Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week In Review: January 19-26

Most confusing word par in English language: biennial and biannual. I dropped off the grid the last couple days for the whichever one means every two years post-caucus data entry marathon. With the basics done and just proofreading and distribution ahead for the day, I can look back at the caucus and the other news of the week.

I'm showing a pre-proofreading signed-in attendance count of 277 and our nine locations, comparable to the other large counties which mostly had theirs at one site.  No reports of Democratic preference groups.

Branstad-brand Republicans are claiming victory but that fight's not over yet; they have to get their bodies out to the next layers of convention all the way up to state, and there are lots of other agendas to compete with: the 3rd District candidates, the already announced Senate candidates, and the possible Senate ambitions of one Bob Vander Plaats...

Looking ahead to the next caucus, Republicans are pushing the end of the 2016 nomination calendar earlier, with a July or even June convention and the beginning of the calendar later, with the IA-NH-NV-SC quartet of Official Early States scheduled for February. My pessimistic bet is Iowa gets initially scheduled for Monday, February 8, the date we had in 1988, but eventually get pushed back ad far as possible within calendar 2016.

New Year's Day is a Friday and probably out. Democrats got Jewish Sabbath blowback on the very idea of a Saturday, and Republicans would catch it even worse about a Sunday. That would put us on Monday, January 4, at the end of a long holiday weekend, and while college students are still gone but within the year.. Have I mentioned how fun it was caucusing with the UDems Tuesday, on campus for the first time in 10 years because we finally got a late enough date?

Not that any of it will matter much if Ready For Hillary has its way. Did anyone, press or public, ask the Ready For Hillary folks if Clinton has softened her attitudes toward caucuses in general and the state of Iowa in particular? As for Hillary Herself, she's going to Florida February 26 but no word on an Iowa appearance.

Ed Fallon played against type Monday, endorsing Jack Hatch and stepping on the announcement of outsider Jonathan Narcisse. Also, another Some Dude emerged on caucus night:  Zachary Newbrough of West Des Moines, whose web site seems to have stopped working during the week. Not entirely clear if he's a Democrat or an independent who tried to glom onto signatures at the caucus.

At the League of Women Voters forum yesterday. most of the Johnson County delegation was calling for 6% allowable growth for school districts. Bob Dvorsky said the figure was a rare instance where the ISEA, school boards and administrators all agree. Sally Stutsman said "I think there's support" for a gas tax increase " but not much leadership from the governor." But my favorite moment came from the guy who asked about medical marijuana with apparently no clue that he was asking the bill's lead sponsor, Joe Bolkcom.

A couple interesting legislative primaries: before his fall from grace, Shane Vander Hart noted that Jon Van Wyk is challenging freshman Rep. Greg Heartsill in House 28.

In Ames, Democrat Cynthia Oppedahl Paschen is challenging Senator Herman Quirmbach. History lesson: Like Iowa City, Ames has a tradition of electing female legislators, and some folks were  miffed when Quirmbach narrowly beat Karen Bolluyt in the 2002 primary on the retirement of Johnie Hammond (additional history: Johnie is female). Add to that the committee confrontation between Quirmbach and Republican Amy Sinclair. “I usually can appreciate the way Herman votes," says Paschen, "but sometimes he’s not the easiest to get along with.”

A couple quick cribs from TIR's Kevin Hall:
State Rep. Tom Shaw (R-Laurens) decided not to run for another term. … Former Republican State Senator Mike Sexton announced plans to run for the seat.

The four-way GOP primary in Senate District 15 became a three-way primary. Zach Nunn has decided to run for House District 30 instead, challenging freshman Dem Joe Riding.
In a good chance for a Democratic pick-up, union guy Charlie McConkey is running in open House 15, the more Democratic of the two Council Bluffs seats. Republican Mark Brandenburg is stepping down and at last report was going to run for county recorder. (Also running for recorder, in Dubuque: Pat Murphy's son.) On the flip side, up in the northeast corner, Republican Darrel Branhagen will be challenging incumbent Roger Thomas in House 55. That's one of the tougher Democratic-held seats.

The long-range most important flap of the week is Mike Huckabee's. Full quote:

"Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women," Huckabee told his audience at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting in downtown Washington. "That's not a war on them. It's a war for them. And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it."
Most of this is just frame for It's the subtext: A large, perhaps nomination-controlling, share of the Republican base addresses the whole cluster of reproductive rights issues with a mindset of "control your libido": unmarried women shouldn't be having sex outside marriage anyway so it's their own fault. Much as a majority of the Republican base also thinks People Are Poor Because They Don't Work Hard Enough.

Hey, non-partisan do-gooders who think Party=Bad and we should all just get along and compromise: This isn't just something where you can split the difference in dollar amounts and meet halfway. How does one compromise completely incompatible world views?
Cynthia Oppedal Paschen
Cynthia Oppedal Paschen
Cynthia Oppedal Paschen
Cynthia Oppedal Paschen
Cynthia Oppedal Paschen
Cynthia Oppedal Paschen

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