Why I'm caucusing for Beto O'Rourke

Nate Willems: “Instead of looking for a candidate who appealed to my own sense of identity, I searched for the Democrat who is simply the best leader for Iowa.” -promoted by Laura Belin

I represent unions, injured workers, and workers with employment law claims. The work will drive you nuts and make you madder than mad, but the victories are incredibly rewarding. So, it did not surprise any of my friends when I would tell them I was excited by leaders like Sherrod Brown talking about the dignity of work. Senator Brown has a first-rate record of putting working families first, and he’s going to continue doing that in the U.S. Senate.

As we got into the spring and presidential candidates began popping up everywhere, I began to take stock of our wide, diverse field. I am a Tom Harkin/Paul Wellstone kind of Democrat, and I knew I was looking for a Democrat whose body of work as an elected official lined up with what I do as a lawyer. That proved to be harder than I thought. Ultimately, I decided I would support whichever candidate excited me and made it a priority to listen to working people.

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Iowa reaction to Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality

In a 5-4 decision announced Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states and ordered state governments to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in the country. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v Hodges, joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer. Each of the dissenting justices wrote a separate opinion; all are available in this pdf file after Kennedy’s opinion. Amy Howe explained the majority opinion in “Plain English” while Lyle Denniston posted a brief analysis.

Follow me after the jump for Iowa reaction on both sides of the marriage debate. Two years ago, Bleeding Heartland compiled Iowa politicians’ comments on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Windsor, which struck down the federal ban on same-sex marriages but left state bans intact.

As a group, Iowa Democratic politicians are more enthusiastic and less cautious about welcoming marriage equality now than was the case in 2009, when the Iowa Supreme Court struck down our state’s Defense of Marriage Act. Many Iowa Republicans called for elected officials to overturn the 2009 Varnum v Brien ruling by passing a constitutional amendment, but reacting to the latest U.S. Supreme Court ruling, few in the Iowa GOP sounded hopeful that there was any chance to reinstate state bans on same-sex marriage.

I will update this post as needed.  

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Quick hits on the five Democratic candidates in IA-01

The Democratic primary in the open first Congressional district will be one of Iowa’s most interesting elections next year. In addition to separate posts on major developments in the race, I plan to update Bleeding Heartland readers periodically on how all five Democrats are campaigning. The winner of the primary will go into the general election as the slight favorite given the partisan lean of this D+5 district and the voter registration advantage for Democrats there.

Follow me after the jump for recent news about each of the contenders.

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Quentin Stanerson/Kristin Keast rematch coming in Iowa House district 95

A rematch looms in Iowa House district 95 between Republican Quentin Stanerson and Democrat Kristin Keast. After the previous incumbent, Democratic State Representative Nate Willems, opted to run for Iowa Senate district 48, Stanerson defeated Keast in district 95 by just 200 votes (barely more than 1 percent of votes cast). That was the sixth-closest result in the 100 Iowa House races. Republicans Chris Hagenow, Tedd Gassman, Larry Sheets, and Sandy Salmon and Democrat Daniel Lundby won each of their races by fewer than 200 votes.

The Iowa House Democrats announced on Tuesday that Keast will run again in House district 95. After the jump I’ve posted a district map, the latest voter registration numbers, and background on Keast and Stanerson. To my knowledge, this was the only 2012 Iowa election in which both major-party nominees were teachers.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread. I consider House district 95 one of about a dozen races that will determine control of the Iowa House in 2015 and 2016.

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Democratic and Republican party spending in the Iowa Senate races

Candidates for the Iowa legislature were required to submit campaign finance disclosure reports on October 19 and November 2. The Schedule E forms on “In-Kind Contributions” contained the most interesting numbers, because they showed how Democratic and Republican party leaders are allocating resources across the battleground districts.

After the jump I’ve enclosed in-kind contribution figures for the Senate districts expected to be in play tomorrow. Candidates running in other Senate races did not report large in-kind contributions from their respective parties.

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Iowa Senate ad watch: I-JOBS lies edition (updated)

The I-JOBS infrastructure bonding initiative helped fund more than 1,600 infrastructure projects around Iowa during the “Great Recession.” From the beginning, Republicans have used misleading rhetoric to make their case against I-JOBS. Terry Branstad and GOP lawmakers exaggerated the initiative’s costs and understated its benefits repeatedly during the 2010 campaign.

Now some Iowa Senate candidates are putting lies about I-JOBS at the center of their radio advertising.

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