Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Becky Schmitz gearing up for 2010

Schmitz gearing up for 2010

"It's been phenomenal what we've accomplished the last three years with strong Democratic leadership," Sen. Becky Schmitz told Johnson County backers Tuesday night.

The Fairfield Democrat was on the northern end of her sprawling district, which runs from the Iowa City limits to the Missouri border, raising funds for the 2010 campaign and stopping by the Johnson County fair.

While acknowledging the failure of some Democratic priorities in the 2009 session, Schmitz cited the 2007 session's successes, including minimum wage, civil rights, stem cell research, the bullying bill and early childhood education.

Schmitz was one of 2006's narrowest winners, knocking off incumbent Republican Dave Miller by just 184 votes and helping move the Senate from a 25-25 tie to a 30-20 Democratic margin (now increased to 32-18). She's had a target on her back from day one, but before election day Democrats have a dry run in the southern half of her district.

House District 90 Rep. John Whitaker has resigned to take a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, setting up a Sept. 1 special election between Democrat Curt Hanson and Republican Jefferson county supervisor Stephen Burgmeier.

"Burgmeier was originally talking about running against me" in 2010, said Schmitz, "but he grabbed at this."

Burgmeier was the driving force behind Jefferson County's resolution against marriage equality, and Democrats would like not just a win, but a big enough win to keep him out of a 2010 Senate bid. The party is bringing in its biggest guns for Hanson, with Senator Tom Harkin headlining an August 1 event. A headquarters is open (Republicans were still searching for space a couple days ago) and mailings are already landing.

"This is a test election for the Republicans," said Iowa Democratic Party vice chair Sue Dvorsky.

"It's going to be a close race," said Schmitz about the Sept. 1 race, calling Hanson a "terrific candidate" and a resource to he on legislation related to driver's education.

Almost the entire Johnson County legislative delegation stopped by The Mill to support Schmitz, along with Supervisor Sally Stutsman, Recorder Kim Painter, County Attorney Janet Lyness and Mayor Regenia Bailey.

Talk naturally turned to the upcoming school and city elections. Tidbit: city councilor Connie Champion, who was presumed to be stepping down, has been sighted passing petitions at the Johnson County fair...

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