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Monday, April 20, 2015

The Koch Brothers Aren't The Issue - The Policies Are

For all its significance, campaign finance as an issue still doesn't register on the radar of the average voter. True, it affects how government interacts and deals with every other issue, but it's still very meta, and in that sense very inside baseball.

Campaign finance also suffers from false equivalency media coverage. There are multiple multiple GOP SuperPacs and free-spending billionaires, but as long as you can name Tom Steyer and George Soros, both parties are "equally" to blame, your story is Balanced And Objective, and average voters lump it into the category of "they're all crooks anyway."

Bruce Braley ran harder against "the Koch Brothers" than he did against his actual opponent. If Koch Brother Demonization worked, Braley would be in the Senate and not in a Denver law firm.

I've gotten a lot of mileage out of bashing Koch Brothers Bashing. But that doesn't mean their insignificant. They're insignificant as an issue that moves voters, but dropping their name sure motivates the Democratic base. And, of course, the actual support they offer is significant.

And they now have a favorite:
Charles G. and David H. Koch, the influential and big-spending conservative donors, have a favorite in the race for the Republican nomination: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

On Monday, at a fund-raising event in Manhattan for the New York State Republican Party, David Koch told donors that he and his brother, who oversee one of the biggest private political organizations in the country, believed that Mr. Walker was the Republican Party’s best hope for recapturing the White House.

“We will support whoever the candidate is,” said Mr. Koch, according to two people who attended the event. “But it should be Scott Walker.”
Why Walker? It's what I've been saying all along: the issues that propelled Walker to national prominence are close to the heart of what the Money Wing of the GOP actually cares about - radically shrinking government and lowering wages.

Whether you're in a union or not - most aren't, I am - collective bargaining is a big force in setting prevailing wages across all sectors of the economy. And in post-industrial America, the strongest sector of the labor movement is the public sector.

By breaking public sector unions, an issue that was rarely mentioned in public in his 2010 race, Walker struck a blow against all paycheck workers. If he's able to do it nationally, that drives the entire wage scale of the economy downward.

So it's no shock that the Koch brothers love him. Now what Democrats need to learn is: they have to explain the argument, and not just bash the name.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Whatever Happened to the Local Option Sales Tax?

The cities, county and school board are meeting tomorrow late afternoon in Coralville for what I used to call the "Mega Meeting," or the "Please Don't Let A Meteor Hit The Building Or It'll Be The Biggest Special Election Ever" meeting.

(Apologies to my recently increasing share of statewide/national readers. I'll get back to caucuses soon enough, but this is a Locals Only post.)

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors, the city councils of Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Tiffin and Hills (where's the Heights?), and the Iowa City and Clear Creek Amana School District Boards will get together and try to get stuff done.

The agenda is dominated by the Iowa City school board, and the headlines have been lately as well.  Iowa City is redrawing its attendance lines yet again, with tales of school closings in the air.

That's always a tough fight. A wise man once told me, "the only person who can get away with changing school lines is a retiring superintendent." (That wisdom is from my father in law Bob Steele, a retired superintendent and one of the key architects of the Clear Creek - Amana merger a couple decades ago.)

The school fights will be settled, or at least the battle lines drawn, in the school board election September 8. Buzz is that all four seats on the ballot will be open. Jeff McGuinness formally announced his departure last week, and Sally Hoelscher didn't even last the full term (her appointed replacement, Orville Townsend, made it clear at appointment time he was not running).

So there's a good shot that the ICCSD breaks the turnout record of 8733 we set in 2013. That was a Great Leap Forward from the old record of 5814 set way back in 1995 - and the `95 vote also had a bond issue on the ballot (the one that built Weber Elementary).

But also interesting: That September 8 vote looks like our next election. If that holds, it'll be Johnson County's longest stretch without any vote at all since, it looks like to me, 1986-87. (There may have been some very small town cable franchise vote or something, bit nothing that I found worth noting when I researched the old elections at work several years ago.)

The longest gap between scheduled election on Iowa's current calendar is 10 months between even year general elections and off year school elections - November to September.

We've had a couple other stretches in my professional career without much electoral activity over those 10 months. In 2010-11 we had only a January University Heights special election, a very big deal but only in one precinct, and in 2000-01 we only saw a North Liberty mayor vote (way back then, that too was only one precinct, not the SIX they have now.)

But both those years, our auditor's office had another big project: reprecincting.

The last gap that feels comparable was in 2004-05, when we went from the presidential to the school board with just a Coralville library bond in March. That was one of the very few that's broken my 20 percent rule: 20 percent of voters are going to be automatic no votes on any spending measure, so you have to get 75% of the 80% that's persuadable in order to win.  (That's not the record, though, Coralville scores 95% in a 2002 pool vote. Always schedule your pool vote in the middle of summer.)

But this year, not even that. City council vacancies in Tiffin and Solon got filled by appointment with no petitions for special elections, so it looks like we may go the full ten months with no vote at all.

I had expected to be in full satellite voting mode by now.  After the relatively narrow 53.8% No to 46.2% Yes defeat of the local option sales tax in November, I was absolutely certain that Iowa City would come back for a do-over on May 5.  I had gone as far as crunching the numbers and estimating turnout (one of my JOB jobs that just happens to translate well for my hobby here.)

A quick primer: under Iowa law, cities that make up more than half the county population have the power to call the sales tax election. In Johnson County, this means Iowa City alone decides.

The issue was discussed at some length at the last Mega Meeting on January 26. As you may recall, the tone of the meeting was the county and outlying cities telling Iowa City, more or less, we need to be in the loop here. Note also from the returns that high-growth Coralville, North Liberty and Tiffin voted roughly two to one No last fall, while Iowa City alone voted narrowly Yes and UHeights voted strongly Yes. But passage or failure is determined by the combined votes of those five "contiguous cities." The smaller towns and the rural county vote alone, and five of the small towns passed it.

The next available date for a sales tax vote is August 4.  But given the lack of even any discussion at this point, it seems very unlikely. It's even LESS likely that the council majority will put it on the same November 3 ballot that includes their own seats, as a ballot issue may encourage The Rabble to vote. (Through the grapevine I heard concerns that "the students beat the sales tax," but the numbers show that it was really the outlying cities that did.)

That pushes the next available date all the way back to March 1, 2016, just as the primary for legislative and county seats is warming up.  Flag this story as "developing" - but developing very, very slowly.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hillary The Progressive

The dominant theme in the Hillary Clinton roll out this week is "champion of Regular Folks," and there was a strong effort to look Normal on the Scooby road trip and the coffee shop stops.

The middle class theme feels like setup for the general election. But there's a definite subtext being rolled out, and it's specifically geared for caucus season: defining Hillary as a progressive.

Clinton got tagged, perhaps unfairly, as the "moderate" in the endless 2008 nomination fight, and that tag has only been re-emphasized in the years since, for reasons not entirely her own fault. There was a strong correlation between state Clinton won in the primary and states where Democrats in general and the black president in particular have performed poorly in since.  A Kentucky Democrat notes:
In late 2008, Hillary Clinton stumped in Pikeville, the county seat, because Democrats thought she could boost their U.S. Senate candidate and the president couldn’t. The airline hangar reserved for the rally was “packed to the gills,” recalled Combs, with people “pressed against the fence” to see the New York senator.

“I told her, I’m not sure we can win, because you’re not on the ballot, and that other guy—I stopped short of saying black guy—is,” remembered Combs. “If you were on the ticket, these people would come out.”

The Democrats ended up losing that Senate race. Their candidate, businessman Bruce Lunsford, won Pike County by 14 points. Barack Obama lost it by 14 points. And that was the best he’d ever do in Appalachia. In 2012, Mitt Romney, as culturally ill-fit to coal country as any Republican could be, took the county by a 50-point landslide.



Ugly, yes... but hardly Hillary's fault.

There are some real concerns, sure, on foreign policy and economics. Foreign policy was scarcely if at all mentioned on the Iowa visit, but there's a definite effort at economic rebranding.

The most obvious sign of this was the Time 100 piece. The magazine's list of "influential people" included progressive superstar Elizabeth Warren, the dream candidate of the left. And the profile is bylined, not at all accidentally, by Hillary Clinton:
Elizabeth Warren never lets us forget that the work of taming Wall Street’s irresponsible risk taking and reforming our financial system is far from finished. And she never hesitates to hold powerful people’s feet to the fire: bankers, lobbyists, senior government officials and, yes, even presidential aspirants.
Two brief paragraphs, but the subject, and the byline, say a lot. Clinton makes her first visit to New Hampshire next week, and while it's modeled on the Iowa Scooby Trip, I won't be shocked if the Warren endorsement happens soon. I expect sooner rather than later, because Warren's star is peaking and the national press is already giving up on the idea Warren will run herself. The sooner the endorsement, the maximum the impact.

There's also the line, obviously Warren-influenced, in the announcement video and repeated on the stump: "the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top."

Charles Pierce at Esquire describes it all very colorfully:
I suspect the Senator Professor will do all she can to make Rodham Clinton president, and then all she can to make Rodham Clinton the kind of president she would like her to be. And, as for the candidate herself, all that talk about the game being "rigged" didn't exactly come out of the air.

The one thing that the Senator Professor understands that most of these people don't care to understand is that the interests of "average Americans" and the needs of "the business community" in the increasingly competitive global argle-bargle are in direct conflict, and will remain so as long as the "business community" continues to combine the essential patriotism of a potato blight with the business plan of the Barbary Pirates. She's already got them running scared. That can be a huge political weapon for the HRC campaign if they know how to use it correctly, a proposition that, admittedly, I make only 50-50 at this point.
Another lefty darling, Clinton 42 Labor Secretary Robert Reich, while still offering a progressive policy critique, steps out of his way to praise Hillary personally:
Some wonder about the strength of her values and ideals. I don’t. I’ve known her since she was 19 years old, and have no doubt where her heart is. For her entire career she’s been deeply committed to equal opportunity and upward mobility.

Some worry she’s been too compromised by big money – that the circle of wealthy donors she and her husband have cultivated over the years has dulled her sensitivity to the struggling middle class and poor.

But it’s wrong to assume great wealth, or even a social circle of the wealthy, is incompatible with a deep commitment to reform – as Teddy Roosevelt and his fifth-cousin Franklin clearly demonstrated.
But it's not just being noted with personal impressions; Daily Kos is offering data.
As it turns out, based upon her entire service in Congress, Hillary Clinton was the 11th most liberal member of the Senate in each of the  107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. That places her slightly to the left of Pat Leahy, Barbara Mikulski and Dick Durbin; clearly to the left of Joe Biden  and Harry Reid; and well to the left of moderate Democrats like Jon Tester, Blanche Lincoln, and Claire McCaskill.
Likely rival Jim Webb scored in the same middle of the Senate range as Lincoln and McCaskill during the two years he and Clinton served together,which places him on the wrong end of the spectrum to be The Lefty Alternative. Another potential rival, Lincoln Chaffee, ranked as the most liberal Republican in 2005-06, which still put him to the right of any Democrat, but that was two whole party changes ago.

Clinton also scored left of Iowa icon Tom Harkin... but the leftmost is rumored rival (won't happen) Bernie Sanders.

Hillary knows the vulnerability comes from the left, which explains the careful courting of Warren. The Clinton message was being very carefully tested and fine tuned per-announcement, and "the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top" may be as rare as the steak gets.


My bet is the progressive push comes on social issues, as seen by this emphasis:
On Wednesday, Clinton's team clarified one stance she she will take: same-sex marriage is a constitutional right that should be legal in every state.

"Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right," campaign spokesperson Adrienne Elrod told The Washington Blade, referring to four cases on gay marriage the court is scheduled to hear later this month.
Unfortunately for Clinton, the huge social shift on marriage equality, which has moved faster than any issue I've ever seen, accelerated while she was on furlough from domestic politics, so she seemed to be behind the curve. (Folks also remember that Clinton 42 signed DOMA in 1996.)

As for the economics, Clinton is trying to thread a narrow needle: offer the red meat, name names and place blame economics the left end of the party wants, while not alienating the high end of the donor base. And the high end is trying to get it...
“Everybody knows that income inequality is going to be a major issue in the campaign, and the vast majority of people who I know are supporting her agree that it needs to be addressed,” said one of Clinton’s leading donors in New York’s financial community. “She’s not saying that a hedge fund manager shouldn’t be making what they’re making. Just that someone in another job shouldn’t be making 300 times less.”
...but not quite getting it. Still, like the coal country rednecks, that's not all under the candidate's control either.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sanders Absolutely Positively NOT Running

I've always been skeptical that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was going to follow through and actually run for president. One more nail was hammered into that coffin today, the strongest evidence yet:
Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) said he endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential bid on "Andrea Mitchell Reports," making him the 28th out of 44 sitting Democratic senators (64%) to have endorsed the former secretary of state, according to a survey by The Hill newspaper.
What's important here is not the sheer number of endorsements, or Leahy's standing as the senior member of the whole Senate. It's the political folkways of DC in general and the Senate in particular.

Sanders has his unusual stance of serving as an independent, and that stance is a barrier, I think the single biggest barrier, to his candidacy: to seek the Democratic Party nomination, he would have to actually join the Democratic Party.

But as a Senator, both back home and in DC, he's functionally a de facto Democrat. And while he may be the very left edge of the mainstream of U.S. politics, he also works within the broad cultural norms of Congress (certainly better than some of the barn burners in the House Republican caucus who vote against their own party's speaker on day one in office).

So Pat Leahy is his home state, same party Senate colleague. True, there are occasions when such partners don't personally get along, but they're rare enough to be notable and there's no evidence that Sanders and Leahy, who've served together in DC a quarter century, are anything less than cordial.

If your home state partner is running for president, you're generally expected to support them, and the very least you do is sit on the sidelines a bit:
Hillary: Please endorse me.
Pat: I'll be there but I have to wait till Bernie decides.
Hillary: YOU ARE DISLOYAL TO THE ONE TRUE LEADER! ALL OF VERMONT SHALL SUFFER MY WRATH!!!1! THE STREETS WILL FLOW WITH THE BLOOD OF THE NONBELIEVERS!
Actually it's more like:
Hillary: Please endorse me.
Pat: I'll be there but I have to wait till Bernie decides.
Hillary. Understood. Ya gotta take care of Vermont.
And courtesy would dictate that before a Clinton endorsement, Leahy would talk to Sanders, perhaps for breakfast. Two scenarios, A:
Pat: Bernie, I want to endorse Hillary. OK by you?
Bernie: Can you do a brother a solid and hold off a few weeks? I'll have my mind made up by the end of sap season.
Pat: Sure.
Or B:
Pat: Bernie, I want to endorse Hillary. OK by you?
Bernie: No problem. Pass the maple syrup.
So clearly, the conversation happened and it played out like Scenario B.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Soft Viability Of Low Expectations

There's a number and a construct I've seen twice now, and it clearly had some significance to the Clinton campaign:
It's very hard for a Democratic candidate to capture 50 percent or more of the vote in the Iowa caucuses, the Clinton aide pointed out.

In recent history, only sitting presidents or vice presidents have achieved a majority vote, the Clinton aide said. The exception is Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a favorite son who ran virtually unopposed in Iowa in 1992 and won 76 percent of the caucus vote.
Worded the same way both times. This is clearly where Team Hillary wants to set the bar: 50 percent.

The early states are about expectations more than we're about large numbers of national delegates. Exceeding expectations looks good, so it's in a frontrunner's interest to set the bar low.

In this case, 50 percent is objectively too low.  The construct "sitting presidents or vice presidents" is designed to exclude the one caucus cycle that is most similar to 2016.

In the modern, post-Carter era of the caucuses, only one Democratic incumbent vice president has run for president: Al Gore in 2000.  He was running against a sole opponent, who most observers would rate as low second tier or high third tier: former Senator Bill Bradley.

I expect a similar bipolar dynamic to emerge in 2016. Like it or not, this caucus is going to be about Hillary Clinton, and the die hard Anyone But Hillary folks (which I'm not) will gravitate to the strongest challenger. There's not room for two people to be Not Hillary.

Assume as I am that Elizabeth Warren means it when she says she will not run, and likely endorses Clinton in the near future. Assume also that Bernie Sanders, though he would like to run, will not be able to bring himself to formally join the Democratic Party to do so.

That makes the challengers O'Malley, Webb, and maybe Chaffee, and for my money the strongest of the three is O'Malley. This sets up a bipolar caucus like we saw in 2000.

Remember that phrase: "sitting presidents or vice presidents."  Hillary Clinton is a prohibitive enough favorite that she boxed the actual sitting vice president, Joe Biden, out of the race. (I hope she picks Joe for her running mate and he stays veep forever.)

So... what if we set the bar for Hillary Clinton at the incumbent vice president level?

Al Gore took 63.42% of the "state convention delegate equivalents" - national readers, we'll get back to that - to Bradley's 34.88%, with a tiny handful of uncommitteds.

One of those dark blue counties is my dear People's Republic of Johnson County, where us Bradley types won the county convention delegate count 147 to 122, with one guy uncommitted. Bill Bradley's best showing in the nation - still proud.

But before we really set the bar for Hillary Clinton, we need to know what the numbers mean.

Most political junkies know that at the Magic Moment on caucus night, Iowa Democrats walk to a corner of the room and count off. Each group has to have 15% of the room to be "viable." The non-viable folks have to go to another corner, and negotiating happens.

The Iowa Democratic Party does not release the numbers from when people first choose a corner.  Why... is a whole different post.  So on caucus night, the national media will get just a percentage, and that percentage will be based on 1) delegate counts and 2) is after the realignment.

Let's look at that other "exception" year, 1992. My precinct had ten county convention delegates. (I'm not going to even try to translate that to state delegate equivalents. Let's just say it all feeds in to math that's based on the state's vote the last two elections.)  In my precinct, on the initial alignment, Tom Harkin had one person over 50% of the room.  Five delegates and 50% of the "vote," right?

Nope. Negotiating happened. The Bill Clinton group was just short of the 15% viability mark. So the Harkin folks offered a deal: join us and we'll choose two of our Harkin delegates from the Clinton people.  So the Harkin group elected seven delegates, and the Tsongas group and Brown group got the other three.

So that result from my precinct got reported as 70% Harkin, even though only 50% of the people in the room were for Harkin. It didn't even matter that two of the "Harkin" delegates were really for Clinton. Who the delegates are doesn't matter on caucus night - The NUMBER is what matters.

Circling back at last to 2016, in a situation with a prohibitive frontrunner and either a lone opponent or a small number of unviable opponents, the math tends to favor the frontrunner.  Also, the negotiating tends to favor the insiders rather than the outsiders, because the insiders know that The Number matters more than who the delegates are.   So all these things, I see favoring Clinton in 2016.

All this makes that 50% bar Team Hillary is trying to set feel too low.  I'm willing to round Gore's 63.42% down to 60 rather than up to 2/3, but that's as low as I think is realistic for Hillary Clinton, unless something dramatic changes.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Clinton Announcement: The Left Wants Something

I almost feel like I have nothing to add to the massive politico-journalistic navel gazing that's accompanying Hillary Clinton's SHOCKING announcement that yes, in fact, she IS running for president.



I'm still waiting for the BIG newsworthy announcement: Just where and when is that first Iowa event?

(UPDATE: And of course the release lands five minutes after my post. Monticello Tuesday for the Cedar Rapids media market.  Norwalk Wednesday for the Des Moines market. Both events mid-day, both events look geared for "regular folks" in contrast with the O'Malley-Webb visits to county party fundraisers. Two days in the state for two public events likely means clutch events late Tuesday in CR and early Wednesday in Des Moines.)

But after some thought, I think I may have an angle here.

I've been branded as "establishment" by a few, but I still think of myself as part of the left of the Democratic Party. I am, after all, a Johnson County Democrat.  And my thought on the Whole Big Thing of the Clinton candidacy is: The left wants... something.

I can't articulate exactly WHAT, but let's look at economic messages for a moment.

As you likely know, the first 3/4 of the video is, on purpose, Regular Folks, including some Iowans. Once Hillary finally shows up 1:30 in, she says:
Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times. But the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by. You can get ahead, and stay ahead. Because when families are strong, America is strong.

Clinton is offering a slightly Warrenized version of "good jobs at good wages." It's very appealing to soft Ds and general election voters, and on its face it's not bad. But "the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top" is as strong as it gets, and even that, I suspect, reflects a Warren influence (in advance of a likely endorsement which I expect is scheduled for the first New Hampshire visit).

It also reflects the kinds of focus grouping a lot of us Iowa Democrats heard on three separate message testing calls. By the third call, the message seemed focused on stronger family leave and day care, and raising middle class wages, but the rhetoric was void of torches and pitchforks.

In contrast, here's the initial response from Bernie Sanders to the Clinton announcement:




I specify "initial" because the tweet was quickly deleted and replaced with a message that did not name Clinton directly, but kept the same villains.
Very interesting that Sanders kept the message but retracted the name. Even as Jim Webb and Martin O'Malley crisscrossed the state this weekend, there weren't by-name attacks on the strongest non-incumbent frontrunner since General Grant.

(Clinton aides noted pre-announcement that, other than native son Tom Harkin, no candidate who was not an incumbent POTUS or Veep had cracked 50% in Iowa. That's really lowballing it in this case.)

No, the only one Democrat who seems willing to attack Clinton by name is Lincoln Chaffee, whose surprising expression of interest in the race Friday focused on foreign policy in general and the Iraq War vote in particular. (Jennifer Jacobs noted that in her post-rollout piece: "Some anti-war Iowans will never forgive Clinton for her "yes" vote 12 years ago in favor of going to war in Iraq, several activists said.")

But here's a sample of O'Malley's style:

Note the difference. Clinton is offering a program but Sanders and O'Malley are casting blame. Wall Street. Billionaires. A conservative Supreme Court. "Grotesque levels of wealth inequality" is a much angrier statement than "the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top."

And that's what I sense the left end of the Democrats are hungry for: a rhetoric that blames, or, in CCI-speak, "holds them accountable."

And maybe Clinton can do that. Probably not on foreign policy, and maybe not on economics. Maybe, on social-cultural issues, she can find the right words, the right facet of the record, to persuade enough of the Democratic left to undercut the opposition.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Rizer Challenger in House 68

From presidential politics I switch straight into District Of The Day mode:
Sam Gray, a Democrat from Marion, this week announced his candidacy for the state house District 68 seat, currently held by Republican Ken Rizer.

The Marion High School graduate is a part-time seed rep and student at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids studying Agriculture Science.
Marion's House seat has been one of the few true swing seats in Iowa the last decade, changing parties four times in recent years.

Swati Dandekar picked up the seat in 2002 when it was open, in a race where under the radar attacks on her ethnicity went over the radar and backfired badly on the Republicans. Republican Nick Wagner, who had given Dandekar a decent challenge in 2006, picked up the seat in 2008 when Dandekar moved over to her brief, ill-fated Senate career.

The seat was a top target in 2012 as Democrat Daniel Lundby, son of Republican legend Mary Lundby who had long held this seat, knocked off Wagner.  Republican Ken Rizer promptly launched a high profile high spending campaign and easily defeated Lundby in the 2014 landslide.

Gray is just 20, and turns 22 a couple weeks before the general election, but already has at least one significant political experience: he was the youngest delegate in the country at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, serving before he turned 18. National delegate, at least in Iowa, tends to be a lifetime achievement award, but there's always one maybe two very young very new people. Often, they're never heard from again; Gray looks to be an exception.

Whether the larger electorate takes a young candidate as seriously as party activists did is yet to be seen. Funny: despite, or more likely because of, its huge student population, Iowa City is terrible at electing young people, while other, older parts of the state are more accepting.

Trivia time: This house seat was part of the greatest cluster of special elections I've ever seen outside my parent's Wisconsin recall district.  In 1994-95, part of Marion saw five elections in just over two months:
  • In the November 1994 general election, Paul Pate was elected secretary of state in the middle of his state senate term.
  • Mary Lundby, just re-elected to the state house, ran for and won the state senate seat in a December special. 
  • Rosemary Thomson won Lundby's vacated house seat in early January.
  • In the middle of this there was also a special election for Linn County sheriff and
  • a failed merger election in the Marion and Linn-Mar school districts.
My parents had six special elections in two years - primaries and recalls for governor, state senate and state rep - but they weren't as tightly clustered and they weren't over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays either.

Friday, April 10, 2015

#RandPaulUI

I'm mostly sticking with the first draft. Forgive the more typos than usual. Events on the UI campus are never very wifi friendly to those of us who are not faculty or students, so I was armed only with my phone and my thumbs.

One problem with chronological is it un-inverts my pyramid so that my lede is the Democratic counter-event.









Long version:
















And apparently one did not end well. But opinions differ:



Had fun hanging out on press row with a conservative counterpart:
























My typo ratio peaked here




















As seen here.














Seeking the all-important Micro-American vote.