# William Meyers

Bleeding Heartland Year in Review: Iowa politics in 2008

Last year at this time I was scrambling to make as many phone calls and knock on as many doors as I could before the Iowa caucuses on January 3.

This week I had a little more time to reflect on the year that just ended.

After the jump I’ve linked to Bleeding Heartland highlights in 2008. Most of the links relate to Iowa politics, but some also covered issues or strategy of national importance.

I only linked to a few posts about the presidential race. I’ll do a review of Bleeding Heartland’s 2008 presidential election coverage later this month.

You can use the search engine on the left side of the screen to look for past Bleeding Heartland diaries about any person or issue.

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Some thoughts on Repealthesmokingban.org

William Meyers is obviously passionate about politics and willing to spend lots of time volunteering for political causes, which is commendable.

But I am hard-pressed to think of any activist who has applied himself in a more self-defeating and counter-productive way than Meyers. First he declared himself an independent candidate for Congress after losing the fourth district primary–a move I still think he will regret someday.

Now I learn from Iowa Independent that Meyers has launched a new website against Iowa’s smoking ban. I spent a little time on repealthesmokingban.org. The “leaders” page lists Meyers as the founder and online coordinator of Repealthesmokingban.org and former Republican State Senator George Eichhorn as the attorney representing bar and restaurant owners who are fighting the ban. (I don’t give that lawsuit much chance of succeeding.)

Not surprisingly, Meyers’ website disputes evidence of the harm caused by secondhand smoke. It also contains a page listing bars and restaurants all over the country that have closed, allegedly because of local smoking bans.

Guess what? Lots of restaurants and bars go out of business, whether or not they permit smoking. If I’m not mistaken, 50 percent of restaurants fail during their first year of operation. Competition is fierce, and food and transportation costs are rising while the public’s disposable income is dropping.

But there is simply no credible evidence that smoking bans are bad for business. On the contrary, research supports the opposite conclusion.

Meyers’ new website has a page seeking to recruit volunteers in every Iowa county. Repealthesmokingban.org has also grouped counties into 11 clusters and is seeking a district coordinator in each.

If people want to lobby legislators to repeal the smoking ban, it’s a free country. I don’t object to people organizing toward that end, even if I think Meyers is wrong on this issue.

What really bothers me about the website is the page listing the “nannies” (Chet Culver and all the legislators who supported the smoking ban):


The Nannies….anyone who thinks they should be able to tell other adults how to live. The militantly anti-anything-else-they-see-someone-else-enjoying.

Never mind the nonsensical spin about people being “militantly anti-anything-else-they-see-someone-else-enjoying.” No one is trying to deprive Meyers or anyone else the pleasure of smoking in the privacy of his own home. But your right to enjoy a cigarette doesn’t give you the right to jeopardize someone else’e health.

This website goes way beyond lobbying legislators to repeal the smoking ban. By asking voters to “remember” the “nannies” on election day, Meyers is in effect urging Iowans to vote Democrats out of their legislative majority.

Here’s a link to the roll call votes in the Iowa House and Senate on the final version of the smoking ban bill.

In the House, 45 Democrats and nine Republicans voted yes.

In the Senate, 25 Democrats and one Republican voted yes.

As if Meyers hasn’t done enough damage to his political future by refusing to accept the outcome of the fourth district primary, he is now mobilizing angry smokers to cast their votes based on that one issue.

I find it interesting that Meyers supported Barack Obama’s campaign in Iowa. I wonder if he heard what Obama said at a presidential debate last September when asked whether he would support a national law to ban smoking in public places:

I think that local communities are making enormous strides, and I think they’re doing the right thing on this. If it turns out that we’re not seeing enough progress at the local level, then I would favor a national law. I don’t think we’ve seen the local laws play themselves out entirely, because I think you’re seeing an enormous amount of progress in Chicago, in New York, in other major cities around the country. And because I think we have been treating this as a public health problem and educating the public on the dangers of secondhand smoke, that that pressure will continue. As I said, if we can’t provide these kinds of protections at the local level, which would be my preference, I would be supportive of a national law.

Oh, no! Obama thinks that communities are “doing the right thing” to ban smoking in public, but he would support a federal law on the issue if the local ordinances are not adequately protecting Americans against secondhand smoke.

Attention, field organizers for Obama: don’t give William Meyers any numbers to call or doors to knock this fall. For all we know, he’ll go around telling people not to vote for the “nanny.”

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Check out the revamped Iowa Independent

The Iowa Independent blog unveiled a new look this week. Check it out if you haven’t already. Some recent posts include:

This story about a new law that will make it harder to challenge a voter’s qualifications to cast a ballot on election day.

This piece in which Ed Fallon and Lynn Heuss reflect on Fallon’s campaign against Leonard Boswell. Heuss correctly notes that budgeting was one of the biggest mistakes the campaign made. They hired so many staffers early in the year that when fundraising failed to meet expectations, they were unable to purchase any paid media before the June 3 primary.

This story about independent Congressional candidate William Meyers launching a new website against Iowa’s smoking ban.

This piece on a former Agriprocessors employee pleading guilty to criminal charges. I haven’t written much about the Agriprocessors scandal, and the main reason is that Iowa Independent has done such a good job of staying on top of this story.

It’s a continuing disgrace that our enforcement of immigration laws punishes workers and their families but rarely if ever punishes corporations and executives who oversee illegal hiring practices (not to mention other labor and safety violations at Agriprocessors).

(Side note: if you want to be shocked and horrified, read this New York Times story about what happened after a pregnant illegal immigrant was pulled over for a routine traffic violation in Nashville.)  

He's gonna regret this someday

We all make mistakes, but it’s not every day that someone makes an move which will haunt him for his entire career.

William Meyers confirmed in an interview with Iowa Independent that he plans to run for Congress as an independent. He came in third in Tuesday’s primary in the fourth district with about 13 percent of the vote.

His campaign website has already been reconfigured to promote him as an “independent voice for Iowa”:

The fight isn’t over! A choice between Greenwald and Latham will once again leave the majority of 4th district residents without a voice in Washington, D.C.

The time is long overdue that WE, the majority, have someone just like us representing our best interests instead of the special interests.

Join me after the jump for my take on why this candidacy won’t help anyone, least of all William Meyers.

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William Meyers: Independent Democrat for Congress

I would like to see William Meyers run for Congress as an Independent Democrat.

William supported Barack Obama and Becky Greenwald, who did everything she could to shut William out of certain counties, supported Hillary Clinton. 

 Clearly, Becky thought this should have just been handed to her.  Sounds a lot like the Clinton mentality.

 Hear me loud and clear: unless William Meyers runs an independent bid, I'll be voting for Tom Latham.  He's a nice guy and I know what I'm voting for.

 Becky just won't fill out Project Vote Smart and she's trying to hide – very Clintonlike. 

 It's William Meyers or Tom Latham.  I hope William gives us the good news soon.

A few thoughts on turnout in the Congressional primaries

I have not seen estimates for the percentages of registered voters in each party who turned out today, but I have a few thoughts on turnout based on the election results.

The campaigns of Congressman Leonard Boswell and Ed Fallon mobilized a lot of voters in the third district. Boswell received just over 20,000 votes, and Fallon received about 13,000. Turnout of 33,000 in this district is not bad at all for a Congressional primary. By way of comparison, 38,000 Democrats in the third district cast votes in the 2006 gubernatorial primary.

In the fourth district Congressional primary, turnout was much lower. It looks like fewer than 18,000 people cast votes on the Democratic side. Becky Greenwald is headed to victory with about 51 percent of the vote, which is impressive in a four-way race. But she has a lot of work ahead of her, because it does not appear that fourth district Democrats were highly energized about choosing an opponent for Tom Latham.

Naturally, it is easier to mobilize voters in the third district, which has only 12 counties and most of the residents concentrated in Polk County. Also, one would expect six-term Congressman Boswell and former state representative and gubernatorial candidate Fallon to have an easier time turning out voters, because of past campaigns they have run.

The fourth Congressional district spans 28 counties over a huge geographical area. In addition, none of the Democratic candidates running against Latham had held elective office before. They didn’t start their campaigns with large numbers of people having already voted for them at least once, the way Boswell and Fallon did.

I am not trying to take away from Greenwald’s achievement. I only want to point out that Democrats will need to engage many more fourth district voters if we are to have any chance of unseating Latham.

By the way, in the second district, Republican turnout in the three-way race to challenge Congressman Dave Loebsack was just under 17,000 votes. I do not expect Mariannette Miller-Meeks to mount a strong challenge to Loebsack.

Election results open thread

The big news of the day is that Barack Obama has picked up enough superdelegates, along with delegates pledged to John Edwards, to clinch the presidential nomination.

I’ve been trying to tell people at Daily Kos for months that the superdelegates would bring down the curtain after all the states had voted.

I think the extended primary season was on balance excellent for the Democratic Party, and I couldn’t disagree more with those who have been badgering Hillary Clinton to drop out for the past two or three months.

Early returns from South Dakota indicate that Hillary will win that primary, by the way.

Polls close soon in Iowa, and I will update this diary when I have some results to report.

UPDATE: With 46 percent of precincts reporting Boswell leads Fallon 56 percent to 44 percent. Not clear whether absentee ballots have already been counted. I would expect Boswell to have an edge there. Also not clear whether the big Des Moines precincts have reported.

UPDATE 2: Not looking good for Fallon–Boswell leads 57-43 with 60 percent of precincts reporting.

The GOP Senate candidates are bunched closely together with 25 percent of precincts reporting.

Still only 4 percent of precincts reporting in IA-04. Greenwald leads, but it’s way too early.

Peter Teahen is ahead in the GOP primary in IA-02 wih 30 percent of precincts reporting.

UPDATE 3: The Des Moines Register has called the IA-03 primary for Boswell. He leads 60-40 with 90 percent of precincts reporting.

Becky Greenwald has a huge lead in IA-04, with 52.6 percent of the vote after 59 percent of precincts reported. Kurt Meyer is in second place with 26.6 percent; William Meyers has 12.1 percent, and Kevin Miskell has 8.7 percent.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks has a small lead over Peter Teahen, 44.3 percent to 42.3 percent with 82 percent of precincts reporting.

The GOP Senate race is very close with 79 percent of precincts reporting: Christopher Reed has 35.4 percent, George Eichhorn has 34.9 percent.

UPDATE 4: There may need to be a recount in IA-02. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Miller-Meeks leads Teahen by fewer than 100 votes, 43.5 percent to 43.0 percent.

The GOP Senate primary is also a squeaker, with fewer than 200 votes separating reed and Eichhorn.

Boswell leads Fallon 61-29 with 98 percent reporting.

Greenwald leads Meyer 51-27 with 84 percent reporting.

All the Democratic House incumbents who had primary challengers held on to their seats.

Jerry Sullivan won the primary in House district 59 with 78 percent of the vote despite the robocalls against him that I wrote about last night.

FINAL UPDATE: It looks like Obama won the Montana primary and Clinton won the South Dakota primary.

I didn’t see Obama’s speech to a huge crowd in the Twin Cities, but I am amused that John McCain stupidly scheduled a speech for this evening. His speech got cut off so the tv networks could devote coverage to the big story (Obama winning the nomination) and Obama’s big speech (which was apparently great).

In IA-03, Boswell beat Fallon by 61-39 percent with all the precincts in. That is comparable to Representative Jane Harman’s victory over Marcy Winograd in a California Congressional district two years ago. Harman’s voting record reportedly improved after that primary. Let’s hope we can expect the same from Boswell.

Final results from the IA-04 primary: Greenwald 50.7 percent, Meyer 27.6 percent, Meyers 13.2 percent, Miskell 8.4 percent.

Christopher Reed won the GOP Senate primary by about 400 votes out of about 70,000 votes cast. He had 35.3 percent of the vote, George Eichhorn had 34.7 percent, and Steve Rathje had 29.9 percent.

IA-02 race called for Miller-Meeks. She won by a margin of 109 votes out of nearly 17,000 votes cast.

Nothing on the Des Moines Register’s site about recounts in the GOP Senate primary or Congressional primary in IA-02.

Primary predictions open thread

OK, political junkies, show us your stuff. Who will win the high-profile primaries in Iowa today?

By that I mean, who will win the Democratic primaries in Iowa’s third and fourth Congressional districts?

Who will win the Republican primary in Iowa’s second Congressional district? (Iowa Independent and the Des Moines Register have profiled the three candidates seeking to take on Congressman Dave Loebsack.)

UPDATE: I forgot that you can also predict which of these three Republicans will become the chump who’ll be lucky to get 40 percent of the vote against Tom Harkin this November.

I will update this post later with my own predictions for the Congressional races.

John Deeth has an outstanding post up going over some of the key primaries in the Iowa House and Senate races. I don’t know enough about those races to make my own predictions, but I encourage you to mention them in your comments if you want to test your prognosticating skills against Deeth’s.

SECOND UPDATE: Finally ready to post my predictions.

Although the GOP establishment seems to be behind Eichhorn for Senate, I’m guessing that Steve Rathje will win that primary. I give him zero chance against Harkin.

In IA-02, I think Mariannette Miller-Meeks will win. I doubt she will give Loebsack much trouble, and I’ll explain why another day.

In IA-04, I think Becky Greenwald will win with at least 35 percent, enough to avoid having to pick the nominee at a district convention. I say this because she’s raised a lot of money, she has the best connections in the southern part of the district, and it doesn’t hurt to be one woman running against three men in a Democratic primary.

In IA-03, I think Boswell will win but by less than 10 points. To be more specific, I’ll go with 54-46 as my guess.

Mike Lux also thinks Boswell will win but warns that his “over-reaction” will make it closer than it should have been:

Boswell’s over-the-top negative campaign against Ed has caused a serious negative reaction, and has got everyone talking. I talked to at least half a dozen people who said they were planning to vote for Leonard, but have switched to Ed because of the mailings, and even Boswell’s supporters have been made nervous and set on edge by the mailings.

I have not seen the Fallon campaign’s internal numbers, and I do not know enough about the process that generated them. My impression is that they did some kind of random selection of voters from the database and then had people call to check their preferences (correct me if I am wrong). My worry is that a lot of polite Iowans may have lied about their intentions when called by someone from the Fallon campaign.

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In Depth Interviews

(Thanks for the heads-up. I won't be able to watch, but if you see the interviews, please put up a comment to tell us about them. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Greetings from the road!

I am doing my best to type this quick message on an IPod Touch from an interstate rest area (great perk for travels in Iowa).

Please note that this evening on KCCI Channel 8, all four candidates will be presented.  2 (me) candidates at 5 PM and the other 2 at 6 PM. 

Vilsaks & Register Endorse Appalling Behavior

(As I've said, I am promoting all diaries by Democratic candidates in Iowa to the front page of Bleeding Heartland. It's unfortunate that William Meyers feels the process has been unfair. I strongly urge him (and all Democrats running for any office) to support the winner of tomorrow's primary. - promoted by desmoinesdem)


Six months ago I made my first official contact with each and every Democratic County Chair, introducing myself, and my candidacy for the United States House of Representatives.  Six months later, Chairpersons in key counties still deny me access to their Democrats.  I have asked multiple times, and even done so in my email newsletters, viewed by thousands of Democrats in the fourth district.  Additionally,  my email news program allows me to track who opens the emails, the date and time they opened them, links they may have clicked on, and who they may have forwarded the emails to.


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Final Countdown

(I've heard good things about Democracy for America's "Night School" from other people as well. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

As the primary is just a week away (that went fast), I wanted to share this great trip with readers here.  The people I’ve met, and the places I’ve seen have been amazing.  It is an experience I encourage everyone to try, it’s worth it.  A special thanks to Democracy for America for their superb “Night School” training, a must for anyone considering a run at any level.  Without DFA, I would have never made it out of the starting gate.

Never Forget

(A friend of a friend came home from Iraq a couple of weeks ago. Many people weren't so lucky. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I shall never forget the sacrifices of the men and women who served before me, with me, or after me.  May God rest your souls.



How do our candidates in IA-04 differ from one another?

The Des Moines Register’s editorial board met separately with each of four Democratic candidates seeking to run against Tom Latham in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district. It will probably be another week or two before that newspaper endorses a candidate.

In the meantime, the news report on the interviews focused on their general agreement regarding the Bush administration’s tax breaks for the wealthy.

I would think that fourth district Democrats need to know more about the differences between these candidates. Are there any significant federal policies on which they disagree? Which committees would they want to serve on in Congress? Would they have a different strategy for running against Latham, or bring a unique strength to the table in the general election?

As I’ve written before, I am staying neutral in the IA-04 primary, but the winner will get $100 from me. I would love to get Latham out of Congress this year, or at least make him work so hard that he seriously considers retiring before the 2010 election.

4th District Candidate Forum

(I hope some Bleeding Heartland readers will be able to attend this forum. Put up a diary afterwards to let us know how it went! - promoted by desmoinesdem)

The Madison County Democrats are leading the way with the first 4th District Congressional Candidate Forum!

This forum is open to the public.  Press and Bloggers are encouraged to attend.

I sincerely hope to meet many of you there!

Best Regards,

William J. Meyers

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Dem Race in the 4th is over! Meyer has raised $130,000.

Got this from Kurt Meyer campaign — looks like this thing is over and he will breeze into the nomination with figures like this!  I am impressed:

Dear Friends, 

We are pleased to announce that the Kurt Meyer for Congress Campaign has generated more than $130,000 in the first quarter of 2008. In the six weeks after Kurt announced his candidacy in mid-February, the campaign has received hundreds of generous contributions from family and friends throughout the District, across Iowa, and around the country.

Having the financial backing of citizens of the 4th District and the great state of Iowa sends a strong message to Washington: the 4th District is ready for Democratic leadership, and Kurt Meyer is the candidate to deliver that change.  What’s more, every dollar enables Kurt to reach out to citizens from each of the 28 counties of the 4th District to hear their stories and learn about their needs.    

It is undeniable that the generous support of family, friends, and voters has given the Kurt Meyer for Congress Campaign a great start. But it is only a start.  Running an intense, aggressive and effective campaign against an entrenched incumbent can take millions of dollars – but we can do this with your help.  If you’ve already given, we ask that you consider giving again. If you have yet to make a contribution, we ask that you join the hundreds of Kurt’s supporters who have already made a difference in this campaign by going to www.kurtmeyerforcongress.com and making a contribution.

We appreciate your continued support and look forward to broadening our support base with your help.



Emily Caponetti

Campaign Manager

Kurt Meyer for Congress 

Greetings to all here in the Blogosphere

( - promoted by noneed4thneed)

I thought I could break myself in here with a little background info about myself and mission.  I'll do my best, time permitting, to keep up with posting on a regular basis.  I am running my campaign myself.  We cannot afford paid staffers to take care of these types of things, so I hope you will all bear with me.

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Elisha Gayman for Representative

Elisha Gayman is one of our most progressive state legislators. I recently happened upon an extreme right wing blog suggesting that there readers start out on a smear campaign against her, in an attempt to turn over her seat (which she won by 200 votes last election). This really boiled my blood. He also continued to talk about McKinley Bailey, A veteran, and also announced that there should be a smear campaign against him.

This had really motivated me to do whatever I can to help these progressive democrats against a very desperate, un-American, values-lacking Republican Party of Iowa.

I would also like to plug one of my favorite Reps, Susan Radke in the 10th district.

Thanks for hearing my rant, and I hope you all will check out these candidates and help if you can.