Sunday, May 04, 2008

Iowa Dem Chair Brennan Remains Committed To Being Uncommitted

Iowa Dem Chair Brennan Remains Committed To Being Uncommitted

“I honestly haven’t decided when I’ll say something,” Iowa Democratic Party chair Scott Brennan told party activists in Iowa City Sunday. As party chair, Brennan is also a national convention superdelegate, and he and Senator Tom Harkin are the only two Iowa superdelegates who are still uncommitted.

"I’m a Pollyanna but I still have some hope that after we finish on June 3rd, in the next couple weeks after that we’ll have some clarity, and I’ll never have to make that decision,” said Brennan.

Part of Brennan’s reticence is his wish to protect Iowa’s first in the nation role. “Part of the reason I think Iowa remains first and why we attract candidates is that we been an honest broker,” e said. If he did endorse, “the unhappy candidate is going to identify every little thing and think there was a cabal by the state party. But I agree with Senator Harkin at this point, why not let the contest play out?”

Brennan noted that a Republican plan that recently won approval keeps Iowa and New Hampshire first. As for attacks on caucuses being low-turnout events and Iowa’s relative lack of diversity, he pointed to the record turnout and Barack Obama ‘s win and said, “It’s pretty clear that Iowans are open minded. We’ve refuted those two arguments pretty well.”

“I live in Happy Land” about the ongoing nomination fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton, said Brennan, noting that in Iowa, as in the rest of the country, the contest has led to a Democratic voter registration surge. “We had 60,000 new Democrats who cam out to caucus. And the other piece that goes with that is we have an 85,000 voter registration advantage over the Republicans.”

“You saw the exit date from Pennsylvania, you saw X percentage op Clinton people wouldn’t vote for Obama and vice versa,” Brennan acknowledged to activists still fretting about mending fences. “But they had been subjected to a heated campaign for weeks. I think when we have our nominee, and people compare our nominee to John McCain, those people come home.”

Brennan offered a strong critique of McCain’s Thursday visit to Des Moines, noting poor attendance. “He came in tenth in the straw poll, fourth in the caucuses. I don’t see much enthusiasm on their side.”

“John McCain’s making enough mistakes by himself, I don’t know if we need a nominee right now,” Brennan added.

Brennan is also confident about Iowa Democrat’s chances on the rest of the ballot, starting with Senator Harkin. “Chuck Grassley only ever cared that Grassley won, so I doesn’t have coattails,” Brennan said of the popular Republican senator who isn’t on the ballot for two more years.

“But Tom Harkin would like every dogcatcher to be a Democrat. Harkin doesn’t have much of a challenge this year. He doesn’t have to worry about himself. So he can get out and do things in parts of the state that normally don’t get much attention.”

“Congressman Loebsack’s got opponents, but I haven’t seen much out of them so far,” Brennan said. “(Congressman Bruce) Braley doesn’t have much of an opponent. I think we’ve got a decent shot in the 4th District. (Republican incumbent Tom) Latham doesn’t make anybody mad, but that’s because he doesn’t do anything.”

Brennan said he expects Republican efforts will focus on the state legislature. “(Senate Democratic leader Mike) Gronstal’s got a 30-20 advantage, he’s going to pick up a few more Senate seats.” In the House, Brennan said, “that’s where the Republicans are going to fight the hardest, that’s the one place they even have a glimmer of hope.”

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