Social conservative Ginny Caligiuri launches IA-02 bid

Describing herself as a “pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-Israel, and pro-Constitution conservative,” Ginny Caligiuri made her quest for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s second Congressional district official today. Her candidacy was no secret; the former state director for the Congressional Prayer Caucus, National Governor’s Prayer Team, and US National Prayer Council had nominating papers out to be signed at the February 5 precinct caucuses and has been making the rounds at GOP county central committee meetings.

Bleeding Heartland profiled Caligiuri in January. You can keep up with her campaign online at GinnyGetsIowa.com, Facebook, or Twitter (at this writing, a protected account).

The announcement for Caligiuri’s kickoff event in Osceola on March 8 noted, “The 2nd District elected Donald Trump, and Ginny plans to help him accomplish what he was elected to do.” That line struck me as a subtle dig at Caligiuri’s competition in the GOP primary. Dr. Christopher Peters is a libertarian-minded Republican; as the IA-02 nominee, he announced in October 2016 that he would not vote for Trump.

I enclose below Caligiuri’s official bio and a map of Iowa’s Congressional districts. According to the latest figures from the Secretary of State’s office, the 24 counties contain 160,891 active registered Democrats, 141,798 Republicans, an 181,740 no-party voters.

The Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball both rate this race as a likely Democratic hold for six-term Representative Dave Loebsack. For reasons discussed here, I think Republicans missed their best chance to defeat Loebsack by not targeting his district during the 2016 cycle. Trump carried the 24 counties in IA-02 by 49.1 percent to 45.0 percent, a huge swing from Barack Obama’s 55.8 percent to 42.7 percent margin over Mitt Romney in 2012.

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Get ready for a wave of Iowa House Republican retirements (updated)

State legislator retirements are typically a problem for the party out of power. Members of the majority can chair committees, drive the agenda, and get plenty of attention from lobbyists. Life in the minority caucus is much less satisfying.

Although Iowa House Republicans enjoy a 59-41 majority, four GOP representatives have already confirmed plans to step down this year, with more retirements likely before the March 16 filing deadline. When incumbents don’t seek re-election, party leaders sometimes must spend more resources defending open seats, leaving less money available for top and especially second-tier targets.

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Who's who in the Iowa House for 2018

The Iowa House opens its 2018 session today with 58 Republicans, 41 Democrats, and one vacancy, since Jim Carlin resigned after winning the recent special election in Iowa Senate district 3. Voters in House district 6 will choose Carlin’s successor on January 16. UPDATE: Republican Jacob Bossman won that election, giving the GOP 59 seats for the remainder of 2018.

The 99 state representatives include 27 women (18 Democrats and nine Republicans) and 72 men. Five African-Americans (all Democrats) serve in the legislature’s lower chamber; the other 95 lawmakers are white. No Latino has ever been elected to the Iowa House, and there has not been an Asian-American member since Swati Dandekar moved up to the Iowa Senate following the 2008 election.

After the jump I’ve posted details on the Iowa House majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing House committees. Where relevant, I’ve noted significant changes since last year.

Under the Ethics Committee subheading, you’ll see a remarkable example of Republican hypocrisy.

Some non-political trivia: the Iowa House includes two Taylors (one from each party) and two Smiths (both Democrats). As for first names, there are six Davids (four go by Dave), four Roberts (two Robs, one Bob, and a Bobby), four Marys (one goes by Mary Ann), three Johns and a Jon, and three men each named Gary and Charles (two Chucks and a Charlie). There are also two Elizabeths (a Beth and a Liz) and two men each named Brian, Bruce, Chris, Todd, and Michael (one goes by Mike).

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Who's who in the Iowa House for 2017

The Iowa House opens its 2017 session today with 59 Republicans, 40 Democrats, and one vacancy, since Jim Lykam resigned after winning the recent special election in Iowa Senate district 45. The 99 state representatives include 27 women (18 Democrats and nine Republicans) and 72 men. Five African-Americans (all Democrats) serve in the legislature’s lower chamber; the other 95 lawmakers are white. No Latino has ever been elected to the Iowa House, and there has not been an Asian-American member since Swati Dandekar moved up to the Iowa Senate following the 2008 election.

After the jump I’ve posted details on the Iowa House majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing House committees. Where relevant, I’ve noted changes since last year.

Under the Ethics Committee subheading, you’ll see a remarkable example of Republican hypocrisy.

Some non-political trivia: the Iowa House includes two Taylors (one from each party) and two Smiths (both Democrats). As for first names, there are six Davids (four go by Dave), four Roberts (two Robs, one Bob, and a Bobby), four Marys (one goes by Mary Ann), and three men each named Gary, John, and Charles (two Chucks and a Charlie). There are also two Elizabeths (a Beth and a Liz) and two men each named Brian, Bruce, Chris, Greg, Michael, and Todd.

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Never let it be said that the 2016 Iowa legislature accomplished nothing

In four months of work this year, Iowa lawmakers made no progress on improving water quality or expanding conservation programs, funded K-12 schools and higher education below levels needed to keep up with inflation, failed to increase the minimum wage or address wage theft, let most criminal justice reform proposals die in committee, didn’t approve adequate oversight for the newly-privatized Medicaid program, opted against making medical cannabis more available to sick and suffering Iowans, and left unaddressed several other issues that affect thousands of constituents.

But let the record reflect that bipartisan majorities in the Iowa House and Senate acted decisively to solve a non-existent problem. At a bill-signing ceremony yesterday, Governor Terry Branstad and supporters celebrated preventing something that probably never would have happened.

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