Labor union endorsements in contested 2014 Iowa Democratic primaries

With less than two weeks remaining before June 3, interest groups with a preference in competitive primaries have presumably made their views known by now. On the Democratic side, labor unions are most likely to get involved in primaries, so I wanted to compile in one place the full list of candidates in competitive Democratic races who have been endorsed by one or more organized labor group. None of the Democrats seeking statewide office in Iowa this year has a primary opponent, and I’ve omitted county-level races. The list below includes candidates running for Congress in the first district and seeking various Iowa House and Senate seats.

I will update this post as needed if I learn of other labor union endorsements. Note that many other Democratic candidates already have or will have organized labor’s official support for the general election campaign. Blog for Iowa posted all of the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO’s endorsements for 2014 here. A complete list of candidates who will appear on primary ballots is on this page of the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.

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Mike Gronstal sees eight competitive Iowa Senate races

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal is “fairly confident” going into this year’s state legislative elections, he told Mike Glover in a recent interview. He cited a “pretty good message” to take to voters as well as a “a slight advantage on the map” that will allow Democrats to play “a little less defense and a little more offense,” compared to 2012.

I agree with Gronstal that Democrats are better positioned now to hold their 26 to 24 majority in the upper chamber than they were at the same point two years ago. Follow me after the jump for a quick look at the eight districts the Senate majority leader expects to be targeted this fall.

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Kevin Kinney is second Democratic candidate in Iowa Senate district 39

Didn’t take long for news to force me to update last week’s post on Iowa Senate races to watch in 2014. Today Johnson County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Kinney announced his candidacy in Iowa Senate district 39. After the jump I’ve posted a district map and Kinney’s press release. He is also a corn and soybeans grower and a cattle producer on a century farm. Republican State Senator Sandy Greiner is not seeking re-election in Senate district 39, and the seat should be competitive. The latest numbers from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office indicate that Senate district 39 contains 13,294 registered Democrats, 13,320 Republicans, and 16,452 no-party voters.

Richard Gilmore was the first Democrat to announce in this district in September. I would consider Kinney the favorite to win the nomination, because as John Deeth points out, Democratic primaries in Johnson County have relatively high turnout, and Johnson County has gained more residents than other parts of the district since Iowa’s redistricting plan was adopted in 2011. Gilmore is from Washington County.

FEBRUARY UPDATE: Kinney’s campaign is on the web here.

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Five Iowa Senate races to watch in 2014

It’s the time of year for blog posts about notable candidates and upcoming elections. Every politically engaged Iowan knows already that 2014 will be an unusually exciting year. We haven’t seen an open U.S. Senate race since 1974. The last time Iowa’s first Congressional district was open was in 2006. The last time Iowa’s third Congressional district was open was in 2002, but it wasn’t a wide open seat, since incumbent Representative Leonard Boswell moved into Polk County to run. Amazingly, 1940 was the “last time there was a Congressional race in Polk County without an incumbent seeking re-election.” All of Iowa’s statewide elected officials are up for re-election as well this year, and the secretary of state’s position may become open if Matt Schultz decides to go for the Republican nomination in IA-03.

Since Bleeding Heartland readers already know about the big Iowa races to watch, I want to focus today and tomorrow on the elections that are likely to determine control of the Iowa House and Senate in 2015 and 2016.  

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Democrat Richard Gilmore launches Iowa Senate district 39 campaign

After laying the groundwork over the last couple of months, Richard Gilmore formally launched his campaign in Iowa Senate district 39 today. He is the first Democratic candidate in what will likely be among the most competitive Iowa Senate races in 2014. Gilmore previously ran for Washington County supervisor in 2012.

After the jump I’ve posted a map of the district and Gilmore’s announcement, containing background information. As of September 2013 (pdf), Iowa Senate district 39 contained 13,323 registered Democrats, 13,340 Republicans, and 16,276 no-party voters. Two candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for the open seat: Michael Moore and Royce Phillips. Longtime Johnson County GOP activist Bob Anderson is considering the race but has not announced his decision, to my knowledge. UPDATE: Anderson filed papers as a candidate for state Senate in September.

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