# Robert Brownell

Iowa legislative recap: Senate confirmations

Continuing a series on news from the Iowa legislature’s 2018 session that attracted little attention before lawmakers adjourned for the year.

The Iowa Senate confirmed almost everyone Governor Kim Reynolds nominated for a state board or commission this year with unanimous or near-unanimous support. However, opposition from Democratic senators blocked three of the governor’s more than 200 appointees (full list here).

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Adventures in wishful thinking

Longtime Republican Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell apologized this week for calling Democratic State Senator Tony Bisignano names in an e-mail to seven Iowa House Republicans.

Such classless behavior is unbecoming an elected official, but Brownell’s faulty political analysis is perhaps more shocking. In the controversial e-mail, Brownell speculated that Republicans could retake the Iowa Senate majority in 2016 if State Senator Matt McCoy decides to run for Congress.

Sorry, no.  

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IA-Sen: Harkin retiring (updated)

Terrible news for Iowa Democrats: Senator Tom Harkin told Tom Beaumont of the Associated Press that he will retire rather than seek re-election in 2014. Not only will there be an open seat at the top of the ticket, the Iowa Democratic Party won’t be able to count on Harkin’s millions to fund a decent coordinated GOTV campaign in a midterm election year. Even if Democrats manage to win that statewide race while Governor Terry Branstad’s also on the ballot, we will lose an Iowan in charge of a powerful Senate committee. Incoming Iowa Democratic Party Chair Tyler Olson has a difficult road ahead.

Representative Bruce Braley is likely to run for Harkin’s seat, and unless either Tom or Christie Vilsack is interested, the primary would probably be uncontested. The silver lining here is a chance to elect a woman to Congress in IA-01. Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum would be my first choice, but there are many capable Democratic women in those 20 counties.

An excerpt from Braley’s appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” this weekend is after the jump. I’ll post further updates there. UPDATE: Much more is below, including the statement from Harkin’s office.

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