Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Liz Mathis Likely Democrat in Senate 18

Liz Mathis Likely Democrat in Senate 18
Oleson squeezed out?

This started percolating through the rumor mill yesterday, now Todd Dorman has it public:
Democrats are trying to stay mum, although it appears that former KCRG and KWWL anchor Liz Mathis will be their candidate. No announcement has been made, and the formal nominating convention is Saturday.
UPDATE: Official announcement from Iowa Democratic Party came at 1:35.
“People all over are trying to get back on their feet from this lingering national recession,” Mathis said. “They need jobs and they need stability for their families, and all we’re getting from our government is gridlock. It must change. I pledge to work with Democratic and Republican legislators and Governor Branstad to make a difference for the people in District 18.”

Mathis added: “We need new policies that will help our Main Street businesses thrive, bring in business and spur job growth in our local communities. My husband and I have experienced that first-hand in our family’s business. That’s one of many reasons I’m running. We also need to stop short-changing our educational system and we need to address support of our area’s most vulnerable children who are affected by poverty and neglect. I am passionate about those things.”
Mathis left channel 9 in mid-2007 and is now listed as Chief Information Officer at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids. She lives in Robins, which is both in the old Senate District 18 where the November 8 special will be held and in the new Senate District 34 where next year's election will be held.

Following Dorman's post, the IDP officially announced the convention for Wednesday the 28th in Hiawatha, "following the Linn County Democrats’ Central Committee meeting." Eligible convention voters are "precinct committee people from Senate District 18 who were duly elected at the 2010 precinct caucuses or the precinct committee persons who have been duly elected by the Linn county Democratic central committee since the 2010 precinct caucuses." That includes people duly elected to vacancies at the central committee meeting immediately before the convention.

There's still no word from Mathis herself, but the rumors seem reliable. That would give Democrats a candidate with near-100% name ID in a swing district. It's hard not to draw the parallel with Tami Wiencek, the former KWWL anchor who was probably the only Republican to knock off a Democratic incumbent in 2006, in a solidly Democratic Waterloo House seat. So that can get you in the door, but not necessarily keep you there, as Weincek lost in `08.

Also of interest in Dorman's post:
When word of Dandekar’s departure broke, one of the first names I thought of was Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson, who represents much of Senate 18, including Marion, and was chief of staff to Mary Lundby, who represented Marion in the state senate for 14 years.

But Oleson said he was contacted by several Republican leaders/activists in Des Moines who informed him in no uncertain terms that his candidacy would not be warmly received. Do not run was the message. He didn’t name names.

“They said I wouldn’t get past the convention because of my support for (Project Labor Agreements) and the marriage amendment issue,” Oleson said. “They want someone without a record.”
The denials and accusations are already popping up in the comments. Dorman, a district resident, has been the go-to guy in the straight press so far this race.

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