Sunday, September 23, 2018

Clash in Debate - Literally.

"Candidates Clash in Debate" is way too common a headline, and I have way too often joked that the Clash in a debate would be a good thing.

Finally, someone really did it.

Beto O'Rourke's reference to side two, track four on London Calling has won him a permanent place in my heart.

"Working for the clampdown" is not the MOST radical Clash reference Beto could have made - the very next song asks "when they kick at your front door, how you gonna come, with your hands on your hear or on the trigger of your gun" - but it's not a weak "should I stay or should I go" joke either. The opening line neofascism reference is sadly even more relevant now:



(The most offensive Clash reference I ever saw in politics was Giuliani using "Rudie Can't Fail" as rally music...)

I always wondered if the line "kick over the wall, cause governments to fall" was "kick over the wall BEcause government is going to fall" or if "cause governments to fall" was an instruction to the listener to overthrow the government.

If you are lucky, a band comes along in your formative years that changes your life. I was lucky enough that when I was 16, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon were there for me. I've gotten kicked a bit the last few years for being too pragmatist or too "establishment," but my roots, my catalyst that started me on the road I've been on now close to 30 years, are Clash. In the end I did cause governments to fall, in a small way, by knocking on doors and making lists.

By coincidence, I have been on one of my periodic obsessive kicks and for the last three weeks I have been listening to nothing but the Clash. I'm on a weekend road trip and on the way I listed to Sandinista, all the way through, uninterrupted. Even the biggest Clash fans know that's a true test of loyalty.

This morning I've prepped a quick primer for Clash neophytes who may want to work their way in. O'Rourke has offered the best starting point. Here's the order in which to learn the Clash.

1: London Calling - flawless from the iconic title track to the concluding hidden hit "Train In Vain."

2: The Clash (first album) US version - I may be a heretic here. But the US release cuts a few weak songs from the original UK version and adds some key singles including "Complete Control," "White Man in Hammersmith Palais," and "I Fought The Law."

3: A good compilation such as The Essential Clash which includes the best of the other albums and some more singles.

4: Combat Rock, side one: the two biggest hits and two great album cuts, "Know Your Rights" and "Straight To Hell."

5: Sandinista. You needed the rest for a warmup. Sandinista requires commitment. Plenty of rewards but at 2 1/2 hours (six vinyl sides, two full CDs) it is literally marathon length.

6: The Clash, original UK version. If you survived Sandinista you're hooked and moving toward completism. Four songs here you don't have yet. Short and fast except for the breakthough cover of "Police And Thieves" (also on the US version).

7: Give `Em Enough Rope. The second album is a corporate-influenced attempt to crack the US market but the opening salvo of "Safe European Home," "English Civil War" and "Tommy Gun" is first rate. Also don't miss "Stay Free."

8: Side two of Combat Rock and/or the bootleg original mix of the unreleased album, Rat Patrol At Fort Bragg.

9: Various compilations like Super Black Market Clash to fill in the pieces.

10: Mick Jones' solo work with Big Audio Dynamite.

11: Joe Strummer's Earthquake Weather (1989) and his late Mescaleros albums (three albums 1999-2003).

12: Joe Strummer's late 80s soundtrack albums - mainly instrumental but a couple vocal tracks.

954: A bad Sex Pistols bootleg from after Johnny Rotten left the band

8321: A post-2000 Motley Crue album

22,038: Cut The Crap. Released in 1985 after Strummer kicked Jones out of the band and immediately regretted it, this is Clash in name only and the worst thing Strummer ever recorded. To be avoided.

If you want everything all at once (except Cut The Crap) there is a beautiful but expensive box set called Sound System personally designed by band member Paul Simonon that includes all sorts of fanzines and stickers and buttons like we had back then.

Even I don't own that one but considering how bad CBS ripped them off I'm sure a download would be morally justified... meanwhile my vinyl Sandinista is framed and on my wall, to remind me where I started. And the world is a lesser place without Joe Strummer, who we REALLY need right now.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Key numbers in Freerks/Teague wins

With all five candidates closely bunched between 15 and 27%, Tuesday's Iowa City special primary would have been a great test case for ranked choice voting

Here's something you rarely see: All five candidates won precincts, and all five candidates finised last in precincts. Of course some of those "wins" were with 10 total votes or with 24%.

First place finisher Ann Freerks ran just a little bit better than the rest more or less across the board. But the decisive number: Bruce Teague beat Christine Ralston with big margins in precincts 2 and 6, both with lots of seniors (Oaknoll in 2, Legacy Pointe in 6). Take away either precinct, and Ralston is in 2nd.

That 18 vote margin is close, but not recount close. The closet ever city primary margin was in 2009 when Jared Bazzell trailed Dan Tallon for the fourth and last slot. (Tallon and fellow student Jeff Shipley were competing for the right to lose to Terry Dickens and Susan Mims; 2009 got decided on filing deadline day. Where are they now: Shipley is the GOP challenger to Democratic state Rep. Phil Miller in Fairfield-based House 82. End of tangent.)

Brianna Wills was wiped out (low single digit percents) in lefty precincts 18 and 21 and in 20, mixed student/senior. Take away those three precincts, and she jumps from 4th to 2nd.

Yet Wills and Ralston both came close enough to be credible for a 2019 run, when four seats are up. But Ryan Hall is in a weaker position than he was, after winning 41% last year. In retrospect it seems clear that a lot of that 41% was votes against incumbent Susan Mims, rather than for Hall.

The first choice of both labor (Ralston) and the Chamber of Commerce (Wills) lost, so it will be interesting to see alliances shift in next 28 days.

Turnout was about 1000 more than I expected. I thought the compressed cycle and the shadow of the general election would lower turnout. But it appears that Iowa City wants to squeeze in a full-fledged city election cycle. The real loser may be the Democratic ticket as this city council vacancy sucks up a lot of energy in the most Democratic county.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Labor Day Roll Call


By popular demand I always post the list of which elected officials and candidates show up at teh annual Iowa ityFederation of Labor picnic.

Dave Loebsack made his appearance very very early, before I even arrived, before heading off to the Quad Cities and Burlington. Iowa City tends to take Dave for granted and thinks that the rest of the 2nd District is like Iowa City, forgetting that Trump carried the district. There are not a lot of Democratic members in Trump districts. So it was the right plan for Loebsack to spend most of his day elsewhere.

Working down the ticket we had state senators Kevin Kinney and Bob Dvorsky, Dvorsky's very likely successor Zach Wahls, and House 73 candidate Jodi Clemens.

The courthouse was well represented with all five supervisors - Mike Carberry, Kurt Friese, Lisa Green-Douglass, Janelle Rettig and Rod Sullivan - and county attorney Janet Lyness (who's unopposed for re-election after crushing a 2014 primary opponent).


All three candidates for supervisor were on hand as well: Rettig seeking re-election, Pat Heiden, who knocked off Carberry in the Democratic primary, and Republican Phil Hemingway. I'm supporting the Democratic ticket of Rettig and Heiden but I have to give Phil credit for being the only Republican candidate to show up at a labor event. He's been a regular for a few years and even got a labor endorsement one year running for the (non-partisan) school board.

Christine Ralston has the city fed endorsement in Tuesday's Iowa City primary and was one of the few candidates who spoke (the others were Rettig, Heiden and Wahls). Ryan Hall, who has the endorsement of SEIU and their local chair Cathy Glasson (which is more than some candidates have gotten), was also on hand, as was candidate Bruce Teague.

Also from the city we had mayor Jim Throgmorton and council members Rockne Cole, Mazahir Salih, and Pauline Taylor, along with Meghann Foster and Mitch Gross from Coralville.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Last Post About Cathy Glasson

Today is the last time I am going to write about Cathy Glasson.

There are certain rules and norms in politics. One of the biggest of those is, if you run in a primary, you buy into the outcome, and if you lose, you endorse the winner. That's not ideological - it's simply common courtesy.

But one of the more disturbing trends in the "Movement," for lack of a better term for the left edge of the Democratic coalition, has been the normalization of sore loser-ism. It began with Bernie Sanders' refusal to recognize simple math and his insistence that a nomination was still winnable long after that was possible, and his half-assed token "endorsement" of the woman who defeated him.

Fred Hubbell won an absolute majority in a five* way primary. John Norris, Andy McGuire, and Ross Wilburn immediately congratulated and endorsed him. (* The endorsement of the guy I voted for is not welcome.) That's how it's supposed to work.

But Glasson never said the appropriate words, and demanded speaking time at the Iowa Democratic convention. That was the moment the endorsement should have happened - yet it didn't. I grumbled that day, then set it aside for a bit.

A couple weeks back I got word that Glasson was speaking at the Iowa CCI convention, being held today. At that point I thought: "one more chance." It would be an awkward stage, sure, as Vote For Fred was not a message the CCI audience would want to hear. That made it even more important to say.
"Aside from those two lines," wrote Pat Rynard, "Glasson’s address was pretty much no different than one of her campaign rally speeches." Later in the day, he added: "after November she plans on shifting to a focus on presidential candidates and pressing the 2020 hopefuls who come into the state on progressive policy ideas & messaging."

That plays into the theory floated by the Des Moines Register that the "campaign" was never really about electing Catherine R. Glasson as Governor of Iowa - but was it was an elaborate mailing list building operation to help SEIU be a player in the 2020 caucuses.

Later in the day keynoter Nina Turner, the high profile Sanders backer who has never won a contested election larger than a city council race, made this thinly veiled dig at Hubbell: “Folks are just flat out buying elections, even people who we like... We shouldn’t support candidates who can buy the election"

True, Hubbell had the most money. But Glasson had the second most money of the candidates who finished the race (virtually all from the coffers of SEIU). She could not match Fred dollar for dollar, but unlike Norris and Wilburn, she had enough money to be visible and to make her case. And she made it well and she did so at the appropriate time.

And the voters rejected it.

Much has been made of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her defeat of congressional incumbent Joe Crowley on a "socialist" message. But Iowa is not the Bronx. Just weeks before, Cathy Glasson ran a much better funded campaign on a very similar message - and lost 55-20%.

What do you do when you lose 55 to 20%? You congratulate and endorse the winner. Refusing to endorse is not only rude, it's an insult to the majority of the voters. Primary night? Strike one. State convention? Strike two. Today? You're out.

Cathy Glasson has instead thrown in with those who think an 85% good Democrat is worse than a 100% bad Republican. Fortunately, most Glasson supporters I know have moved on and are ready for Hubbell to defeat Kim Reynolds.

Glasson's lack of endorsement will not harm Hubbell. The only damage is to her own credibility.

So today is the last time I will write about Cathy Glasson. She had a big stage today. It was  her last best chance to be a team player, and she refused.

Today is the last time I will write about Cathy Glasson - because through her own actions, she has made herself irrelevant to the 2018 general election.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Absentee Advice

Friendly advice from an election staffer: If you think you want to be part of a first day march to the polls on the first day of votingOctober 8, do NOT fill out a vote by mail request. Voiding out a vote by mail request slows down the line.
Also have realistic expectations. Your mailed ballot will NOT be in your mailbox October 8. That's the first day they can be mailed OUT - and because of the Columbus Day federal holiday they won't actually go out till October 9. (Columbus Day is the only federal holiday our office is open and I don't know of any auditors who will be closed that day - so you WILL be able to vote in person.)
Don't panic on day three and get scared about your ballot being "lost," and don't expect to see a mailed ballot in your box till the end of that week at best.
And don't fill out an absentee request just to make the staffer or volunteer happy if you have no intention of actually voting it and are thinking "I'll just go to the polls." That also slows down the line.
Personally I think in person early voting is a safer option for people who can. Vote-doesn't-count kinds of mistakes are not common, but when they do happen they are almost always on mailed ballots.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Johnson County Primary: Party Change Numbers

Iowa Starting Line took a look at party registrations in the just finished primary election.

‏Here in Johnson County, the Democrats are up 2132 active registrations through the end of June. The peak was even higher but invariably we see some double switchers every primary.

By percentage, Dems jumped from 45.69% on May 4, the Friday before voting started, to a peak of 48.32% on June 14 when voter history was updated. That's just short of the all time Johnson County Democratic peak of 49.26% after the 2016 caucus and primary cycle. Double-switches and new registrations have dropped the Democrat's share to 48.15% as of Thursday June 18.

When there's not a caucus or primary going on, new registrations, especially from the Department of Transportation, tend to default to No Party. I cannot remember the last time I saw a registration come through from the DOT changing from No Party to a party, any party. DOT changes are ALWAYS the other way around - from parties to No Party.

Republican registration in Johnson slipped from 20.17% just before primary voting started to 19.79% after primary, and even with double switching has continued to drop slightly.  (Most primary double switchers in Johnson were No Party to Democrat to No Party, rather than R to D to R.)

Also, a pet peeve: The Secretary of State's stats including the statistical category "Other" - when there is only one thing in "Other," the Greens.

Here's a full look at party switching in the People's Republic:


Party Absentee Polls Total
Democrat stayed Democrat 4396 10425 14821
No Party to Democrat 351 1518 1869
Republican to Democrat 110 301 411
Green to Democrat 10 21 31
Libertarian to Democrat 2 26 28
Democratic total 4869 12291 17160
       
Republican stayed Republican 220 1032 1252
No Party to Republican 20 110 130
Democrat to Republican 8 41 49
Libertarian to Republican 1 5 6
Green to Republican 0 0 0
Republican total 249 1188 1437
       
Libertarian stayed Libertarian 5 25 30
No Party to Libertarian 1 29 30
Democrat to Libertarian 5 10 15
Republican to Libertarian 1 8 9
Green to Libertarian 1 0 1
Libertarian total 13 72 85

Monday, June 11, 2018

Post-Primary Number Cruncher 2018

When you ask someone in Johnson County, "what's the turnout gonna be?" they say "I don't know. Ask Deeth."

The problem with that is I have no one to ask, and once the projections get beyond past records, I have nothing to go on.

It is literally my job to project turnout and I had predicted close to record turnout on the Democratic side - ballpark of 11,000 voters in Johnson County, tying the past record set in 2006. It was a similar political scenario - contested governor primary and a hot supervisor race (in 2006 as in 2018, an incumbent supervisor got knocked off).

But when the absentee numbers passed the 2014 final absentee number a week before the election, I started to fret.

Were people just voting earlier? Or was it a Great Leap Forward scenario like we've seen in other states where turnout breaks projections and records dramatically rather than incrementally? And if so, would it be across the board or would there be hot spots?

As it turned out with the turnout, it WAS a Great Leap Forward. Which is why they call us the People's Republic. And we saw some unusual hot spots.

For the first time in a very long time, it appears that a legislative race played a big role in boosting turnout - as percentages were noticeably higher in the precincts in Senate District 37. Given the outcome, it looks like non-typical primary voters were drawn to the polls by Zach Wahls. Throughout the election there were many questions about the district lines and many voters looking at their ballots and wondering where Wahls was (and to a much lesser extent his opponents). Late in the day I told Joe Bolkcom, the senator representing most of Iowa City, "a lot of people are really disappointed to be voting for you." He was amused.

Other hot spots included high-growth precincts in North Liberty, Tiffin, and Iowa City 24 on the east side - which is not surprising. More surprising was a spike on the southeast side at precincts 12, 14, and 15, and in the downtown precincts that included off-campus and non-student housing (11, 13, 20 and to a lesser extent 3). My bet is the governor's race drove those.

Interestingly, the places that usually turn out in high numbers for a Johnson County primary, the townie east side precincts, did NOT see a turnout spike. Rather, the rest of the county increased toward the usual east side levels.

We do turnout update calls at 9, 11, 3 and 6, and our rule of thumb built up over many years is: Turnout usually doubles from 9 to 11, from 11 to 3, and from 3 to close. (The 6 PM update is relatively new.) Usually, I start to worry at the 3 PM if a precinct has used more than 40% of its ballot supply.

At 3 PM Tuesday, 38 of the 57 precincts had used over 40% of their ballots.

From noon to about 8 PM it was one long game of Whack-A-Mole as we ran ballots around town and tried to stay a step ahead. We ran out of the standard pre-printed ballots briefly in a couple places but no one was delayed or turned away; a couple people had to vote on the "Express Vote" machine, the handicap-assistance device that prints a ballot. Luckily, we did not have a line of people all waiting to use the one Express Vote per precinct at the 9 PM close.

We ended up with 17,144 Democrats, about 6000 above my projections. Even the Republicans saw a spike with 1438 voters, almost twice my projection. For the first time in several low-key GOP primaries we did NOT have a precinct with zero Republican voters. We had little trouble running out of ballots on the GOP side, though; we had sent every precinct one pack of 50 Republican ballots and only one precinct (Shueyville) topped that.

Even the Libertarians, in their first primary, set records. Their 82 voters topped the Green's 48 voters from their lone primary in 2002. I REALLY had nothing to go on for projecting Libertarian turnout, but we didn't have more than four Libertarians in any one precinct. And does anyone know why, even though they had an actual contested two candidate primary, 7% of the Libertarian governor vote was write-in?

As for the Democratic governor's race, I had long predicted that, as in the multi-cornered 2014 Republican Senate primary, one candidate would get hot at the end. I had hoped that would be MY candidate, but we all know what happened there. (Nate Boulton winning his native Louisa County despite dropping out was the saddest and most bizarre factoid of the night.)

The candidate who got hot at the end, Fred Hubbell, seemed to benefit from Boulton's implosion. He was far enough ahead of the rest of the field that the dropout of the second-place contender seemed to be a catalyst for consensus. While normal voters are not especially aware of the 35% rule, most of the activist class was relieved to avoid the drama of a nominating convention - even if their candidate lost.

A lot of the party-regular activist class (as opposed to the Sanders-wing activist class) had come out for John Norris late in the game. I was surprised that the late boom for Norris did not seem to translate into support from rank and file voters, as he finished a poor third with just 11%.

In second with 20% was Cathy Glasson, and that figure illustrates the limits of the Bold Progressive rhetorical style and reinforces my argument that half of Bernie Sander's 2016 support, in Iowa and nationwide,  was simply opposition to Hillary Clinton in a two way race (or, as I usually put it, "I Hate That Bitch") and that the "язvolutioи" style alienates more voters than it attracts.  Boulton was polling better than Glasson with a similar platform presented in a less confrontational manner. The trick for Democrats is how to appeal to the hipster niche who are turned on by this style and who seem to be turned on by nothing but this style, without actually making their case in this style.

Glasson's one county level win in small Mills County was more of a statistical quirk than anything. Andy McGuire, thanks to Mike Gronstal's backing, had a relative hot spot in and around Council Bluffs, and her vote seemed to come almost entirely out of Hubbell's. John Norris also performed above average in Mills, as it's next door to his native Montgomery which he won with a whopping 69%. The split let Glasson carry Mills with just over 30%.

Glasson did NOT win here in her home county, the most progressive in the state, losing to Hubbell 44-30%. In fact, Hubbell won 96 counties, all but the three exceptions mentioned above.

Precinct-level results are hard to analyze since the absentee vote (28% of the Johnson County total but much higher in some precincts) is not broken out by precinct. Hubbell had a strong absentee ballot program that included multiple mailers (expect more of that in the fall) and he led the early vote over Glasson 50-24%.

Glasson managed a near-tie in the election day vote in Iowa City proper, losing just 38-37% and by less than 100 votes. But Hubbell won by about a dozen points in Coralville and North Liberty, and ran even stronger in rural areas.

John Norris ran ahead of Hubbell (but behind Glasson) in a couple of the more lefty Iowa City precincts but was below average in student areas. It seems older activists who caucused for Jesse Jackson in `88 remembered Norris fondly, but he did not reach younger voters. His hot spot was in Cedar Township at 37%. Ross Wilburn ran fourth in the county where he was once Iowa City's Biking Mayor, with his hot spot on the southeast side near his old neighborhood.

What might have been: The Des Moines Register ran its Boulton "me too" story the afternoon of May 23. Through the close of business that day 1520 Johnson County Democratic ballots were turned in. Boulton ended up with 339 absentee votes - which is 22% of 1520. (However, he also got 216 Election Day votes, so no assumption is going to be perfect.)
 
My vote DID count for something, though, as Andy McGuire finished dead last in the county.  She did run (barely) ahead of Boulton statewide.




Me and Zach on Caucus Night
Time and time again I have emotionally invested in young candidates, only to get my heart broken by the voters. Despite our massive young population, Johnson County did not have an Anesa Kajtazovic or a Stacey Walker or an Abby Finkenauer or a Chris Hall to call our own.

Until now.

On Tuesday, a 20something finally got a win in Johnson County, but it took someone so extraordinary that he's already an Iowa City and generational icon to do it.

Zach Wahls, who at age 19 passionately defended his two-mom family in front of a hostile legislative committee and shot to overnight viral video fame, is now near-certain to return to the capitol at age 27 (next month) as my state senator.

Wahls' landslide (60-35%) win indicates that voters were ready and eager to support him, and merely needed a little reassurance that he was ready for the job.

If he wasn't, there was a good backup plan. Retired diplomat Janice Weiner ran a much stronger race than expected in terms of fundraising and message, and in the process made Wahls a stronger candidate. Her only mistake was choosing the wrong race at the wrong time, a mistake she also made when she joined the 2016 special school board election late, after everyone had already chosen sides.

In a way, running the wrong race at the wrong time was also Jim Mowrer's mistake in the secretary of state's race. And like Weiner, Mowrer faced an opponent in Deidre DeJear who excited the activist base. There needs to be a place in the system for Jim, and there needs to be a place in the system for Janice. It'll be harder for Mowrer, who now has his third loss in a row.

The issue differences between Wahls and Weiner were minimal and this was a race about biography: rising star vs. resume.  Retiring incumbent Bob Dvorsky and ex-Iowa Democratic Party chair Sue Dvorsky did not formally endorse in the race, but virtually their entire network of local support (of which I'm a small part) was with Wahls, as was the core of an increasingly organized Solon activist base. Wahls also had an unusually high number of high school volunteers, cutting their teeth on their first campaign.

Weiner kept the race positive and there was a positive core to her coalition: old friends from the neighborhood and the synagogue, veterans of the 2016 Democratic HQ where she staffed, and assorted Women's March/League types.

But Weiner also drew some negative support -  though she didn't ask for it and it had little to do with her. Some supporters hurt Weiner more than they helped. A few Iowa City old guard types were anxious to shoot Wahls down now, before he becomes a threat for higher office. Other people attacked "insiders" and "machines" and nursed grudges against the Dvorskys over who they supported in races past and present. And the far left was mad about Wahls' very prominent 2016 support of Hillary Clinton - because no one gets forgiven for endorsing Hillary except Cathy Glasson.

For various combinations of these reasons, the No To Everything faction (who editorialized that Wahls should drop out simply because he is male) was with Weiner.  But they may have helped Weiner a little in Newport Township, which she almost carried - Wahls was in the 60%+ range in the rest of northeast Johnson County.

Wahls won the Coralville core of the district with 66%, and his best showing was 75% in Iowa City 8, where Weiner now lives (her roots are Coralville) but also where Wahls grew up and where The Moms still live. (One of the best parts of Zach's campaign for me was getting to know Jackie Reger and Terry Wahls.)  Weiner won Cedar County and Scott Township in Johnson; Wahls won the city of Wilton, the one Muscatine County precinct.

There were two other candidates in the race and both ended up as asterisks. Eric Dirth got some positive reviews for his forum answers but there wasn't a lane for a second 26 year old man, one who didn't have magic internet money and a life story that is literally a best seller. As for Imad Youssif, he ran an even weaker race than his last place run for Coralville city council last year, and he seems well on his way to perennial candidate status.
 


After disposing with token opposition from the Libertarians (Republicans may just let this one go), Wahls will go to the Senate with a high profile and high expectations, and if Fred Hubbell falls short Wahls will be the most prominent new face in the Capitol period. Zach has been an in-demand stump speaker for three cycles already, and has proven that he is a fund-raising magnet. In his new role as de facto senator-elect you can expect to see a lot of Wahls on the trail this year.




It's a big deal when an incumbent loses a primary in Johnson County. The last supervisor to lose a primary was Mike Lehman in 2006, and the last incumbent period was auditor Tom Slockett in 2012. (I still like saying that.)  Now Mike Carberry is out after one term. A story that resurfaced exactly when voting started about Carberry's dismissal from a prior job may have played a role.

There was a lot of grumbling about dissatisfaction with the Board, but it seems not to have affected Janelle Rettig, who finished in a strong first. With the high turnout, Rettig set a new record for most votes in a contested primary at 10,826.

That was about 1900 votes ahead of second place Pat Heiden, who had been about 300 votes short of the third and final nomination in 2016. The former Oaknoll director had never really stopped running and had worked hard to build her Democratic Party bona fides in the intervening two years. She'd been attacked as a "stealth Republican" in 2016 even though her Democratic donor record dates back to 2006.

Heiden's win sets up the first-ever female majority Johnson County Board of Supervisors, with Heiden and Rettig joining holdover Lisa Green-Douglass. It's not a first in state history, but it's believed to be the only one now. (While this was just the primary, the Republicans have no candidates, and no Republican has won a general election for supervisor since 1958.)

Rettig finished first in every precinct in Iowa City and Coralville and in most of North Liberty. Heiden won high growth North Liberty 6, the west part of the city, and carried most of the rural-rural precincts (Rettig carried some of the small towns and the suburban-rural precincts). Carberry's strongest showings were second places in the core Iowa City lefty precincts, 18 and 21, on the southeast side in 12 and 15, and in scattered rural precincts.

Going into the election it seemed like each of the three candidates had their own unique coalitions, and there was a lot of thought that voters would cast strategic "bullet" votes, using only one of the two available votes.

Using my patented Votes Per Voter statistic, we see that the average voter cast 1.58 votes for supervisor. That means on average 42% of voters cast only one vote in this race - and even more among people who voted for supervisor at all, because X number of people skipped the race entirely and just voted for governor or in the state senate race.

That tells me that this contest was not a concerted effort to get rid of any one person. You need to vote for two to do that. Rather. people voted for their first choice but held off on a second choice, worrying that their second choice might push their first choice into third place.

Greg Morris, a Hawkeye football equipment manager, had made some noise about getting into the race in March but didn't file. Days before the election, he announced a write-in effort. A total of just 249 write-ins were cast, and even if they were all for Morris (they weren't - I was told I got one vote) that would be below the 5% that would require his name to be included in the canvass. There was a noticeable bump in write-ins for supervisor in greater metro Solon, where Morris lives.

The biggest dud of the night would have to be Ginny Caligiuri's write-in campaign for the Republican congressional nomination. Caligiuri filed in March but was knocked off the ballot by a challenge.

I honestly thought that that Caligiuri might be able to pull off a write-in win. The circumstances were perfect for it: low Republican turnout, an actual campaign with money and stuff, and a Republican base not in love with 2016 candidate Christopher Peters, a small-l libertarian who has run in the past as a big-L Libertarian.

But the message must not have gotten out beyond the inner circle, as only 12.5% of the vote was for write-ins period. So instead of a social conservative with full party backing and the enthusiastic support of a governor from the same home town, Dave Loebsack faces the same opponent he bested in the bad 2016 cycle.

Now the biggest question I have left is: What's turnout gonna be in the fall?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Thoughts on the governor's race


1) As you all know I supported Nate Boulton for governor and voted for him on opening day. Since I have already voted, I do not see the point in making a Plan B endorsement. After a long weekend I do have some thoughts.

2) I am not ready to discuss the #MeToo issues surrounding Boulton and I may never be. I still hurt too much and it’s all personal. A week ago I thought the guy who was my high school doorknocking volunteer could be governor. Now, I’ve lost not just my candidate but my vote.

3) The only thing that’ll make me feel better is if my candidates in other races win. Given how Boulton worked out you may consider me a poor judge of character, but I still want to put in a good word for my friends Zach Wahls and Janelle Rettig.

4) I’m also not going to get into the “who was behind the story” question because it doesn’t matter.

5) Now, as for the governor’s race itself. The Register tried to dismiss it in their editorial endorsing another candidate, but I believe that Andy McGuire‘s incompetent leadership of the Iowa Democratic Party is disqualifying to consideration of her as governor.

6) This isn’t just about me being petty about being left off the caucus review committee; that exclusion was just one more example of McGuire’s overall poor leadership.

7) I voted for Ross Wilburn a couple times for Iowa City council, and voted against him once for a no-chance opponent out of my obsession with the 21 bar issue. He’s a good guy, but he is not going to be a factor in this race.

8) As for Cathy Glasson. This is the hard part because every time I criticize Glasson I get personally attacked by a bunch of no-names with red roses in their handles. That’s exactly part of the problem.

9) The confrontational, “bold” style of the Glasson campaign wins over some hipsters and members of the grad student proletariat who would probably vote third party or not at all otherwise.

10) Yes I said “hipster” on purpose. There’s a hybrid cross-breed of Rand Paul-Bernie Sanders cat who will probably vote Libertarian over any non-Glasson Democrat, because they’re too dumb to know the difference between libertarian and socialist. Revolution, dude!

11) And I said “grad student proletariat” on purpose because a lot of leftists remind me of me when I was 25 and I am embarrassed for my former self.

12) But within the actual “working class” the ideological lefty style alienates more voters than it wins over, and the effect is a net loss of votes.  It’ll be tough going whoever is nominated – but Glasson is unelectable and will cause downballot damage.

13) As evidence, the issue difference between Boulton and Glasson was narrow but Boulton was presenting it in a way that was much more appealing to voters, as seen by his 20-13 lead over Glasson in the poll taken days before his collapse.

14) The Glasson style is more than rhetoric – it’s the glee many Glasson people showed before Boulton even dropped out, and the immediate, bullying pressure on us Boulton supporters to switch to Glasson. (Monitor responses to these tweets for more evidence of the bullying style.)

15) I have reports that Glasson was personally calling key Boulton backers within hours of his dropout. Our tears weren’t even dry yet.

16) That's in keeping with the style they showed at our county convention when Norris supporters offered a delegate deal and Glasson backers responded only with demands for them to switch to her. As always: it's their way or no way, which is a dangerous approach to politics.

17) I’m sure a lot of people who chose Sanders over Clinton will point out that I ranked the two female candidates lowest. In the four contested races on my ballot (one a vote for two) the gender split of my personal choices was 3-2.

18) That leaves us with John Norris and Fred Hubbell.  Both are good men who could do the job. Both have paths to victory, though those paths differ in some ways.

19) I will of course support the nominee but I think Hubbell and Norris are the choices with the best chance to win. This is not an endorsement of either. But I voted for Boulton so what do I know.