Saturday, June 05, 2010

Conlin tours state before primary

Conlin stops in Iowa City on pre-primary tour


Roxanne Conlin may have a big lead over her Democratic rivals going into Tuesday's primary, but she told Iowa City supporters to "take nothing for granted" Saturday night at David's Place in Downtown Iowa City.

Underscoring the point, local Conlin chairs Sue Dvorsky and Regenia Bailey were at the ready with sign up sheets for phone banking. "In Johnson County it's not a tough call to say 'vote for Roxanne Conlin,'" said Sue Dvorsky.

Conlin didn't mention primary rivals Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen by name in her stump speech, focusing instead on the fall and Chuck Grassley.

"We were able to move the needle 17 points without spending a dime, said Conlin, referencing recent polls that showed her just eight points behind Grassley, far closer than the five term incumbent's past opponents.

Roxanne and Jean

One of those past Grassley opponents was on hand: 1992 candidate Jean Lloyd-Jones, who got a shout-out from the candidate. Also briefly on hand were Dave and Terri Loebsack. The congressman is officially neutral in the primary, but stopped by to say hi on their way to downtown Arts Fest events.

"We make history in Johnson County," bragged Sue Dvorsky. "We made it in 2006 with Dave Loebsack, we did it in 2008 with Barack Obama, and we're going to do it in 2010 with Roxanne."

"We don't have to match (Grassley) dollar for dollar," said Conlin. "He doesn't have all of you, I do, so I'm going to win."

But money is still a concern for Conlin, in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that has opened the door for unlimited corporate campaign spending. "I have probably sued all 500 of the Fortune 500," said Conlin, "They do not like me. Microsoft could buy all of the TV stations in Iowa."

Conlin says the solution is public finance. Citing prescription drug costs, she sais "we could finance every campaign from dog catcher to president of the united states with the excess profits drug companies are making."

But this week's headlines have focused less on campaign finance and more on the personal finances of Conlin and her husband James. The candidate spent some time on the details of tax credits she and her husband have received for building low income housing. It's easier to cram a dollar amount into a headline than to understand the process, and Conlin noted that both of Iowa's senators, including Grassley, supported the tax credit program when it passed in 1986.

"No banks would finance law income housing without these credits," said Conlin. "We usually own, like, point zero one of the partnership."

"I could not be prouder of what my husband has done for moderate and low income families," said Conlin. "It has been his heartfelt mission that families have decent and safe housing."

Post-event I had a short one on one interview with Conlin; check back tomorrow for that as part of a new All Roxanne All The Time format.

The senate primary is the only major contest on the Democratic side Tuesday, save for a contest in the 5th congressional district and scattered legislative and local fights.

Class Act, Pal

One side note:

I'm all for freedom of speech in the public right of way, and when Arts Fest falls the weekend before the primary, visibility is important. But I hate the petty, in your face game of sign war. The owner of David's Place said the driver of this Steve Rathje truck had waited "a long time" until the parking space in front of the Conlin event opened up, and you can't tell me the deliberate wait was just because of the shortage of downtown parking.

So congrats, Steve, you got in Roxanne's face and got in the picture, though whoever thought up this dick move of the day hadn't considered the placement of the word "Nemesis."

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