# Linda Langston



Liz Bennett, Breanna Oxley face off in open Iowa Senate primary (updated)

Catching up on some news from before the holiday weekend: a competitive Democratic primary is shaping up for an open Iowa Senate seat covering part of Cedar Rapids. Four-term State Representative Liz Bennett confirmed on June 30 that she will run for the district that State Senator Rob Hogg has represented since 2007. Hogg won’t seek re-election in 2022, he announced last month. Iowa has yet to adopt a new political map, but this district will cover some part of the city of Cedar Rapids.

Bennett is the ranking Democrat on the Iowa House Economic Growth Committee and a member of the Human Resources, Natural Resources, and Information Technology committees, as well as the Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals Appropriations subcommittee. Having won four previous state legislative races, she will be the early favorite in the Iowa Senate primary.

Bennett is also the first out LGBTQ woman elected to the Iowa legislature and the only out LGBTQ person now serving at the statehouse. Only one out LGBTQ person has ever served in the Iowa Senate: Matt McCoy, who did not seek re-election in 2018.

Breanna Oxley, a public school teacher and education activist, was first to declare her candidacy for the Cedar Rapids Senate district on June 15. She told Bleeding Heartland last week she is staying in that race. Her endorsers include former U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack, former State Senator Swati Dandekar, and former Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston.

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Who are Iowa's superdelegates in 2016?

The Democratic Party’s “superdelegates” have been in the news lately as a potential base of support for Hillary Clinton in what may be a long battle with Bernie Sanders for the presidential nomination. I agree entirely with Pat Rynard that talking about superdelegates as Clinton’s “firewall” plays perfectly into the Sanders campaign narrative of anti-establishment warrior. Furthermore, I support eliminating superdelegates, which came into being before the 1984 presidential campaign as a way to give party insiders more leverage over the nominating process.

Since we’re stuck with superdelegates for this cycle, I’ve named Iowa’s likely representatives below. The Democratic National Committee has yet to confirm the list but is expected to do so next month.

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IA-01: Democrat Steve Sodders thinking about it

State Senator Steve Sodders will "take a serious look" at running for the first Congressional district seat Bruce Braley is vacating. Speaking by telephone yesterday, Sodders said he is in the "very exploratory" phase, talking with different groups and individuals. He currently has no deadline for announcing his plans, but he expects to decide sometime before this summer whether to run in next year's Democratic primary.

Marshall County Deputy Sheriff Sodders was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2008. He was just re-elected to a four-year term in Senate district 36, covering Marshall and Tama counties and a small area in Black Hawk County. Consequently, he would not need to give up his Senate seat to run for Congress. In addition to serving as Senate president pro-tem, Sodders chairs the Economic Growth Committee. I've posted his official bio after the jump.

So far State Representative Pat Murphy is the only declared Democratic candidate in the first Congressional district, and Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje is the only declared Republican.

I continue to believe that Iowa Democrats should nominate a woman for this very winnable seat--preferably someone other than the woman who just voted herself a 25 percent raise. I wish Senate President Pam Jochum had not taken herself out of the running so early.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. The latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's office indicate that the 20 counties in IA-01 contain 165,428 active registered Democrats, 137,943 Republicans, and 193,674 no-party voters.

UPDATE: Sodders posted on Facebook on March 11, "Headed to Wash DC next week to talk to several groups and individuals about District 1." At the end of this post I've added more recent comments from Sodders.

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