Where are the freedom fighters? A plea for help from a beleaguered Black man

Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker: “Until a renewed season of action on the hard issues springs forth from the Iowa Democratic Party, my people will continue to freeze in the long winters of apathy, and die during the hot summers of violence.” -promoted by Laura Belin

During a recent Facebook Live conversation with Kimberly Graham where we discussed issues facing the African-American community, I recounted a high-profile officer-involved shooting that happened in my neighborhood shortly after I was elected. It was during this very conversation, in real-time, that I realized this officer-involved shooting fundamentally changed who I was as a public servant.

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The true cost of incrementalism: defeat

Stacey Walker is a Linn County supervisor who has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. -promoted by Laura Belin

There’s a popular expression that not paying attention to politics is a privilege. In this time and moment, this is an obvious truth. Only those in the gilded classes are protected from the pervasive social and economic harms that haunt and oppress most Americans. This enormous shield of privilege allows for the bliss that comes with inattentiveness; a sedative that can lull us into ignorance and apathy.

A comparable privilege which I’ve struggled for years to articulate is the one that comes with being able to wholeheartedly support a candidate for president who espouses a politics of incrementalism. An endorsement of this sort of politics suggests an immunity to the social and economic harms I referenced earlier.

The Democrats I know supporting Joe Biden have health insurance. They have good jobs and they don’t have any fear of life or limb when interacting with the police. While this may not seem like much to some, for many Americans this basic sense of security is a Maslovian dream.

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Bleeding Heartland's coverage of U.S. Senate, House races in 2019

After the wipeout of 2016, I questioned whether Iowa’s top races of 2018 and 2020 would be foregone conclusions for the Republican incumbents. But amid unusually high turnout for a midterm election, Democratic challengers flipped two U.S. House seats and fell only a few points short against Governor Kim Reynolds and Representative Steve King.

One of my goals for 2019 was to provide in-depth reporting on Iowa’s federal and state legislative races. Thanks to our nonpartisan redistricting system, none of our four Congressional districts are considered safe for either party in 2020. While U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is still favored to win a second term, she is increasingly seen as a vulnerable GOP incumbent.

Follow me after the jump for a review of Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of the campaigns for U.S. Senate and House, with links to all relevant posts. A separate post will cover the year’s stories about battleground legislative districts.

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Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2019 guest authors

More than 125 authors contributed to the 290 guest posts Bleeding Heartland published this calendar year–way up from the 202 pieces by about 100 writers in 2018 and the 164 posts by 83 writers the year before that. I’m immensely grateful for all the hard work that went into these articles and commentaries and have linked to them all below.

You will find scoops grounded in original research, such as John Morrissey’s exclusive reporting on Sedgwick landing a lucrative contract to administer Iowa’s worker’s compensation program for state employee, despite not submitting the high bid.

The most-viewed Bleeding Heartland post this year was Gwen Hope’s exclusive about the the Hy-Vee PAC donating $25,000 to the Iowa GOP, shortly before President Donald Trump headlined a Republican fundraiser at Hy-Vee’s event center in West Des Moines.

Several commentaries about major news events or political trends were also among the most widely read Bleeding Heartland posts of 2019. I’ve noted below pieces by Ed Fallon, Tim Nelson, Bruce Lear, Randy Richardson, J.D. Scholten, Dan Guild, State Senator Claire Celsi, and others that were especially popular. (This site has run more than 630 pieces since January 1.)

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IA-Sen: Where things stand in the Democratic primary

Five Democrats are now competing for the chance to take on U.S. Senator Joni Ernst next November. After making low-key appearances at Democratic events around Iowa for about six months, Cal Woods made his candidacy official on December 17.

Assuming all five candidates file nominating petitions in March, the crowded field increases the chance that no one will win the nomination outright in the June 3 primary.

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A candidate for the people

Stacey Walker is a Linn County supervisor who considered seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’ve always said that I never wanted to be one of those politicians who sat on the sidelines, not making my support known until it was absolutely clear who the winner would be. I’ve also never been comfortable offering my endorsement of a candidate out of sheer political expediency. It’s just not me.

Instead, I’ve chosen to be an elected official who weighs in and helps bring attention to bold, progressive candidates, because that is exactly what our party and our country needs. Luckily, we have a candidate with those qualities and then some. Her name is Kimberly Graham and she is running to be the next U.S. senator from the great state of Iowa.

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