Grassley to chair Senate Finance Committee

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters today that he will lead the Senate Finance Committee in the new Congress. The current chair, Senator Orrin Hatch, is retiring. Grassley’s official website notes,

Senator Grassley calls this committee the quality of life committee because of the committee’s jurisdiction, which includes all tax matters, health care, Social Security; Medicare, Medicaid, social services, unemployment compensation, tariffs and international trade. Legislation acted on by the Committee on Finance raises virtually all federal revenue, and expenditures authorized by this committee represent as much as two-thirds of the federal budget.

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IA-01: Republicans really are writing off Rod Blum (updated)

With just seven weeks remaining before election day, “No Republican organization has put money toward TV ads that could benefit” U.S. Representative Rod Blum in Iowa’s first Congressional district, Barbara Rodriguez and Brianne Pfannenstiel reported for the Des Moines Register on September 17. Their analysis of television air time data from Kantar Media showed that groups supporting Democratic challenger Abby Finkenauer “have spent or reserved more than $1.2 million for airing political ads” in IA-01. Blum’s campaign has placed $129,000 in television ad buys, and no GOP-aligned groups have indicated plans to advertise in the district.

In many battleground Congressional races, candidates run mostly positive tv ads, while outside groups pay for the hatchet jobs. That normal division of labor won’t be available to Blum. He will have to cover the cost of any negative ads about Finkenauer from his own campaign funds, leaving less money to make an case for himself on the air.

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Report from Senator Joni Ernst's town hall in Shenandoah

First-person accounts of political events are always fun to read. Thanks to Susie Olesen, a semi-retired former teacher and school administrator in southwest Iowa, for this write-up. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Senator Joni Ernst’s July 6 town hall at the high school auditorium in Shenandoah (Page County) was a well-attended, civil meeting. People who wanted to participate filled out a slip of paper, which were drawn out of a glass jar to determine who would be able to ask questions. Ernst sat at a table in front of the room.

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IA-03: Mystery group backing Eddie Mauro belatedly reported spending to FEC (updated)

A newly-formed political non-profit sent two mass mailings to Iowa Democrats this week in support of Eddie Mauro, one of three candidates seeking the nomination in the third Congressional district. The website and Facebook page for Iowans for a Progressive Tomorrow do not indicate who is funding the effort, nor has the group filed 24-hour independent expenditure reports with the Federal Election Commission. UPDATE: The group belatedly submitted reports; added details below.

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The case for each Democrat running for Congress in IA-03

With less than three weeks remaining before the June 5 primary, many Democrats (including myself) are still undecided in the primary to represent Iowa’s third Congressional district. All three candidates left standing in the once-crowded field have raised enough money to run strong, district-wide campaigns.

This post focuses on how Cindy Axne, Pete D’Alessandro, and Eddie Mauro have presented themselves in stump speeches, direct mail, and television commercials aimed at Democratic voters.

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