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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Iowa Senate district 45: Joe Seng has a primary challenger, Mark Riley

If any Iowa Democrat deserves a primary challenge, it’s three-term State Senator Joe Seng. Although the Davenport-based veterinarian represents one of the Democrats’ safest urban districts, Seng is anti-choice and supported Republican calls for a vote against marriage equality in 2010. As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he has helped pass several bills that are good for industrial agriculture but bad for the environment, especially clean water. In addition, Seng himself challenged three-term U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack in the IA-02 Democratic primary two years ago, so he couldn’t claim the moral high ground against a primary challenger for his state Senate seat.

I was excited to see yesterday that another Democratic candidate, Mark Riley, had filed papers to run in Senate district 45. When I realized Riley was Seng’s Republican opponent in 2010 and ran an independent campaign against Iowa House Democrat Cindy Winckler in 2012, I became disappointed. Was he just a fake like the “Democrat” who ran against State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad in 2010?

I sought comment from Riley about why he was running as a Democrat in Iowa Senate district 45, having campaigned as a Republican in the same district a few years ago. I’ve posted his response after the jump. You be the judge. Riley would have my serious consideration if I lived on the west side of Davenport.  

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IA-01: Don't freak out, organize

Apparently there was some contentious Facebook discussion about whether the Iowa Democratic Party would or should support Swati Dandekar if she wins next year’s primary to represent Iowa’s first Congressional district.

What a waste of energy.

I am not convinced Dandekar will run for Congress, and if she runs, I doubt she will win the IA-01 primary. Several core Democratic constituencies have a problem with her, and I don’t see any outpouring of support. At this writing, six days after Dandekar confirmed that she is considering the race, the Facebook page for her exploratory committee has only five “likes.” I don’t see her path to beating Pat Murphy or some other Democrat who may join the race later. Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon is leaning towards running, Rick Smith reported for the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Instead of fretting over an unlikely scenario in IA-01, progressives with a grudge against conservadems should recruit a strong primary challenger to Joe Seng in Iowa Senate district 45. His voting record is worse than Dandekar’s, and he’s gotten some horrible legislation passed. Senate district 45, based in Davenport, is safe for Democrats in the general election.

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