Farm Bureau's Notable Omissions
The Farm Bureau Federation, one of the bulwarks of Iowa Republican politics, is out with its "Friend of Agriculture" endorsement list (pdf) . As usual, it leans heavily to the GOP, but there are a couple of Democrats and a few noteworthy omissions.
Nut surprisingly, Farm Bureau goes with the top of the ticket Republicans: Terry Branstad, Chuck Grassley and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. But in the US House races, they only endorse the two GOP incumbents, Steve King and Tom Latham, and make no endorsements in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts.
In the State Senate, there are just 11 endorsements in the 25 races, and some of those are for unopposed Republicans. The gaps appear to mostly be in urban areas. Looking at the top tier races, it seems like the real priorities are Bill Dix, Sandy Greiner and Kent Sorensen.
Two Democrats get the nod: Rich Olive and Dennis Black. The Olive endorsement is the most interestings, in that he was also endorsed by the Association of Business and Industry (ABI), another GOP leaning PAC. Clearly the GOP is giving Olive (a 62 vote winner to pick up Stu Iverson's seat in 2006) a de facto bye.
Farm Bureau gives 51 endorsements in the 100 House races, and again a lot of those go to unopposed rural Republicans. They're less friendly to the "six pack" of conservative Democrats than ABI, who backed all five of the six who ran for re-election, was. Farm Bureau's only House Democratic endorsement went to Altoona's Geri Huser. They endorse Jarad Klein over Larry Marek in House 89 (Marek got the ABI nod). But they make no endorsement in the Stu Iverson-McKinley Bailey race, and combined with ABI's Bailey support, that's a good sign that Iverson's comeback is a low priority.
Farm Bureau also makes no endorsements in open House Democratic districts 7 (Marcy Frevert) and 8 (Dolores Mertz), or in Guy Vander Linden's challenge to Oskaloosa Democrat Eric Palmer.
ABI only supported one Republican challenger to a Democratic incumbent, and that was Dan Rasmussen in his comeback attempt against freshman Gene Ficken. Farm Bureau is playing more offense, including: Lee Hein in House 31 challenging Ray Zirkelbach, late-starter Bob Hager against freshman Decorah Democrat John Beard in House 16, and special election loser Stephen Burgmaier against Fairfield's Curt Hanson in House 90.