Happy New Year to all my readers and happy blogiversary to me as the Deeth Blog today marks eight years on the air. As is my tradition, we close 2010 with a look back at the highlights and lowlights of the year.
January was dominated by the special supervisor election, as Janelle Rettig rolled to a 20 point win. Almost made up for the bad news out of Massachusetts that same day. Republican Lori Cardella swears she'll be back in November.
Down at Harvat Hall, Matt Hayek took over from Regenia Bailey as mayor of the "Third Gayest City In America."
My Bad Prediction of the month: "I still say Vander Plaats over Branstad and Culver over Vander Plaats."
"Game Change" dominates political gossip, with embarrassing Edwards anecdotes and Hillary's distaste for the caucuses. And I make fun of no-chance congressional candidate Joe Walsh getting sued by the Real Joe Walsh... oops.
At home, we add a new furry family member and I go straight from no glasses at all to TRIfocals.
Illinois sees the year's wackiest governor primary: a near dead heat on the Democratic side and the top five Republicans all bunched up within five points of each other.
In our own governor's race, Chris Rants bails as the one-time eight candidate Republican field shrinks to three. Ed Fallon says: "If Democrats are serious about holding the Governor’s office, we’ve got a month to find a candidate to beat Culver in the primary," and starts a Regenia Bailey rumor. Jonathan Narcisse swears to God he has enough signatures as I make My Bad Prediction of the month: "Culver toast? Ask Governor Lightfoot."
As the four-way 2nd CD GOP primary heats up, I start imagining that Roxanne Conlin is going viral. In Indiana, it's bye Bayh.
Who Dat thinking they can win dat Super Bowl? Even the football preferences split out on partisan lines, as half of the Who stink up the place at halftime.
Health care reform, a big f%$#in' deal, finally passes and President Obama takes a victory lap right here in Iowa City.
My obsessive compulsion with filing deadlines gives me my highest traffic month ever, as every candidate in the state Googles themselves and lands on my site. Local Republicans, including swears-she's-gonna-run-again Lori Cardella, take a pass on the courthouse offices. With Rettig winning so big in January, there's no Democratic primary challengers either. The cycle's WTF local race is the short-lived, labor-backed primary challenge to Dave Jacoby.
The year's big local political story gets rolling, as the Iowa City council passes the 21 bars ordinance, and the petition to overturn same makes the rounds.
Senate race fundraising: "Conlin raised $879,615 in the quarter ending March 31, more than even Chuck Grassley, even when you take away the quarter million she kicked in herself. That's 78 times what Fiegen raised and a whopping 455 times Krause's total." Grassley, meanwhile, earns a Worst... Person... In The Woooorld!.
The Prez comes to Iowa again for a swing across the southern tier of Dave Loebsack's turf, but bails on a private party in Des Moines after word leaks.
The Smallest Farm starts in earnest, but a soggy summer will lead to a crappy crop.
It's a BFD in Cedar Rapids as VP Joe comes to town for Chet Culver.
On the GOP side, BVP doesn't have the money for an brutal air war with Branstad, and nice guy Rod Roberts was depending on that. Branstad pivots to Culver before the primary even happens. Chet, for his part, steps on his own roll-out with a trooper chase and a lost briefing book.
It's hard to tell who's nastier in the primary fight: 2nd District Republicans or Democratic Senate candidate Tom Fiegen: "I understand some of Fiegen and Krause's frustration. They step up, then get stepped on. But while Krause has handled it with some grace, Fiegen has become embittered, lashing out in ways that can only hurt Democrats in the fall."
In Utah, the very conservative Bob Bennett is not conservative enough and is Tea Partied out of renomination. And in Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter's party change fails in the primary.
As I do every five years, I obsess about the British election, which gets even more interesting after it's over: "The hung parliament appears to be a UK politics junkie's wet dream, just like old American political journalists still fantasize about brokered conventions."
The primary action is on the Republican side as Terry Branstad wins a closer than expected contest and MMM gets a solid win for the 2nd CD nomination. Some supporters of the defeated candidates grumble about Democrats crossing over, but the numbers don't bear it out.
Vander Plaats doesn't get that losers don't make demands, and makes a play on the GOP convention floor for the lieutenant governor nomination. He comes far closer than he should have, but falls short of Kim Reynolds, then goes home and pouts for a month or so.
On my side of the ballot, my endorsement is not the kiss of death as Roxanne romps to a 77% primary win. Big Plant Sale fails to win state auditor on a write-in, but Jon Murphy emerges soon after the primary.
The Short Lived Labor Primary Challenge to Dave Jacoby briefly returns from the dead, but Jacoby stomps with 88%. But the biggest winner of all was Anesa Kajtazovic in Waterloo, who has to have set some kind of all-time record for biggest margin over an incumbent with a 91% win over the dropped out, indicted, but still technically in office Kerry Burt.
In Des Moines, Coralville's own Sue Dvorsky takes over the reins of the Iowa Democratic Party. And in DC, the Senate loses its longest serving member ever, West Virginia's Robert Byrd.
For a brief shining moment this races looks like it will show up on the national radar, as Research 2000 shows Conlin within eight points of Grassley and handicappers start moving the race from Safe R to Likely R. Republicans are nervous enough to start fixating on Conlin's figure. But by month's end, Research 2000's methodology is debunked and discredited, and it's all downhill from there.
Iowa City's neo-prohibitionists choose the very funny committee name 21 Makes Sense and sign up heavy hitters from all aides of the aisle.
Lori Cardella quietly closes her campaign committee.
After their divisive primary and convention, Republicans brag that their registration numbers are up: "That's like saying your store's business is up because so many people are coming through the front door, but half of them are lined up at the complaint counter."
Legislative triage season begins in earnest with financial reports and endorsements.
Linux Monday finally gets a practical application, as I load all my excess machines with Ubuntu and set them up down at Democratic HQ, which is open waaaay more hours than Republican HQ.
Bob Vander Plaats teases about the independent run then, in the end, decides to run the No on Gay campaign instead. Meanwhile in California, Proposition 8 gets overturned.
We see the launch of the "Iowa Party," but their two candidates don't get along.
Republicans win the battle of the dinner speakers, recruiting Mama Grizzly herself while Dems settle for... Ed Rendell?
Multiple forwards of the best Onion ever overflowed my in box:
Gore, who was prohibited from hearing music with graphic sex, violence, or drug references since Tipper founded the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985, confirmed yesterday that her crusade was "total bullcrap." In addition, Gore said that listening to the forbidden W.A.S.P. albums over and over again had not turned him into a satanic dope fiend as his wife and her associates had warned...I harvest Linux powered sun dried tomatoes. But most of the rest of the Smallest Farm flops as the bean fence collapses and the critters get my corn.. I finally get photographic evidence of the elusive gopher, who turns out to be a woodchuck:
"Young people much less enthusiastic about voting in the midterm elections"? Not a problem in Iowa City! Satellite sites are stampeded by students ready to Fight For Their Right To Party. Over 1300 at Burge for an all time record. As for me, I vote on day one.
The Iowa Republican: "This Labor Day, Celebrate Iowa's Right to Work Law." Isn't that like honoring deadbeat dads on Father's Day?
Palin calls the Register's Tom Beaumont an idiot, but at least she doesn't call him limp and impotent.
Stalkergate hits the papers and knocks the wheels off the Brad Zaun campaign.
There's no school board election for the first time ever.
Endorsement and debate season; Clash wins most debates on hard hitting platform of Know Your Rights All Three Of Them.
The Rent Is Too Damn High.
Big time Democrats eschew the traditional Election Day photo op to set the example of voting early. But in Iowa City. the frantic pace of campus voting slows down in weeks three and four.
In a desperate search for hope, I make a whole bunch of brave faced predictions, capped off with the Ghostbusters: "There's definitely a very slim chance we'll survive."
Well that pretty much sucked. Marsha Ternus, David Baker and Michael Streit deserve their own chapter in some future Profiles In Courage. And it is a goddamn tragedy that Mike Mauro lost. But Roxanne wins... Johnson County.
Iowa City to Students: Drop Dead.
By month's end we've moved on to Wikileaks.
I never know what to do with December in these year enders; the events haven't had tome to reveal their long term significance. One thing we know WILL have long term significance: We officially lose our fifth seat in Congress. Redistricting will be a big Deeth Blog story to look forward to in 2011.
Terry Branstad gives nearly every defeated Republican - and even one defeated Democrat - a job, with the very notable exception of Bob Vander Plaats. He also calls Mike Gronstal a dictator, and Gronstal has a perfect comeback.
I stick my neck out with a phrase will haunt me or confirm my brilliance: "Palin wins the nomination, Obama wins 45 2/3 states."
My year ends with the Deeth Blog's highest traffic yet. Measuring the biggest stories by number of readers: March, when I was obsessing over legislative filing, is my biggest month ever, topping the flood month of June 2008. Seems every candidate in the state googled themselves and found my site. The week of the general election is my busiest of the year, but my highest traffic day is January 19, date of Janelle Rettig's special election.
And as always, my New Year's resolution is to do a better job of spell checking before I post.