Both major-party candidates for Iowa secretary of state started running paid advertising within the past two days. After the jump I've enclosed the video and transcript of Democratic nominee Brad Anderson's first television commercial, as well as my transcript of Republican Paul Pate's first radio ad. Both candidates call for making it "easy to vote" but "hard to cheat" in elections. CORRECTION: Anderson's ad was released online on October 9 but started running on television stations across Iowa on October 13.
I've also enclosed below the voter ID discussion from the debate Pate and Anderson held on Iowa Public Television last weekend. Pate has embraced outgoing Secretary of State Matt Schultz's pet project, in the absence of any evidence that voter impersonation is a real problem in Iowa (or elsewhere). Anderson explains his plan to strengthen election integrity without changing current state law on voter ID.
Two other candidates are running for secretary of state this year. Libertarian Jake Porter is making his second attempt at the job. In 2010, he received about 3 percent of the statewide vote. To my knowledge, he has not run any paid advertising yet this year. When Iowa Public Television excluded him from the recent "Iowa Press" debate, Porter said he will consider a lawsuit and fight to reduce Iowa Public Television's taxpayer funding. The fourth candidate on the ballot is the little-known Spencer Highland of the "New Independent Party Iowa."
Closer to election day, Bleeding Heartland will post a comprehensive review of the this campaign. Public Policy Polling's Iowa survey from late September found Pate slightly ahead of Anderson by 36 percent to 33 percent, with Porter and Highland pulling 3 percent each.
Brad Anderson's introductory television commercial, launched October 9:
Brad Anderson sitting in his living room, speaking directly to the camera: I'm Brad Anderson, candidate for Iowa secretary of state. [Words "Brad Anderson" are on screen with an arrow pointing to him]
My mom is a Republican. [viewer sees old black and white photo of Anderson's mother holding him as a young child; words "Brad's Mom" with arrow pointing to her in the picture]
But I married a Democrat. [view shifts back to Anderson sitting on the couch--now you can see his wife, labeled Lisa Anderson, sitting next to him. She smiles and shrugs.]
The whole Anderson family stands on back porch. Anderson lifts his son up and says: This is Will Anderson.
Will's big sister says to the camera: He's an independent.
Will looks at his sister: I'm neither one!
Sister looks at him: That's the same thing.
Brad Anderson speaks to camera: Let's increase turnout for all voters, Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
Make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat. [viewer sees Anderson helping tie Will's shoes--Will is in a soccer uniform.]
I'll put the people of Iowa ahead of partisan politics. [footage of Anderson walking down the street alongside his daughter, who's riding a bicycle]
Family stands together on the back porch again. Daughter says: That's Brad Anderson.
Will says: B-R-A-D Anderson.
Girl says: And I'm Alice. [word Alice! appears on screen with arrow pointing to her]
Final view is of Brad Anderson for Secretary of State campaign logo, with www.AndersonforIowa.com
That's a good introductory spot--simple message, not too wordy, and it doesn't have the "look and feel" of a classic campaign ad, which may mean fewer people will instantly change the channel.
My transcript of Paul Pate for Iowa Secretary of State radio ad, launched October 8:
Female voice-over: Iowans know there are some things we just have to protect. Our families, our freedom, our jobs, our Personal information.
And, we need to protect our votes, so we can keep Iowa elections clean and fair for everyone. That's why so many Iowans are voting for Paul Pate.
Paul Pate has done the job before, and done it well. Many state leaders have encouraged him to go back to work in the Secretary of State's office. Pate knows first-hand what it takes to be Iowa's chief elections official. And, he's the owner of a successful asphalt paving company, so he knows the business side of the Secretary of State's office as well.
Paul Pate's voice: I'm Paul Pate, the only candidate for Secretary of State with on the job experience, a record of serving you in public office, and a commitment to protecting your vote with mandatory voter ID.
Let's make it easy to vote but hard to cheat. I would appreciate your vote on November 4th.
Female voice: Paid for by Pate for Iowa.
"Done it well" is a real stretch. The Iowa Democratic Party released this comment on Pate's radio ad.
FACT CHECK: PATE IGNORES HIS REAL RECORD IN FIRST RADIO AD
PATE RADIO AD: "Paul Pate has done the job before and done it well.
FACT: Paul Pate was reprimanded by the Iowa State Ethics Commission for using the Secretary of State office to campaign for governor in 1997.
-"A state board that enforces ethics laws decided Monday to investigate a complaint that the office of Iowa Secretary Paul Pate, a candidate for the republican nomination for governor was used improperly for campaign activities. The complaint by Steven Hulsizer, a former employee, alleges that voter registration lists and computers in the secretary of state's office were used in the distribution of campaign materials, and staff members helped with political mailings during and after hours." [Des Moines Register, 10/14/97]
-"State campaign regulators have reprimanded Secretary of State Paul Pate because a worker in his office conducted political business on state time. ... Pate, a Marion Republican, must establish formal procedures prohibiting political work in his office and establish strict separation between office and campaign work under the settlement. He also got a formal letter of reprimand and agreed to reimburse the state $250." [Des Moines Register, 2/13/98]
FACT: Paul Pate was caught misleading Iowans about his resume.
-"Secretary of State Paul Pate acknowledged Tuesday that to say he graduated from the Wharton School of Business when he only attended a short seminar there. ... He said he attended a "two or three-week program" at the Pennsylvania School. His wife said the certificate is dated May 4, 1990. The official biography makes no reference to the fact it was a short course." [Des Moines Register, 9/25/97]
FACT: Paul Pate caused "uproar" when he tried to personally trademark and profit from slogans created on the taxpayer dime.
-"Former Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, who came under fire for personally trademarking slogans created while he was in office, does not have the right to use or profit from the slogans, the attorney general's office said Thursday." [Des Moines Register, 3/12/99]
FACT: Despite years of scandals, controversy and wasteful spending by current Secretary of State Matt Schultz, Paul Pate says he wants to "continue Secretary Schultz's good stewardship of the office"
Excerpt from the "Iowa Press" debate Pate and Anderson, first broadcast on Iowa Public Television on October 3.
Henderson: Yes, voter ID is something that you have talked about previously here, Mr. Pate. Wisconsin is going through machinations of providing free voter ID's, many of them to elderly people. You have said that 93% of Iowans have a photo ID. Where does that statistic come from?
Pate: It's actually 93% of those, of our voters have a driver's license. 93% have a driver's license. And so it's that 7% that we still need to reach. And several states have stepped up to that and are good examples we could go and look at their models. But we can do that through various DHS departments, we can do that through extending to them free access for ID at the polling place. There are many options and other states have done it very successfully.
Henderson: So, what about the concerns of elderly people who don't have a photo ID? How do you respond to that?
Pate: Well, I think first we come to them and help them if we need to. The track record we have seen in other states it has not slowed down or inhibited them from voting. Clearly it is one of those things that people like to talk about to create a smoke effect, if you will, in politics. But we're not. In fact, you've seen increased voter participation in the states who have stepped up with the integrity, if you will, of some kind of voter ID.
Henderson: Mr. Anderson, you have to show a voter ID, I mean an ID rather, to do a lot of things, fly on an airplane, buy a bottle of wine. Why isn't it a good idea to show proof that you are a valid voter?
Anderson: Well, Kay, I think we all need to take a deep breath and look at the two plans. I support the current --
Borg: What two plans?
Anderson: Well, I support the current voter ID bill. The current voter ID bill on the books here in Iowa says that any poll worker can ask any voter for their ID in any election, period. And I support that for a simple reason, is because this law has been effective for decades. We have some of the cleanest, most fair elections in the entire nation right here in Iowa. And we should be proud of that. Now, I do think there are additional steps that we can take to strengthen the integrity of our elections. One is expanding the electronic poll book to all 99 counties. The electronic poll book allows voters to check in electronically and then the poll worker lets the voter know whether or not they're at their correct polling location, whether or not they're eligible to vote and whether or not they're on the felon voting registry, for example. And what this would do, the reason this is so terrific, is because what this would do is it would prevent election misconduct whether intentional or not, before it happens rather than having to spend all of these taxpayer dollars in years of investigations after the fact. And so, because under Matt Schultz's so-called voter fraud investigation, most of the people identified in this investigation were felons who thought they had their voting rights restored or thought they had their voting rights restored. So, my view is, we need to prevent these folks from voting in the first place rather than having the expensive investigations after the fact.
Borg: So, you think, Mr. Pate said initially he wants to protect the integrity of our voting system here in Iowa. You're seeming to say it's working fine right now except for little tweaks and anything more than that is overkill.
Anderson: Well, I think any secretary of state, and Paul and I actually agree on this, I think any secretary of state has to have a zero tolerance for any election misconduct, period. What I am proposing is let's work within the current system, strengthen the current system and then start addressing the real concerns from our county auditors. I have talked now to more than 75 county auditors in the last 2 months, republicans and democrats, and I can tell you they have got some real concerns. One of the concerns they have is low voter turnout in local elections. We had an election here in Iowa, Dean, that had .0159% voter turnout for a local election. That's less than 1%. That's unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. And so, we need to find ways to get back to this bipartisan tradition here in Iowa of increasing access to the polls, making it as easy as possible for eligible voters to vote but also strengthening the integrity and making sure we have zero election misconduct.