What's going on at the Iowa Department of Revenue?

Governor Kim Reynolds appointed former Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen as director of the Iowa Department of Revenue on February 22, only six weeks after she had named Adam Humes to lead the agency. A late Friday afternoon news release did not explain the reason for the change, saying only that Humes “has decided to pursue other opportunities.”* Paulsen will start work this coming Monday. Leadership transitions at state agencies typically are weeks or months in the making.

Humes’ predecessor, Courtney Kay-Decker, also left under odd circumstances. Appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in 2011, she sounded excited to continue to lead the department after the 2018 election. But in early December, Kay-Decker announced her resignation, effective at the start of the new year.

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IA-Gov: Highlights from candidates' new fundraising reports

With three weeks to go before Iowa’s June 5 primary, Democrat Fred Hubbell had already spent nearly twice as much on his gubernatorial campaign as Terry Branstad did to win the Republican nomination in 2010.

Follow me after the jump for highlights from campaign finance disclosures by Governor Kim Reynolds and her Democratic challengers. Posts in progress will cover newsworthy details about other Iowa candidates’ fundraising and spending. All the latest reports, which were due May 21, are available here.

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Weekend open thread: New jobs for former Iowa lawmakers edition

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Looking through Governor Terry Branstad’s latest set of appointments and nominations, I was again struck by how many former Iowa House and Senate members end up on state boards and commissions. I remember Governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver appointing lawmakers to high-profile jobs too, but the trend seems more pronounced under the current governor. Background and details on the new appointees are after the jump.

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IA-Sen: Rod Roberts rules out running

It’s been nearly ten months since former State Representative Rod Roberts confirmed that he was considering a campaign for U.S. Senate. I’ve long been a skeptic that Roberts has any niche or large constituency in a statewide Republican primary. In fact, I’d forgotten he was still thinking about the race. This week Carroll-based journalist Douglas Burns got the scoop in an interview: Roberts will not run for Senate, or Congress in the open third district, or for Iowa secretary of state in 2014. He cited family reasons and said he plans to continue his work as director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. In late 2010, then Governor-elect Terry Branstad offered Roberts that position without considering any other candidates, even though Roberts had not applied for the job.

Burns has long been high on Roberts as a possible Senate candidate, but for once I agree with Steve Deace: “Rod didn’t offer a reason other than, ‘I’m Rod Roberts and I’m a nice guy.’ What’s your plan? […] Offer people something.” In his latest column, Burns floats the scenario of Roberts emerging as a compromise Senate nominee at a statewide convention if none of the current candidates receives 35 percent of the vote in the June primary.

Not bloody likely.

I do largely agree with Burns’ assessment of Mark Jacobs, though. Many Iowa Republicans will be skeptical of a candidate who only recently moved back to the state. Nor will they cut Jacobs slack for giving money to Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Corzine in 2000, on the grounds that Corzine was CEO of Goldman Sachs, where Jacobs worked at the time.

I have a post in progress with more news on the Jacobs campaign. Meanwhile, any comments about the U.S. Senate race are welcome in this thread.

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IA-Sen: Bill Northey rules out running (updated)

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced on twitter this morning, “I have decided not to run for US #Senate. Thx for many kind, encouraging words. Hoping Congr King runs. Other good R candidates as well.”

That’s bad news for State Representative Pat Grassley, rumored to be interested in the secretary of agriculture job if Northey had run for Senate.

Thousands of Democrats share Northey’s hope that Representative Steve King will run, but it’s not going to happen. Really. I got a kick out of his comments yesterday, though.

“There’s a lot of support to do this, and I just don’t know the answer. And I’m embarrassed that I don’t know the answer,” he said with a laugh.  He said he doesn’t know when he’ll make a decision.

He said he never expected to still be undecided in May. “Things are stacking up on me so fast,  I hardly have time to deal with the issue,” the Kiron Republican said.  He cited events pending in Congress, especially the farm bill and the immigration issue.

If I compiled a list of things Steve King should be embarrassed about, being late to decide on the Senate race wouldn’t make the top 20.

Matt Whitaker seems poised to launch a Senate campaign soon. Other Republicans considering the race include State Senator Joni Ernst, Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Chuck Grassley’s chief of staff David Young, and former State Representative Rod Roberts.

UPDATE: Added more comments from Northey below.

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