# Roger Stewart

Iowa Congressional 2Q fundraising news roundup

Yesterday was the deadline for Congressional candidates to submit second-quarter financial reports to the Federal Election Commission. Highlights from the reports in Iowa’s four U.S. House districts are after the jump.

Bleeding Heartland will cover the U.S. Senate candidates’ financial reports in a separate post.

Speaking of the Federal Election Commission, did you know that Republican commissioners are trying to make it more difficult for professional staff to report campaign finance violations to federal prosecutors? Republicans are all about “law and order” except when laws inconvenience big-money interests.

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Events coming up this week, with a few job openings

I haven’t posted any job listings here in a while, but I recently learned of a few opportunities in the environmental area. Those are posted below. If you know of political or progressive advocacy jobs available, feel free to send details to me (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com), and I will try to spread the word.

The big political event this week is the March 19 deadline for Iowa candidates to file nominating papers for statewide and federal offices. John Deeth has been covering the filings so far at his blog. Follow me after the jump for details on other things going on around the state, and post a comment or send me an e-mail if you know of something I’ve left out.

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We have a new candidate in House district 26

Mary Wolfe, an attorney in Clinton, will run as a Democrat in Iowa House district 26, Steven Martens of the Quad-City Times reported today.

“I understand the challenges that small businesses face, since I own one myself,” she said in a news release. “And as an attorney, on a daily basis I see the severe financial and emotional impact that the national recession is having on so many hard-working Clinton County families.

“Clinton County, and Iowa in general, needs more well-paying jobs and an economic development strategy that targets local businesses and middle-income families, not big corporations and company presidents.”

Democrat Polly Bukta has represented this district for seven terms but announced yesterday that she will not seek re-election, citing a desire to spend more time with family. Bukta has worked on a number of education and health-related bills, including the public smoking ban and the HAWK-I children’s health insurance program. She is also speaker pro-tem in the Iowa House (the first woman to hold that position).

Speaking to the Quad-City Times,

Rep. Steve Olson, R-DeWitt, said he thought it would be difficult for a Republican to win in Bukta’s heavily Democratic district. The district includes the city of Clinton and Center and Hampshire townships northwest of Clinton.

“The numbers are not with us,” he said. Still, House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said every seat is an opportunity.

“I have not taken it off the table,” he said.

Clinton County is a strong Democratic area, but the Iowa Democratic Party may need to pay special attention to turnout here in the fall, because Iowa Senate district 13 is also an open seat. Democrat Ed O’Neill launched his Iowa Senate campaign in November after State Senator Roger Stewart said he would retire. Senate district 13 includes House district 25 (represented by Democrat Tom Schueller) and Bukta’s district. As of November 2009, the unemployment rate in Clinton County was 7.5 percent (pdf file), a bit higher than the statewide rate of 6.7 percent.

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Democrats to run new candidate in Iowa Senate district 13

Two-term State Senator Roger Stewart of Preston announced last week that he will not seek re-election in Iowa Senate district 13 next year. On Monday Ed O’Neill of Clinton confirmed that he will seek the Democratic nomination for this seat. It’s not clear yet whether there will be a contested primary. Stewart helped recruit O’Neill for this race, and he seems like a strong candidate:

O’Neill works for the Clinton Regional Development Corporation, where he focuses his energy on the creation and retention of high-wage jobs, the press release says. He previously was a small business owner, police officer, and a finance and lease manager.

“I know first-hand the difficulties small and large businesses face each day,” O’Neill said. “I’m sick and tired of seeing Wall Street corporations – not Main Street businesses – get the attention of politicians. I will work for a more even playing field that encourages economic development and creates good jobs in our local communities.”

He added: “Solving problems means listening and reaching out to everyone involved. That’s what I’ve done as an active member of my community, and that’s the positive approach I will take to the Iowa Senate.”

O’Neill also previously served as a member of the Clinton City Council and Hancock County (Illinois) Board of Supervisors. He has been active in various community activities, including serving as a board member of the Prince of Peace Academy School Board and attending Prince of Peace Catholic Church.

Iowa Senate district 13 (map) includes all of Jackson County and parts of Dubuque and Clinton counties. It’s fairly strong Democratic territory; in 2006, Chet Culver easily beat Jim Nussle in these counties, even though they were part of the Congressional district Nussle represented. Stewart won re-election to the Iowa Senate with just under 65 percent of the vote against Republican Lametta Wynn.

On the other hand, an open seat is usually an inviting target, and the unemployment rate in Jackson and Clinton counties is nearly 8 percent. I’ll be surprised if Republicans don’t make a major push in this district, even though it’s not going to be one of their top Iowa Senate pickup opportunities.

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