Ross Wilburn nominated for Iowa House district 46 special

Ross Wilburn will be the Democratic candidate in the August 6 election to represent Iowa House district 46. Delegates to a special nominating convention in Ames on June 29 chose Wilburn on the second ballot.

The former Iowa City mayor, who has worked for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach since 2014, recently told Bleeding Heartland that if elected to the state House, he wants to address problems with privatized Medicaid, climate change, and gun violence. Other priorities for Wilburn are strengthening public school districts, restoring collective bargaining rights for public workers, and making Iowa more welcoming and inclusive for marginalized groups such as the LGBTQ community, people of color, veterans, and people with disabilities.

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Democrats Jamet Colton, Amber Corrieri running for Iowa House district 46

Ames School Board member Jamet Colton and Ames City Council member Amber Corrieri confirmed on June 17 that they will seek the Democratic nomination for Iowa House district 46, where longtime State Representative Lisa Heddens is stepping down to serve as a Story County supervisor. I enclose below statements with background on both candidates.

Delegates in the precincts that make up House district 46 will select the nominee at a district convention, to be scheduled soon after Governor Kim Reynolds sets a date for the special House election. Although I have not seen any formal announcement from Ames School Board member Lewis Rosser, many Story County sources expect him to compete for the nomination. Dr. Jay Brown, an allergist with the McFarland Clinic, is also considering the race, he told Bleeding Heartland over the weekend.

The Democratic nominee will almost certainly win the special election later this summer, given that the strongest potential Republican candidate, Ames City Council member Tim Gartin, says he is not running. Some locals had speculated that Gartin had a chance to flip the seat, with the election taking place before most Iowa State University students return for the fall semester. I haven’t heard of any announced GOP candidate for this race. Even without the large student population in town, winning this district would be a longshot for a Republican. Residents of House district 46 gave 57.2 percent of the 2016 presidential vote to Hillary Clinton and 65.3 percent of the vote for governor last year to Fred Hubbell.

Regardless of who serves out the remainder of Heddens’ term, which runs through 2020, Democrats may well have a contested primary in House district 46 next June. It’s easy to qualify for the primary ballot in Iowa by collecting 50 signatures on nominating petitions.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that if elected, Colton would be the first Latinx to serve in the Iowa legislature.

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Democratic declines in key counties: A turnout or persuasion problem?

Twelfth in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2018 state and federal elections.

One of the hottest debates in Democratic activist circles relates to strategy for winning statewide and national elections. Does the party need to fix a base turnout problem by nominating contenders who will inspire passionate support among progressives? Or is the more urgent task appealing to voters who used to back Democrats, but lately have favored Republican candidates?

This post doesn’t claim to settle that argument, but searches for clues in the results and turnout rates from key Iowa counties where Fred Hubbell underperformed in his bid to unseat Governor Kim Reynolds.

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Court puts four new Iowa voting restrictions on hold (updated)

A Polk County District Court has ordered that four voting restrictions Iowa Republicans enacted in 2017 will be on hold pending resolution of a lawsuit the League of United Latin American Citizens and Iowa State University student Taylor Blair filed in May. Plaintiffs had requested the temporary injunction, noting that the new law (House File 516) could disenfranchise eligible voters in various ways and would disproportionately harm Democrats, who are more likely to cast early ballots.

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66 photos from Keep Families Together rallies in Iowa

Despite heat advisories across most of the state, at least 2,000 Iowans turned out for rallies and marches on June 30 to oppose the Trump administration’s family separation policy and demand justice for immigrants.

Like the Women’s March and similar mass protests from the past two years, the Keep Families Together events were a target-rich environment for creative political signs and t-shirts. With thanks to those who gave permission to publish their photographs here, I’ve compiled some of my favorite images from the weekend.

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Then and now: Kim Reynolds on Steve King

Governor Kim Reynolds downplayed her association with U.S. Representative Steve King on Friday, saying “No two people are going to agree on everything” and describing the bigoted loudmouth as just “one of over 4,000 honorary chairs” of her campaign.

When it has suited her political purposes, she has spoken of King in a much more flattering way.

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