Terry McAuliffe polling Iowans? Notes on a survey

I encourage activists to take notes on political surveys and share what they’ve heard. Bleeding Heartland user corncam did a great job. -promoted by Laura Belin

We can add one more name to the list of presidential candidates who may compete in the 2020 Iowa caucuses: former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. I completed a phone survey on January 14 that was ostensibly neutral, but I’m pretty sure it was sponsored by McAuliffe. I’ll tell you why below.

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Strange gatekeeping in first Des Moines Register/CNN Iowa caucus poll

A little more than a year before Iowa Democrats will start the process of selecting a challenger to face President Donald Trump, Selzer & Co has polled likely Democratic caucus-goers for the Des Moines Register, CNN, and Mediacom. Brianne Pfannenstiel wrote up the key findings from the survey of 455 Iowans “who say they will definitely or probably participate in the 2020 Democratic caucuses.”

The toplines were not surprising, but I was baffled by some of the choices on which candidates to include.

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Part 4: How to corrupt Iowa agriculture

Latest deep dive by Tyler Higgs on money in Iowa politics. -promoted by desmoinesdem

There’s nothing more Iowan than farming, and there’s nothing more dangerous than a corrupt politician. Those idyllic Grant Wood images of Iowa farms and hard-working Iowa farmers are being replaced by logos of the Big Ag monopolies that exploit the Iowa family farmer for financial gain. That is how you corrupt Iowa agriculture.

In this article, I will show the finances of both candidates for Iowa secretary of agriculture, Republican Mike Naig and Democrat Tim Gannon. You can decide who is fighting for the family farmer and who is in the pocket of big agribusiness companies.

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Martin O'Malley keeping the focus on other Democrats, for now

“Are you excited to have someone to rally around to send to Des Moines?” former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley asked a packed room in Clive at the February 12 kickoff for Kenan Judge‘s candidacy in Iowa House district 44. The past and probably future presidential candidate said nothing about his own record during his brief remarks. Later, he explained why he will devote much of 2018 to campaigning for other Democrats.

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Weekend open thread: Post-legislative funnel edition

It was a busy week in Iowa politics, as state lawmakers raced the clock before the first “funnel” deadline on Friday. With few exceptions, non-appropriations bills not yet approved by at least one Iowa House or Senate committee are no longer eligible for consideration during the 2017 legislative session. For roundups of which bills are alive and dead, see James Q. Lynch’s story for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register article by William Petroski and Brianne Pfannenstiel. Bleeding Heartland covered the demise of the “personhood” bill here.

Some bills that didn’t clear the funnel may be attached to appropriations bills later. Republican State Senator Brad Zaun hopes to revive a medical cannabis proposal that way, Tony Leys reported for the Des Moines Register.

I enclose below Iowa Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg’s post-funnel list of the “dirty dozen” bills that Democrats are most focused on blocking during the remainder of the legislative session.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome. I’d especially appreciate tips on newsworthy comments from today’s legislative forums around the state. A Democrat in Muscatine asked State Representative Gary Carlson this morning whether he had any evidence of election fraud and whether he would acknowledge that the Republican voter ID proposal is a voter suppression bill. Carlson told her, “I just want the right people to vote.” Probably more honest than he meant to be. John Deeth explained the latest disenfranchising provisions House Republicans want to attach to Secretary of State Paul Pate’s bill, now named House File 516.

Final note: although it was sunny and unseasonably warm today in Des Moines, only about 100 people showed up for the “Spirit of America” rally by the Capitol building. A much larger crowd came to the Capitol on a very cold Thursday in February to march against President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” and immigration executive orders. An estimated 26,000 turned out for the Iowa Women’s March at the same venue on a Saturday morning in January.

UPDATE: Added after the jump side by side photos of the Women’s March and today’s event. SECOND UPDATE: A reader sent me his photo (taken by a drone) of the crowd at the Capitol for the “Day Without Immigrants” rally on Thursday, February 16. Added below.

Zaun was the first speaker to the pro-Trump audience today, and he noted (accurately) that he was the first Iowa Republican elected official to endorse Trump for president. He didn’t mention that he had previously declared himself “110 percent behind” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, whose campaign flamed out months before the Iowa caucuses. On caucus night, Trump finished third in the Senate district Zaun represents, behind Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

UPDATE: Past and future presidential candidate Martin O’Malley was back in central Iowa on March 4, attending a fundraiser for State Senator Nate Boulton, among other events. O’Malley’s 2016 presidential campaign had a strong organization on the east side of Des Moines, which is part of Boulton’s district. The former governor of Maryland has visited Iowa regularly since the election, including stops in Davenport to support the special election campaigns of Jim Lykam for the Iowa Senate and Monica Kurth for the Iowa House.

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Monica Kurth wins special election in Iowa House district 89

Democrat Monica Kurth easily won the January 31 special election to represent Iowa House district 89. The seat covering parts of Davenport (map enclosed below) became vacant after Jim Lykam won the recent special election to represent Iowa Senate disrict 45. Kurth defeated Republican Mike Gonzales by 2081 votes to 784 (72.4 percent to 27.3 percent). In effect, she won before polls opened yesterday. Absentee ballots broke 1,092 to 86 in her favor, Ed Tibbetts reported.

Kurth has been a community activist for many years and was a longtime instructor and counselor at Scott Community College. During the campaign, she promised to advocate for higher wages, good education, and retirement security, and to “keep focused on working families, not special interests.”

The total number of ballots cast in House district 89 was close to what special election guru David Beaudoin projected, based on his analysis of the district and Lykam’s results against Gonzales in December. However, Kurth’s winning margin exceeded Beaudoin’s prediction. Republicans put little effort into winning this district, which contains 7,403 active registered Democrats, 4,730 Republicans, and 8,416 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Gonzales raised less than $3,000, of which about $1,000 came from GOP county committees. He reported no in-kind expenditures by the Iowa GOP.

In contrast, Kurth raised about $24,000 for this race, of which $15,000 came from Democratic or labor organizations. The Iowa Democratic Party also spent nearly $30,000 on direct mail and advertising.

Former (and presumably future) presidential candidate Martin O’Malley came to Davenport last weekend to help Kurth’s campaign. He showed up for Lykam before the December Senate election as well.

Once Kurth has been sworn in, the Iowa House will have 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats. She will bring the number of women in the chamber to 28: nineteen Democrats and nine Republicans.

P.S.- Nine people went to the trouble of casting a ballot in this January election for a write-in candidate. I’m always fascinated by such behavior.

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