on behalf of all millennials, but in the very least, I do know that we are diverse, we are nuanced, and capable of changing the world for the better.

Continue Reading...

Weekend open thread: Iowa Democratic Party rebuilding edition

Having spent most of this week buried in the Iowa Board of Regents internal audit of Iowa State University’s Flight Service during President Steven Leath’s tenure, I’m catching up on the campaign to become the next Iowa Democratic Party state chair. We should all be thankful eight good people are interested in the job after this year’s horrendous outcome, especially in what used to be Iowa’s “blue” eastern half. Barack Obama carried 53 Iowa counties in 2008 and 38 counties in 2012, but Hillary Clinton won a plurality in just six counties this year. The coming midterm election will pose additional challenges for Iowa Democrats.

The brave souls hoping to lead the party forward, in the order that they announced their candidacies, are Kim Weaver, Sandy Dockendorff, Kurt Meyer, Julie Stauch, Blair Lawton, Derek Eadon, Mike Gronstal, and Bob Krause. I posted background on the first six candidates here. All of them decided to stay in the race after longtime Iowa Senate Majority Leader Gronstal declared he would seek the position. Krause was the final candidate to join the race. UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: A reader thought I was implying that other candidates should have bowed out for Gronstal. I did not mean to suggest that anyone should have stepped aside and do not plan to endorse a state party chair candidate. I welcome a robust competition to lead the party. For too many election cycles, the State Central Committee rubber-stamped one political heavyweight’s opinion.

Seven of the eight candidates spoke at a forum in Des Moines on December 16 and presented to State Central Committee members the following morning. Pat Rynard shot a video of the forum and wrote up some highlights at Iowa Starting Line. Rynard and Radio Iowa’s O.Kay Henderson both tweeted highlights from the SCC meeting. Recurring themes included the need to improve messaging and outreach to rural areas. UPDATE: Videos of each candidate’s presentation to the SCC meeting are available on the Iowa Democratic Women’s Caucus Facebook page. Henderson posted an article at Radio Iowa.

Gronstal was absent because of a trip planned long before he decided to run for state party chair. Ingrid Olson, a Council Bluffs resident who was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention, spoke to SCC members on Gronstal’s behalf. She emphasized Gronstal’s long work in the trenches, fighting for many causes. One of the plaintiffs in the Varnum v Brien case that led to the Iowa Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, Olson praised Gronstal for being willing to “put a target on his back” in order to defend marriage equality. To his credit, Gronstal immediately welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. He forcefully and repeatedly rejected Republican calls for a vote on a constitutional amendment to overturn it.

Olson’s support for Gronstal is understandable, given her strong personal investment in a cause he championed. On the other hand, after reading her harsh post-election assessment, I didn’t expect her to back one of the longest-serving Iowa Democratic politicians, who also happened to be a DNC superdelegate for Clinton, for state party chair. In that commentary, Olson slammed the insiders who (in her view) “anointed” Clinton “because all the ‘good old boys’ in the Dem elite knew it was ‘her turn’.” Speaking to the SCC yesterday, Olson acknowledged Gronstal “has been around a long time, but it’s because he’s weathered more storms than I can even imagine.”

Representative Dave Loebsack, the only Iowa Democrat left in Congress, announced near the end of the State Central Committee meeting that a committee will “systematically” review what went wrong for the party here in 2016. Outgoing state party chair Andy McGuire indicated that the effort will be more in-depth than a “typical analysis.” The committee members will include “Loebsack as the honorary chair, his campaign manager, four SCC members, three campaign professionals, a member from the Iowa House and Senate and members of the IDP staff.” Members will “conduct a listening tour of activists, volunteers and party stakeholders” and “hold a professional focus group” before submitting their report in April.

Among many angles that need to be investigated, I hope to learn more about what happened with the early vote program. We need to understand why Clinton didn’t carry absentee voters by a larger margin. Whether because of poor targeting or inadequate persuasion, Democratic field organizers and volunteers appear to have mobilized a lot of early voters who ended up not marking the ballot for Democratic candidates.

Bleeding Heartland has posted guest commentaries by Stauch, Meyer, Eadon, Dockendorff, and Lawton. I’ll publish Weaver’s contribution soon. UPDATE: It’s online here. You can read Gronstal’s announcement message to SCC members here and Krause’s case for his candidacy here.

No one has a monopoly on understanding what went wrong and how to fix it. I welcome viewpoints from any Iowa Democratic activist. So far Pete McRoberts, Sue Dvorsky, Tim Nelson, Ben Nesselhuf, Claire Celsi, Tracy Leone, John McCormally, Paul Deaton, Bill Brauch, Laura Hubka, and Jeff Cox have shared their insights here. It’s easy to create a Bleeding Heartland account; the link to register is near the upper right corner of the front page.

This post is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Seven Questions for Iowa Democratic Party Chair Candidates

Seven concise questions for the seven people hoping to lead Iowa Democrats forward. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Thanks for all your comments on my recent post about what we should be looking for in the new IDP Chair. As a continuation of my effort to help vet the candidates, I’m writing this post and asking all the candidates for Chair to submit their answers to questions that will help us determine who the right person is for the job. I’m a neutral observer and have no vote since I’m not on the State Central Committee, but I’m keenly interested in picking a person who has the capacity and skills to lead us forward.

I plan to create a new post here on Bleeding Heartland on Sunday, December 11 with all the responses I receive as of that date. SCC candidates, please send me your responses in a Word Document or an email. My email is: Claire.Celsi@gmail.com. Thanks ~ Claire Celsi

Continue Reading...

Mike Gronstal makes seven candidates for Iowa Democratic Party chair

At least seven people hope to lead the Iowa Democratic Party forward after two brutal election cycles. Outgoing Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal has made no public statement but e-mailed State Central Committee members on December 1, William Petroski reported first for the Des Moines Register. Gronstal lost his bid for a ninth term last month after leading his caucus in the chamber for two decades.

Gronstal instantly becomes the front-runner, but he doesn’t have a lock on the job yet.

Continue Reading...

Gathering Forces and Resources

Sixth-generation Iowan Kurt Meyer chairs the Mitchell County Democrats and is the founding chair of the Tri-County Democrats (Worth, Howard, & Mitchell counties). -promoted by desmoinesdem

After thoughtful consideration and conversations with Democrats throughout the state, I have decided to seek the position of Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP). Our Party has now experienced two devastating election cycles in a row. To address this reality, the IDP must act quickly to a) listen, assess, and incorporate lessons learned from the last election cycle; b) outline plans to chart a different course; and c) enlist and empower leaders at all levels to help us accomplish our plans. Here are my preliminary priorities:

Continue Reading...

At least seven people considering run for Iowa Democratic Party chair (updated)

For many election cycles, either Senator Tom Harkin or the Democratic governor of Iowa would choose the Iowa Democratic Party chair, and the State Central Committee would rubber-stamp that decision. But in January 2015, the state party had its first competitive leadership election since I’ve been following Iowa politics. Andy McGuire edged out Kurt Meyer on the third ballot, largely because of strong support from establishment figures.

Iowa Democrats were trounced up and down the ballot on Tuesday. In my lifetime, we’ve never been beaten so badly in a presidential year. When President Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale by nearly 100,000 votes here in 1984, Democrats held on to their majorities in both legislative chambers, and Harkin beat incumbent U.S. Senator Roger Jepsen. This week, the party lost six Senate seats, mostly by large margins, and lost ground in the state House.

State Central Committee members will choose a new party leader in December January. At least seven people are either running or seriously thinking about seeking the position. UPDATE: Added a few more names below.

Continue Reading...

Final Iowa early vote numbers: Is Clinton's lead large enough?

Most election forecasters see Iowa likely to go to Donald Trump, based on the preponderance of opinion polls taken here in the past month.

However, Michael McDonald, who closely tracks early voting for the U.S. Elections Project, concluded that Iowa leans to Hillary Clinton, based on the ballots cast before election day.

How can that be, given that the current Democratic lead in ballots returned to county auditors is significantly smaller than what President Barack Obama carried into election day 2012?

Continue Reading...

Five red flags about the Iowa Democratic Party's Caucus Review Committee

The Iowa Democratic Party’s Caucus Review Committee will hold its first meeting “for purposes of organization” on Saturday, May 7. Members of the public may attend the event, which begins at 10 am at the Airport Holiday Inn (Iowa Conference Rooms B & C) at 6111 Fleur Drive in Des Moines. The meeting will likely run well into the afternoon as the 26 committee members hear from speakers including Republican Party of Iowa officials, who will share what they learned from their review of the 2012 caucuses.

Whether Iowa will ever be able to hold meaningful caucuses again is an open question. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has allies in national circles who share her belief that the party should require “simpler” and “more democratic” primaries for the purposes of presidential selection. If forced to abandon caucuses, Iowa would probably be relegated to the end of the nominating process in June, unless our state’s leaders manage to lobby for an earlier primary date.

Assuming the caucuses continue as an important event in presidential campaigns, the Iowa Democratic Party should address some of the current system’s major shortcomings. Based on what I’ve heard (and not heard) from various Caucus Review Committee members, the exercise seems destined to produce minor improvements in how the caucuses are managed, as opposed to big changes to address the caucuses’ disenfranchising and unrepresentative features.

Continue Reading...

Iowa Democratic Party to consider caucus improvements, but not real change

In an e-mail newsletter to supporters on February 12, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire hailed the “awe-inspiring,” “historic,” and “extraordinary” happenings at nearly 1,700 precinct caucuses on February 1, adding,

For all the positives that came from caucus night, we are also aware of the concerns that came from some of our precincts. We are listening. We are always looking for ways to make the caucus process better and this year will be no different. That’s why we will be forming a committee to start the process of innovating and improving, while keeping in place what makes the caucus process so special.

As a Democrat with a longstanding interest in making the caucuses more inclusive and a better reflection of Iowa voters’ preferences, I immediately sought further details about the committee, in particular whether its members will consider major reforms such as absentee ballots, proxy voting, or a GOP-style straw poll caucus.

McGuire has not responded to my questions, but Iowa Democratic Party communications director Samuel Lau answered by e-mail, “This committee is still in the very beginning phases of planning, but it will be developed in partnership with our State Central Committee, our partners and our allies. The party has always made it a priority to listen to the concerns of Iowans in order to improve our caucus process, and no discussion topics will be ‘off the table.’”

Comments by various party insiders to the Des Moines Register’s Jason Noble tell a different story. Party leaders are open to ideas for running the precinct caucuses more smoothly but not to broader changes in how the Iowa caucuses work.

Continue Reading...

Iowa Senate district 26 preview: Mary Jo Wilhelm vs. Waylon Brown

After several months of recruiting efforts, Republicans finally have a candidate willing to run against two-term State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm in Iowa Senate district 26. This race is among a half-dozen or so contests that will determine control of the upper chamber after the 2016 elections. Since Iowans elected Governor Terry Branstad and a GOP-controlled state House in 2010, the 26 to 24 Democratic majority in the state Senate has spared Iowa from various disastrous policies adopted in states like Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Of the senators who make up that one-seat majority caucus, Wilhelm was re-elected by the narrowest margin: 126 votes out of nearly 31,000 cast in 2012.

I enclose below a map of Senate district 26, a review of its voter registration numbers and recent voting history, and background on Wilhelm and challenger Waylon Brown. Cautionary note: although Brown is the establishment’s pick here, he is not guaranteed to win the nomination. “Tea party” candidates won some upset victories in the 2012 Iowa Senate Republican primaries, notably Jane Jech against former State Senator Larry McKibben in Senate district 36 and Dennis Guth against former State Senator James Black in Senate district 4.

Continue Reading...

DNC still can't justify its limits on presidential candidate debates (updated)

Four Iowa Democratic county chairs made cogent arguments today for expanding the number of presidential debates before caucuses and primaries begin. In an accompanying statement, 27 local Democratic leaders in Iowa joined the call for more debates, starting sooner this year.

As usual, the Democratic National Committee failed to offer a compelling defense for their unprecedented and ridiculous policy limiting candidates to six officially sanctioned debates, starting in mid-October.  

Continue Reading...

Weekend open thread: Hall of Fame and Family Leadership Summit edition

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

All five Democratic presidential candidates appeared at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids on Friday night. I’ve posted below my impressions from the speeches; you can watch the videos on C-SPAN. It’s a shame the venue couldn’t accommodate more people, because lots of interested Iowa Democrats were unable to get tickets for the event.

Before the Hall of Fame dinner, I spent some time with an old friend who’s a huge Hillary Clinton supporter. Huge, as in, she didn’t take down her Hillary yard sign until the grass was long enough to need mowing in the spring of 2008. She mentioned to me that she’s relieved to see Clinton working hard this year instead of “ignoring” Iowa like last time. When I told my friend that Hillary visited Iowa more than 30 times in 2007, spending all or part of 70 days in the state, she was surprised. I’m amazed by how many Iowans have bought into the media-constructed narrative that Clinton “bombed” in the caucuses because she took the state for granted.

Ten Republican presidential candidates came to Ames on Saturday for the Family Leadership Summit organized by Bob Vander Plaats’ FAMiLY Leader organization. C-SPAN posted all of those speeches here. As usual, Donald Trump sucked up most of the oxygen in the room by questioning whether Senator John McCain had been a hero during the Vietnam War. O.Kay Henderson posted the audio at Radio Iowa. Rival presidential candidates with the exception of Ted Cruz rushed to condemn Trump’s remarks. Some of the Family Leadership Summit attendees may have been more upset by Trump’s comments about his three marriages and his admission that when he’s done something wrong, “I don’t bring God into that picture.”

Continue Reading...

Democratic presidential candidates converging on Cedar Rapids, July 17

The Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Hall of Fame dinner will draw a larger-than-usual crowd this year, thanks to confirmed appearances by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Governor Martin O’Malley, and former Senator Jim Webb. (I assume former Senator Lincoln Chaffee, who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, will join the list of speakers as well.) Tickets for the event at the Cedar Rapids Convention Complex on Friday, July 17 are available here.

After the jump I’ve posted details on the seven Iowa Democrats who will be honored at the Hall of Fame event. No one deserves the “outstanding elected official” award more than Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum. Following Iowa statehouse politics closely can be a discouraging pastime, especially this year, but the highest-ranking Democratic woman to serve in the Iowa Senate always makes progressives feel well-represented. I can’t think of a better candidate for governor in 2018.

Former State Representative and Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran will receive the Iowa Democratic Party’s “outstanding supporter” award. Outside her home town, she is best known for having served as mayor during the devastating 2008 floods.

The “outstanding activist” award is going to Tri-County Democrats chair Kurt Meyer. He was the runner-up candidate to lead the Iowa Democratic Party in January. As I wrote at that time, Meyer has done tremendous organizing work in northern Iowa. His efforts contributed to Mitchell County being the whitest county in the U.S. to vote for Barack Obama (and Howard County the fifth-whitest to favor Obama over Mitt Romney), as well as to State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm’s narrow victory over Republican Senator Merlin “Build my fence” Bartz in 2012. Without Wilhelm, there’s no Iowa Senate majority.  

Continue Reading...

Three pros and three cons of Andy McGuire as Iowa Democratic Party chair (updated)

Earlier today the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee selected Dr. Andy McGuire to lead the party for the next two years. McGuire was the favorite going into the election and won on the third ballot against Kurt Meyer. Another candidate for state chair, former Congressional candidate Jim Mowrer, then ran for first vice chair and was elected on the first ballot.

Dr. McGuire has been active in Iowa Democratic politics for more than 20 years, since working on her sister-in-law Sheila McGuire’s 1994 Congressional campaign in Iowa’s fifth district. (Sheila McGuire later served as state party chair for a term.) In the political world, Andy McGuire is best-known for being Mike Blouin’s running mate during the 2006 Democratic primary for governor. The pro-choice mother of seven helped balance the ticket, as many Democratic activists were concerned about Blouin’s stance on abortion rights.

In recent years, McGuire has often been mentioned as a possible Congressional candidate, but she ruled out running in Iowa’s third district in 2016 if elected to lead the party. Many central Iowa Democrats expect her to run for governor in 2018.

Although I favored one of the other candidates, McGuire brings a lot to the table as a state party leader. My first thoughts on the pros and cons of her election are after the jump.  

Continue Reading...

The case for each candidate for Iowa Democratic Party chair

State Central Committee members of the Iowa Democratic Party meet tomorrow to choose a new state chair for the next election cycle. Four candidates are seeking the job: Dr. Andy McGuire, Kurt Meyer, Jim Mowrer, and Tim Tracy. The competition itself is a welcome change from the Iowa Democratic Party’s standard operating procedure. For as long as I can remember, the State Central Committee has never considered multiple candidates for state chair. Members have merely rubber-stamped the choice of Senator Tom Harkin or the Democratic governor at the time.

Bleeding Heartland asked each of the candidates to make their best case for becoming the next Iowa Democratic leader. Some party insiders have also shared e-mail correspondence sent to State Central Committee members on behalf of one or the other candidates. Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, Attorney General Tom Miller, Representative Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and former Representative Leonard Boswell (IA-03) are among those who endorsed McGuire. Former Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Norm Sterzenbach has urged party leaders to pick Mowrer.

After the jump I’ve enclosed the arguments for choosing McGuire, Meyer, Mowrer, or Tracy (listed in alphabetical order). I don’t know any of them well, but I’ve met each of them and think highly of all. If I were on the State Central Committee, I would lean toward Meyer. The party needs a full-time chair, rather than a leader who would have to juggle those duties with another job. Moreover, I think choosing another Des Moines insider with the strongest connections to VIPs and major donors sends a “business as usual” message. Bleeding Heartland 2laneIA raised another concern about McGuire: she is a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton for president. It would be healthier for the Iowa caucuses if party leaders remained neutral before a nominee is determined. Although I don’t expect any strong competition for Clinton here, I wouldn’t want other potential candidates to fear the state party will stack the deck against them.

We need the state Democratic leader to focus on building the party up at the county level. All of the candidates talked about that in their presentations to the State Central Committee. But Meyer has done the most work in the trenches, organizing and motivating activists in several northern Iowa counties. That work contributed to Mitchell County being the whitest county in the U.S. to vote for Barack Obama (and Howard County the fifth-whitest to favor Obama over Mitt Romney), as well as to State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm’s narrow victory over Republican Senator Merlin Bartz in 2012. Without Wilhelm, there’s no Iowa Senate majority. Mowrer and McGuire have strong records on fundraising too, but I don’t see fundraising as the most urgent task for the Iowa Democratic Party right now.

Continue Reading...

Who Should Lead the Iowa Democratic Party?

(This guest diary raises important issues. A post is in progress containing the case for each of the four candidates for Iowa Democratic Party chair. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

On Saturday the IDP will elect a new state chair.  Douglas Burns has a useful summary of the candidates' positions and experience. I have the impression from conversations with a few members and other committed Democrats that all the candidates are viewed as capable and with their hearts on the left side.

I have a question:  should the IDP chair be a declared partisan for one (as yet undeclared) presidential candidate? That is Dr. McGuire, according to The Hill

A new Democratic Party chairman also will soon be in place in the state, and a Clinton friend, Andy McGuire, is in the running for the top spot, which will be decided in a Saturday election. 

A Bloomberg Iowa poll in October found the former secretary of State received support from 76 percent of Democrats who planned to participate in the caucus, a sign to Crawford and others that Clinton is right where she wants to be.

“What she needs to do is come to Iowa and use it to get very connected at the retail level, which will be good for her in Iowa and nationally, as well,” Crawford said. “Are there some activists who want another option? Of course there are. That will always be the case. But I’m not particularly concerned.”

Continue Reading...

First take on the Iowa House and Senate results (updated)

Democrats suffered big losses in the Iowa House and Senate last night. Assuming no results change through recounts, the House is likely to switch from 56 Democrats and 44 Republicans to 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats. I’ve seen some online references to a 58-42 split, but that’s not how the count looks based on unofficial results posted on the Secretary of State’s website.

Democrats maintain control of the Iowa Senate, but their majority shrank from 32-18 to 27-23. Governor-elect Terry Branstad should easily be able to get his agenda through the Iowa House, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal may have trouble keeping his caucus united.

UPDATE: Late returns could change the outcome in two Senate seats; it’s possible the chamber could have a 25-25 split, or a 26-24 Democratic majority.

SECOND UPDATE: A few more races could switch as more absentee ballots come in. As of Wednesday evening, Democrat Tom Schueller is now trailing in House district 25 by about 150 votes.

Here’s my take on the seats that changed hands and the near-misses.

Continue Reading...

Update on Iowa House district 14 race

In October, State Representative Mark Kuhn announced plans to retire from the Iowa House, where he has represented district 14 since 1999. District 14 (map in pdf file) contains all of Floyd and Mitchell Counties, plus a small part of Cerro Gordo County.

Democrat Kurt Meyer announced plans to run for this House seat in December, but I missed the story at the time. Bleeding Heartland readers may remember Meyer from the 2008 Democratic primary campaign in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district. He finished second in that race, behind Becky Greenwald. Meyer has spent most of his career as a consultant for non-profit organizations. His family has lived in rural Mitchell County for five generations. His name recognition in the area should be strong, and I doubt he will have any trouble raising enough money to run a good campaign.

The Republican candidate in House district 14 is Josh Byrnes, the agricultural and industrial technology division chairman at North Iowa Area Community College.

Kuhn will run for the Floyd County Board of Supervisors in 2010. He served on that board before being elected to the Iowa House in 1998.

Bleeding Heartland Year in Review: Iowa politics in 2008

Last year at this time I was scrambling to make as many phone calls and knock on as many doors as I could before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

This week I had a little more time to reflect on the year that just ended.

After the jump I’ve linked to Bleeding Heartland highlights in 2008. Most of the links relate to Iowa politics, but some also covered issues or strategy of national importance.

I only linked to a few posts about the presidential race. I’ll do a review of Bleeding Heartland’s 2008 presidential election coverage later this month.

You can use the search engine on the left side of the screen to look for past Bleeding Heartland diaries about any person or issue.

Continue Reading...

So what does $108,000 buy you in an election?

I love to do the quick math when someone dumps a bunch of personal weath into a campaign run — Kurt Meyer (who cares where the heck he lives now eh?) put in $108,000 of his own (or his wifes?) money into this race.

For the just over 5,000 votes he got — he personally paid just over $22.50 per vote out of his pocket.  That is amazing.

A few thoughts on turnout in the Congressional primaries

I have not seen estimates for the percentages of registered voters in each party who turned out today, but I have a few thoughts on turnout based on the election results.

The campaigns of Congressman Leonard Boswell and Ed Fallon mobilized a lot of voters in the third district. Boswell received just over 20,000 votes, and Fallon received about 13,000. Turnout of 33,000 in this district is not bad at all for a Congressional primary. By way of comparison, 38,000 Democrats in the third district cast votes in the 2006 gubernatorial primary.

In the fourth district Congressional primary, turnout was much lower. It looks like fewer than 18,000 people cast votes on the Democratic side. Becky Greenwald is headed to victory with about 51 percent of the vote, which is impressive in a four-way race. But she has a lot of work ahead of her, because it does not appear that fourth district Democrats were highly energized about choosing an opponent for Tom Latham.

Naturally, it is easier to mobilize voters in the third district, which has only 12 counties and most of the residents concentrated in Polk County. Also, one would expect six-term Congressman Boswell and former state representative and gubernatorial candidate Fallon to have an easier time turning out voters, because of past campaigns they have run.

The fourth Congressional district spans 28 counties over a huge geographical area. In addition, none of the Democratic candidates running against Latham had held elective office before. They didn’t start their campaigns with large numbers of people having already voted for them at least once, the way Boswell and Fallon did.

I am not trying to take away from Greenwald’s achievement. I only want to point out that Democrats will need to engage many more fourth district voters if we are to have any chance of unseating Latham.

By the way, in the second district, Republican turnout in the three-way race to challenge Congressman Dave Loebsack was just under 17,000 votes. I do not expect Mariannette Miller-Meeks to mount a strong challenge to Loebsack.

Election results open thread

The big news of the day is that Barack Obama has picked up enough superdelegates, along with delegates pledged to John Edwards, to clinch the presidential nomination.

I’ve been trying to tell people at Daily Kos for months that the superdelegates would bring down the curtain after all the states had voted.

I think the extended primary season was on balance excellent for the Democratic Party, and I couldn’t disagree more with those who have been badgering Hillary Clinton to drop out for the past two or three months.

Early returns from South Dakota indicate that Hillary will win that primary, by the way.

Polls close soon in Iowa, and I will update this diary when I have some results to report.

UPDATE: With 46 percent of precincts reporting Boswell leads Fallon 56 percent to 44 percent. Not clear whether absentee ballots have already been counted. I would expect Boswell to have an edge there. Also not clear whether the big Des Moines precincts have reported.

UPDATE 2: Not looking good for Fallon–Boswell leads 57-43 with 60 percent of precincts reporting.

The GOP Senate candidates are bunched closely together with 25 percent of precincts reporting.

Still only 4 percent of precincts reporting in IA-04. Greenwald leads, but it’s way too early.

Peter Teahen is ahead in the GOP primary in IA-02 wih 30 percent of precincts reporting.

UPDATE 3: The Des Moines Register has called the IA-03 primary for Boswell. He leads 60-40 with 90 percent of precincts reporting.

Becky Greenwald has a huge lead in IA-04, with 52.6 percent of the vote after 59 percent of precincts reported. Kurt Meyer is in second place with 26.6 percent; William Meyers has 12.1 percent, and Kevin Miskell has 8.7 percent.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks has a small lead over Peter Teahen, 44.3 percent to 42.3 percent with 82 percent of precincts reporting.

The GOP Senate race is very close with 79 percent of precincts reporting: Christopher Reed has 35.4 percent, George Eichhorn has 34.9 percent.

UPDATE 4: There may need to be a recount in IA-02. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Miller-Meeks leads Teahen by fewer than 100 votes, 43.5 percent to 43.0 percent.

The GOP Senate primary is also a squeaker, with fewer than 200 votes separating reed and Eichhorn.

Boswell leads Fallon 61-29 with 98 percent reporting.

Greenwald leads Meyer 51-27 with 84 percent reporting.

All the Democratic House incumbents who had primary challengers held on to their seats.

Jerry Sullivan won the primary in House district 59 with 78 percent of the vote despite the robocalls against him that I wrote about last night.

FINAL UPDATE: It looks like Obama won the Montana primary and Clinton won the South Dakota primary.

I didn’t see Obama’s speech to a huge crowd in the Twin Cities, but I am amused that John McCain stupidly scheduled a speech for this evening. His speech got cut off so the tv networks could devote coverage to the big story (Obama winning the nomination) and Obama’s big speech (which was apparently great).

In IA-03, Boswell beat Fallon by 61-39 percent with all the precincts in. That is comparable to Representative Jane Harman’s victory over Marcy Winograd in a California Congressional district two years ago. Harman’s voting record reportedly improved after that primary. Let’s hope we can expect the same from Boswell.

Final results from the IA-04 primary: Greenwald 50.7 percent, Meyer 27.6 percent, Meyers 13.2 percent, Miskell 8.4 percent.

Christopher Reed won the GOP Senate primary by about 400 votes out of about 70,000 votes cast. He had 35.3 percent of the vote, George Eichhorn had 34.7 percent, and Steve Rathje had 29.9 percent.

IA-02 race called for Miller-Meeks. She won by a margin of 109 votes out of nearly 17,000 votes cast.

Nothing on the Des Moines Register’s site about recounts in the GOP Senate primary or Congressional primary in IA-02.

Primary predictions open thread

OK, political junkies, show us your stuff. Who will win the high-profile primaries in Iowa today?

By that I mean, who will win the Democratic primaries in Iowa’s third and fourth Congressional districts?

Who will win the Republican primary in Iowa’s second Congressional district? (Iowa Independent and the Des Moines Register have profiled the three candidates seeking to take on Congressman Dave Loebsack.)

UPDATE: I forgot that you can also predict which of these three Republicans will become the chump who’ll be lucky to get 40 percent of the vote against Tom Harkin this November.

I will update this post later with my own predictions for the Congressional races.

John Deeth has an outstanding post up going over some of the key primaries in the Iowa House and Senate races. I don’t know enough about those races to make my own predictions, but I encourage you to mention them in your comments if you want to test your prognosticating skills against Deeth’s.

SECOND UPDATE: Finally ready to post my predictions.

Although the GOP establishment seems to be behind Eichhorn for Senate, I’m guessing that Steve Rathje will win that primary. I give him zero chance against Harkin.

In IA-02, I think Mariannette Miller-Meeks will win. I doubt she will give Loebsack much trouble, and I’ll explain why another day.

In IA-04, I think Becky Greenwald will win with at least 35 percent, enough to avoid having to pick the nominee at a district convention. I say this because she’s raised a lot of money, she has the best connections in the southern part of the district, and it doesn’t hurt to be one woman running against three men in a Democratic primary.

In IA-03, I think Boswell will win but by less than 10 points. To be more specific, I’ll go with 54-46 as my guess.

Mike Lux also thinks Boswell will win but warns that his “over-reaction” will make it closer than it should have been:

Boswell’s over-the-top negative campaign against Ed has caused a serious negative reaction, and has got everyone talking. I talked to at least half a dozen people who said they were planning to vote for Leonard, but have switched to Ed because of the mailings, and even Boswell’s supporters have been made nervous and set on edge by the mailings.

I have not seen the Fallon campaign’s internal numbers, and I do not know enough about the process that generated them. My impression is that they did some kind of random selection of voters from the database and then had people call to check their preferences (correct me if I am wrong). My worry is that a lot of polite Iowans may have lied about their intentions when called by someone from the Fallon campaign.

Continue Reading...

In Depth Interviews

(Thanks for the heads-up. I won't be able to watch, but if you see the interviews, please put up a comment to tell us about them. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Greetings from the road!

I am doing my best to type this quick message on an IPod Touch from an interstate rest area (great perk for travels in Iowa).

Please note that this evening on KCCI Channel 8, all four candidates will be presented.  2 (me) candidates at 5 PM and the other 2 at 6 PM. 

Another Voter for Kurt Meyer

It is extremely exciting to have four great candidates in the district this year who are talking about the issues that are important to me and to my fellow Iowans.  Each has received endorsements from different groups with strong opinions on these issues, and it’s great to see these groups taking such an active role in the process.  

I expect that the turnout in our primary may be higher than it’s been in years, and that we can finally start reversing the damage the current administration and our current representative have done to our country, while carrying our nation forward in the future.  Therefore, I believe that we need a nominee who can carry that energy and that momentum forward into November and beyond, and I believe that nominee should be Kurt Meyer.

Continue Reading...

Vilsaks & Register Endorse Appalling Behavior

(As I've said, I am promoting all diaries by Democratic candidates in Iowa to the front page of Bleeding Heartland. It's unfortunate that William Meyers feels the process has been unfair. I strongly urge him (and all Democrats running for any office) to support the winner of tomorrow's primary. - promoted by desmoinesdem)


Six months ago I made my first official contact with each and every Democratic County Chair, introducing myself, and my candidacy for the United States House of Representatives.  Six months later, Chairpersons in key counties still deny me access to their Democrats.  I have asked multiple times, and even done so in my email newsletters, viewed by thousands of Democrats in the fourth district.  Additionally,  my email news program allows me to track who opens the emails, the date and time they opened them, links they may have clicked on, and who they may have forwarded the emails to.


Continue Reading...

Kurt Meyer's DEEP Minnesota Roots

With only days to go before the June 3rd primary, it looks like some basic facts are finally coming out about Iowa'a 4th District congressional candidate Kurt Meyer. This past Friday, the Des Moines Register wrote about Kurt's tenuous connection to Iowa.

  1. Kurt Meyer has not filed an Iowa tax return in TEN years!
  2. Kurt Meyer officially got his Iowa driver's license on Dec. 31st, 2007.
  3. Kurt's son attends school in Minneapolis – 4 years after Kurt MOVES to Iowa.

Kurt claims he moved back to Iowa in 2004, but the facts don't back this up.

Additional evidence of Kurt's purposeful deceit is found in a number of political donations that Meyer and his wife have made over the past several years.

If Kurt moved to Iowa 4 years ago, why have 4 out of 5 political donations to political candidates and the Iowa Democratic Party list his suburban Edina, Minnesota address?

1. Most recently Kurt donated $1,000 to the IA Dem Party on Oct. 17, 2007 and Meyer's put down the address of his home the wealthy suburb of Edina, Minnesota.

What's up with that?

2. A month earlier – Sept. 18, 2007 – Kurt's wife (Paula R Meyer) made an $1,800 donation to Hillary Clinton for President and listed their St. Ansgar home as her residence.

3. In 2006 Kurt donated his first $400 to the IA Dem Party and again used his upscale suburban Edina, Minnesota address.

4. Also, in 2006, Meyer's wife donated $250 to Spencer for Congress, again listing the Edina, Minnesota.

5. Another 2006 donation from Mrs Paula R Meyers for $500 for Klobuchar for Minnesota is listed at the Edina, Minnesota address.

Why did Kurt decide to run for Congress from Iowa rather than Minnesota where his high school aged son still lives?

No Iowa taxes no residence. What is Kurt hiding?

Iowa is obviously a great place to live, but is a person who has only lived in the state for a few months in his second home qualified to represent Iowans true needs.

Kurt's entire campaign has been dishonest about his limited connection to Iowa and Iowans deserve an explanation…

Maybe Meyer should try running in Minnesota next time, these are not deceits that Iowans will take lightly in November's election. The Democratic Party would do well to heed this warning or we will be sending Tom Latham back to Congress once again.

Below is a list of donations made by Minnesotan Kurt Meyer and his wife Paula R Meyer:

Continue Reading...

IA-4 Congressional Candidates Forum TODAY

Just a reminder for those of you in Iowa's 4th Congressional district.   IA-4 Democratic candidates will attend local Candidate Forums to answer constituent questions.

Becky Greenwald, Kurt Meyer, William J. Meyers and Kevin Miskell will attend all three forums.

Fourth Congressional District Democratic candidate Forum

Sunday May 18th, 2008
1:00-2:00 p.m. Knights of Columbus Hall, Waukon
2:30-4:00 p.m. at The Oaks Steakhouse, Highway 9 in Decorah
5:00-6:00 p.m. at Mabe’s Pizza, Cresco

 Hope to see some of you there!


Scott – 

How do our candidates in IA-04 differ from one another?

The Des Moines Register’s editorial board met separately with each of four Democratic candidates seeking to run against Tom Latham in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district. It will probably be another week or two before that newspaper endorses a candidate.

In the meantime, the news report on the interviews focused on their general agreement regarding the Bush administration’s tax breaks for the wealthy.

I would think that fourth district Democrats need to know more about the differences between these candidates. Are there any significant federal policies on which they disagree? Which committees would they want to serve on in Congress? Would they have a different strategy for running against Latham, or bring a unique strength to the table in the general election?

As I’ve written before, I am staying neutral in the IA-04 primary, but the winner will get $100 from me. I would love to get Latham out of Congress this year, or at least make him work so hard that he seriously considers retiring before the 2010 election.

Honoring Our Veterans

(I am promoting all diaries by Democratic candidates in Iowa to the front page. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

As Memorial Day nears and the death toll continues to climb in Iraq, most Democrats are united in our determination to extract our troops from Iraq safely and swiftly.  As important as withdrawing our troops is how we care for the troops upon their return home.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with retired veterans at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown about exactly that – how America should, and can, honor our veterans.  

Continue Reading...

The Importance of a Balanced Budget

(I plan to promote all diaries written by Democratic candidates in Iowa to the front page. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

At one point in my career of working with nonprofit organizations, I estimated having assembled and submitted close to 2,000 grant applications.  Through this process, I learned some important lessons that have helped prepare me for service in Congress.

Continue Reading...

4th District Candidate Forum

(I hope some Bleeding Heartland readers will be able to attend this forum. Put up a diary afterwards to let us know how it went! - promoted by desmoinesdem)

The Madison County Democrats are leading the way with the first 4th District Congressional Candidate Forum!

This forum is open to the public.  Press and Bloggers are encouraged to attend.

I sincerely hope to meet many of you there!

Best Regards,

William J. Meyers

Continue Reading...

Who IS Kurt Meyer, really?

After reading his campaign manager's claim that  Kurt Meyer is claiming to have the primary race in the bag,  it seems some serious scrutiny may be in order..
Someone needs to ask Kurt Meyer a few serious questions, and it is doubtful the Iowa media will do so because he is pouring huge sums into his own campaign,and that all represents advertising revenues.
His staff has bragged recently on this very blog that he is “winning” because he has raised over $100,00 in contributions, but does not mention that he gave $100,000 of that to his own campaign. 
It is this kind of slick spin that should make Iowans wonder at his real story.


Continue Reading...

Getting Results

(I plan to promote all diaries by Democratic candidates in Iowa this year. Please encourage other candidates for local, state or federal offices to join us at Bleeding Heartland. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I recently spoke with a former client colleague who I assisted in a hospital expansion project.  Although it’s been several years since I worked with this organization, the project stands out in my mind as a very gratifying professional experience.

The challenge for this hospital was to generate the philanthropic funding required to build a new and expanded Emergency Room.  They needed $3 million to make this happen.  As I recall, their capital campaign generated $3.3 million and a terrific new ER opened 18 months ago.  It’s a handsome facility… but more important, it brings a much higher level of emergency care to an entire community.

One reality of healthcare today is a significant number of people coming to an Emergency Room do so without insurance and without ability to pay, knowing (hoping?) they won’t be turned away.  To address this situation, hospitals expand their emergency facilities.  Often, additional space is NOT driven by an increase in medical emergencies but rather the need for a universal healthcare plan, one that covers every man, woman, and child in the United States. 

I’m proud of this hospital… for the care they provide, for their commitment to the community, and for their many dedicated employees.  It was a pleasure to work with them and a good example of the positive results that can be brought about through a community-wide collaboration. 

But expanded facilities won’t solve our nation’s healthcare dilemma.  This will require positive results coming out of Washington, which in turn is likely to require a Democratic President and increased Democratic margins in the House and the Senate. 

Like many 4th district Iowans, I am committed to meaningful healthcare reform.  I anticipate working hard to generate the desired results when a new congress convenes next January.  Of course, other changes must take place in the next 9 months for me to have this opportunity, including a change in our congressional representation.  I’m committed to helping make this change too!

Until next time, 

Kurt Meyer         

Congressional Candidate for Iowa's 4th District

Continue Reading...

Dem Race in the 4th is over! Meyer has raised $130,000.

Got this from Kurt Meyer campaign — looks like this thing is over and he will breeze into the nomination with figures like this!  I am impressed:

Dear Friends, 

We are pleased to announce that the Kurt Meyer for Congress Campaign has generated more than $130,000 in the first quarter of 2008. In the six weeks after Kurt announced his candidacy in mid-February, the campaign has received hundreds of generous contributions from family and friends throughout the District, across Iowa, and around the country.

Having the financial backing of citizens of the 4th District and the great state of Iowa sends a strong message to Washington: the 4th District is ready for Democratic leadership, and Kurt Meyer is the candidate to deliver that change.  What’s more, every dollar enables Kurt to reach out to citizens from each of the 28 counties of the 4th District to hear their stories and learn about their needs.    

It is undeniable that the generous support of family, friends, and voters has given the Kurt Meyer for Congress Campaign a great start. But it is only a start.  Running an intense, aggressive and effective campaign against an entrenched incumbent can take millions of dollars – but we can do this with your help.  If you’ve already given, we ask that you consider giving again. If you have yet to make a contribution, we ask that you join the hundreds of Kurt’s supporters who have already made a difference in this campaign by going to www.kurtmeyerforcongress.com and making a contribution.

We appreciate your continued support and look forward to broadening our support base with your help.



Emily Caponetti

Campaign Manager

Kurt Meyer for Congress 

Boswell campaign questions Fallon's ethics (part 1)

As I’ve noted recently, the primary to represent Iowa’s third Congressional district has taken a strange turn, whereby the incumbent seems to be trying to make the race primarily about the challenger’s faults rather than the incumbent’s record of service.

I’ve been too busy in non-blog life to write up the day to day sparring following a recent e-mail from Leonard Boswell’s campaign, which attacked Ed Fallon on several fronts.

The criticism of Fallon by Boswell’s surrogates and supporters has focused on four issues in particular:

1. alleged ethical questions related to Fallon’s work for the Independence Movement for Iowa (I’M for Iowa)

2. the salary Fallon drew from unspent campaign funds following the 2006 gubernatorial primary

3. allegations that Fallon pondered running for governor as an independent after losing that primary

4. Fallon’s stand against taking contributions from PACs while allowing PACs to encourage their individual members to donate to his campaign.

I will cover each of those issues in a separate diary, because I don’t have time to write about all of them at once. Today, I will address the allegations related to I’M for Iowa.

Chase Martyn of Iowa Independent published a piece on March 20 called “Fallon Faces Campaign Finance Questions.” Martyn raised questions about I’M for Iowa’s ability to collect unlimited donations without disclosing the sources:

Although I’M For Iowa participates in political advocacy and relies on contributions to stay afloat, its financial status does not fit the typical mold for this type of organization. Rather than registering it as a nonprofit organization with the Internal Revenue Service under sections 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) or 527, Fallon runs the organization as a for-profit general partnership, making its tax status no different from most home businesses. He and his current campaign manager, Lynn Heuss, co-own the business.

But there is a difference between I’M For Iowa and most typical businesses: Rather than sell products and services to customers, it accepts donations for its political advocacy work. While the donations are not tax-deductible, the business can accept unlimited amounts of money. And because of its tax status, it is not required to disclose information about its sources of funding.

Martyn also noted that two e-mails sent to I’M for Iowa’s distribution list appeared to have promoted Fallon’s Congressional campaign:

On Feb. 29 an e-mail Fallon wrote to his I’M For Iowa group invited readers to visit his campaign Web site and participate in campaign activities to coincide with his 50th birthday. And on Jan. 12 he sent an I’M For Iowa e-mail announcing his candidacy for Congress and providing a lengthy critique of his primary opponent’s voting record.

The result is a complicated question involving the nuances of campaign finance law. Can an unincorporated business accept unlimited contributions without the requirement to disclose its contributors and then use contributed funds to promote a congressional campaign?

Martyn suggested that even if no laws were broken, the questions could hurt Fallon’s image, since he has been a strong advocate of clean-elections laws (such as the Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections Act, which would create a voluntary system of public financing of election campaigns).

The Des Moines Register didn’t follow up on the Iowa Independent story until after the Boswell campaign drew attention to it a week later. Thomas Beaumont examined various questions related to I’M for Iowa in the Register on March 29:

The organization is a trade name registered with the Polk County recorder. Small businesses such as lawn care services and other sole proprietorships register this way.

However, some other advocacy organizations, such as the 15-year-old, Des Moines-based State Public Policy Group, is also registered the same way as Fallon’s group.

I’M for Iowa is not a corporation, over which the Iowa secretary of state has regulatory authority.

Fallon’s group does not have to report its sources of money or what kind of business it is. But it receives no money from corporations, said Lynn Heuss, Fallon’s partner in the organization.

It runs on contributions from individuals who support its agenda, which includes limiting large livestock confinements, curbing global warming, promoting campaign finance reform and preventing abuse of eminent domain.

It seems clear that there is no legal barrier to using the I’M for Iowa e-mail list to promote Fallon’s Congressional campaign.

Martyn wrote in Iowa Independent:

A representative of the Federal Elections Commission would not comment on any matters that regulators may have to rule on, but FEC regulations do not seem to explicitly prohibit coordination between a campaign and an unincorporated business entity owned by a candidate.

Beaumont’s March 29 article for the Register notes that

Campaign finance law bars corporate contributions from federal races. However, the law specifies corporations and limited liability companies, which Fallon’s group is not.

According to a press release from Fallon’s campaign on April 2, the information services department of the Federal Election Commission “confirmed that Ed Fallon has done nothing illegal or unethical.” The full text of that release is after the jump, but here is a relevant excerpt:

Fallon campaign manager, Lynn Heuss, provided the rules the campaign reviewed with the FEC Information Officer: From the FEC Candidate Guide, Chapter 4, Section 10, “Partnerships are permitted to make contributions according to special rules. 110.1(e) and (k)(1). For further details, see Appendix B.”

In addition, Chapter 4, Section 12 of the FEC Candidate’s Guide says, “When candidates use their personal funds for campaign purposes, they are making contributions to their campaigns. Unlike other contributions, these candidate contributions are not subject to any limits. 110.10; AOs 1991-9, 1990-9, 1985-33 and 1985-60. They must, however, be reported (as discussed below).” And a little further down under “Definition of a Candidate’s “Personal Funds” it says, “The personal funds of a candidate include: Assets which the candidate has a legal right of access to or control over, and which he or she has legal title to or an equitable interest in, at the time of candidacy; income from employment; ….”

Heuss clarified the only contribution the business has made is sending out two email messages, which constitute an in-kind donation, and is not in violation of FEC regulation.

(UPDATE: Chase Martyn reported on April 3 that the FEC denied making “any determination relative to the specific circumstances of any campaign”. Martyn added that Iowa Independent had merely questioned the ethics of how I’M for Iowa was used and not alleged that any laws were broken.)

If no laws were broken, what is the problem? The Boswell campaign has tried to suggest that there is something underhanded about I’M for Iowa. From the Register’s March 29 article:

“If he’s going to run on clean elections, then he should come clean about what he’s doing,” Boswell campaign spokesman Mark Daley said.


The ethics questions are the latest jab by Boswell ahead of the June 3 primary.

“On the surface, this looks like a fund to give him a job,” Daley said.

Although I’ve donated to Fallon’s gubernatorial and Congressional campaigns, I have never contributed money to I’M for Iowa. As a result, I haven’t followed the organization’s work very closely.

But if individuals want to give money to help Fallon advocate for clean elections, or organize opposition to coal-fired power plants and CAFOs, what is the problem?  

Non-profit organizations are unable or unwilling to take a position on some kinds of political disputes, so there is a niche for a business like I’M for Iowa.

Does the Boswell campaign mean to suggest that advocacy work is not a real job? That seems strange. Barack Obama’s supporters and television commercials have praised that candidate for working as a community organizer after finishing law school.

Frankly, I’m a little surprised the Boswell campaign wants to go down this road, since Boswell’s campaign accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate PACs in 2007 alone. I’m supposed to be concerned about the hidden agenda of individuals who have contributed to I’M for Iowa?

Asked to comment in the Register article of March 29, Fallon characterized the allegations as typical establishment politics:

“The political establishment attacks a candidate on his strength,” Fallon said. “My strength is my commitment to issues. They are looking for ways to discredit me.”

Fallon’s campaign addressed the controversy in more detail in statements released on March 31 and April 2. The full text of those press releases are after the jump.

Continue Reading...

Role reversal: challenger urges incumbent to drop negative campaigning

Typically, a challenger needs to run a somewhat negative campaign in order to convince voters to reject the incumbent. The incumbent normally is content to ignore the challenger and run on his or her record of service.

In Iowa’s third Congressional district, a strange role reversal is underway, in which Ed Fallon is calling on Leonard Boswell’s campaign to “stop the negative attacks.”

Last week I posted the text of an e-mail from Boswell, which charged that Fallon is “no Democrat” and “has never acted in the best interest of our party.”

On March 24, Fallon issued a press release and a letter to his supporters responding to the attacks from the Boswell camp. It once again addresses Fallon’s support for Ralph Nader in 2000, and also responds to claims that Fallon’s work for I’M for Iowa has run afoul of ethical or campaign finance rules.

I am working on another post about the financing of the Boswell and Fallon campaigns, and will write more about allegations surrounding Fallon and I’M for Iowa in the near future.

For now, I will note that the Boswell campaign probably would not have stepped up the attacks on Fallon in March if their internal polling and voter contacts were encouraging. (I got a call from a field organizer for Boswell during the first week of March, and my husband got a call from an organizer for Boswell this past week.)

An incumbent who is not worried doesn’t go after a challenger this way two months before the primary.

When the first public poll of this race is released, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fallon within striking distance of Boswell.

The full text of Fallon’s press release of March 24 is after the jump.

Continue Reading...

Unethical? Illegal?

it has come to my attention, that the Kurt Meyer campaign has excepted a $500 donation and endorsment of the Mitchell County Central Committee.  See link below for confirmation off his own website.


My understanding was that this is not a common practice from central committees to endorse and donate money to an individual candidate if there is more then one candidate running, unitl AFTER the primaries. It could be construed as unethical and possiblly against campaign finance regulations. 

I have heard that there are some in the Iowa Democratic Party that may be contemplating filing a complaint against Kurt and/or the Mitchell County Central Committee.

 This is an open discussion, and any and all information would be greatly appreciated.

DCCC targeting IA-03 and IA-04

I received an e-mail from Kurt Meyer’s campaign in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district, and it mentioned that incumbent Tom Latham is one of the Republicans being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

I hadn’t realized that the DCCC planned to put resources into flipping that seat. It will be an uphill battle, but if the climate is right for Democratic candidates nationwide and in Iowa, it should be within reach.

I am staying out of the primary battle in IA-04, but I plan to donate $100 to the campaign of the winner of that primary. I would love to see that district turn blue.

While digging around on the DCCC’s website for more information, I noticed that they have also named Leonard Boswell as one of 29 “frontline Democrats.” I do not know whether that means the DCCC will put resources into the primary race in IA-03.

Here is the ActBlue page the DCCC set up for all of its “frontline Democrats”:


Here is a map you can use to find all of the districts the DCCC is targeting this year, either for pickups or defense:


UPDATE: brownsox analyzes the list at Daily Kos and says the DCCC is targeting 59 Republican-held seats for pickups and 31 Democratic seats for defense:


Rural Iowa Needs Wireless Access

( - promoted by noneed4thneed)

Slowly but steadily we’re opening our central campaign office, located at 600 5th Street in Ames.  For those involved in Dr. Spencer’s campaign in 2006, it’s the same office suite.  I use the word “slowly” to acknowledge that creating the necessary office infrastructure – such mundane but essential matters as desks and chairs, working space and storage space, networks and systems – requires time and patience.  Often, the press of schedules, deadlines, and emerging priorities intervenes and interrupts efforts that might otherwise be directed to settling in.  The good news:  we now have an office and it’s opening up deliberately…  like a flower.  Soon we’ll be in full bloom.  And, yes, we’ll schedule an open house and invite everyone to stop by and say hello.

Mention of infrastructure reminds me of the need for Washington leadership to ensure that our country is making wise, long-term investments in the infrastructure required for life in the 21st century… roads and bridges, of course, but also an electricity transmission grid and a high-speed Internet infrastructure to ensure modern telecommunication benefits for Iowans.

Continue Reading...
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 5