The 19 Bleeding Heartland posts I worked hardest on in 2019

Five years ago, I started taking stock of my most labor-intensive posts near the end of each year. Not all of these are my favorite projects, though invariably, some of my favorites end up on these compilations.

Before getting to the countdown for 2019, I want to give another shout out to guest authors who poured an extraordinary amount of work into two posts Bleeding Heartland published last year.

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Exclusive: Iowa Democrats recall first Congressional vote on Hyde amendment

Forty-three years ago this week, Congress overrode a presidential veto to enact an appropriations bill containing the first ban on federal funding for abortion. Republican U.S. Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois had proposed language prohibiting Medicaid coverage of abortion during House debate on what was then called the Health, Education, and Welfare budget. Ever since, the policy has been known as the “Hyde amendment.”

Four Iowans who served in Congress at the time spoke to Bleeding Heartland this summer about their decisions to oppose the Hyde amendment and the political context surrounding a vote that had long-lasting consequences.

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IA-Gov: Boulton, Hubbell lead in early legislative endorsements

State Senator Nate Boulton and Fred Hubbell have locked up more support among state lawmakers than the five other Democrats running for governor combined.

Whether legislative endorsements will matter in the 2018 gubernatorial race is an open question. The overwhelming majority of state lawmakers backed Mike Blouin before the 2006 gubernatorial primary, which Chet Culver won. Last year, former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge won the nomination for U.S. Senate, even though about 60 current and 30 former Democratic lawmakers had endorsed State Senator Rob Hogg.

Nevertheless, prominent supporters can provide a clue to activists or journalists about which primary contenders are well-positioned. Where things stand:

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Building a Statewide Party

Pete McRoberts, a close observer of many Iowa Democratic campaigns, kicks off Bleeding Heartland’s series of guest contributions on how the party can recover after routs in two consecutive elections. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The days after any election offer for winners, some hope and excitement, and for losers, the opportunity to examine – in as close to real time as possible – where candidates and organizations succeeded, and failed. We get a re-set. If used properly, the days and weeks after an election loss – no matter how hard that loss is – can affirmatively help us do better at what we sought to do.

This is not a wholesale analysis of the Democratic Party in Iowa or the 2016 numbers, and it’s not a general ‘how to’ guide. It’s an attempt to go under the hood, and look at some very specific structural issues highlighted by the elections of 2014 and 2016. At a gut level, it’s very easy to conclude there’s no upside of such a clear election loss. But these losses are something more than simply parties exchanging power, or a reflection of competing views about the future.. They represent one of our deepest forms of communication with one another. If we listen — and act — we can create a party in Iowa that once again, not only wins elections, but is truly representative of the millions of people in the state whose hopes and fears are both real, and for whom we do our work.

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Top staffers leaving Iowa Democratic Party (updated)

Only a few weeks after becoming the state chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, Dr. Andy McGuire is overseeing big staff changes. As first reported by Iowa Starting Line yesterday, Troy Price is leaving after a little more than two years as executive director. Excerpt from an e-mail McGuire sent to State Central Committee members after a conference call on the evening of February 17:

I want to let you all know that our executive director Troy Price and our deputy executive director Kevin Geiken will be transitioning out of the party over the next couple of weeks. Troy will continue at the party until March 3, and Kevin is planning to remain to help with the SCC retreat March 7-8. I want to thank both of them for their outstanding service to the party and wish them all the best in their next endeavors.

I would also like to announce that Ben Foecke will be coming on as our new Executive Director starting February 23. Ben came to work at the Iowa Democratic Party out of college, canvassing door-to-door for the Harkin/Vilsack coordinated campaign in 2001. He became Caucus Director in 2004, overseeing the (then) largest Precinct Caucus in Iowa history. Since 2009, Ben has worked for the Iowa Senate Majority Fund.

I will update this post as needed with further details. UPDATE: Added below the official statement from the Iowa Democratic Party.

SECOND UPDATE: O.Kay Henderson noted that Foecke worked for Mike Blouin’s gubernatorial campaign during the 2006 Democratic primary. McGuire was Blouin’s running mate during that race. Pat Rynard pointed out,

[Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike] Gronstal endorsed and lobbied hard behind the scenes for McGuire’s candidacy, getting involved in internal party politics in a way he hasn’t before. Now one of his long-time staffers may lead the party’s day-to-day operations. As one of the only remaining elected Democratic leaders left in the state, it appears that Gronstal is taking a much more active control over the direction of the state party.

 

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Iowa Congressional fundraising 1Q news roundup (updated)

April 15 was the deadline for Congressional candidates to file reports on their fundraising and expenditures for the first quarter of 2013. Details on all of the Iowa incumbents and some other declared candidates are after the jump. At this writing, not every report has been posted on the Federal Elections Commission website. I will update this post as more information becomes available.

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