Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Labor's Contested Primary Picks

This isn't writing as much as it's reformatting. Blog For Iowa has a good overview of labor's endorsements for the June 3 primary across the state. It's organized by central labor body and includes courthouse races (like Iowa City Federation of Labor's support for Janelle Rettig and Janet Lyness). I've reshuffled it by district, tossed out the unopposed folks, and focused in on just the contested races.

THE legislative primary this cycle is in open Senate District 17 in the heart of Des Moines. Three big forces are backing three different candidates. Labor is sticking with Tony Bisignano, whose candidacy was challenged by Ned Chiodo over Tony's past legal woes. Tom Harkin has endorsed Chiodo, while Attorney General Tom MIller has endorsed his won staffer, Nathan Blake. The survivor is a sure thing in the safe seat Jack Hatch is leaving. There's not a Republican in the race yet.

Ottumwa-based Senate 41 is one of the best bets for a Democratic gain. Labor endorsed county supervisor Steve Siegel former Ottumwa superintendent Tom Rubel. The primary winner is a favorite over GOP incumbent Mark "Chickenman" Chelgren, a ten vote fluke winner in2010.

In Senate District 7 labor endorsed Jim France over Maria Rundquist in Sioux City. The winner takes on Republican freshman Rick Bertrand in a top tier race.

In Ames-based Senate District 23, labor is staying with incumbent Herman Quirmbach over serious challenger Cynthia Oppedal Paschen. Republicans are making an active effort with ex-city council member Jeremy Davis.

Labor is also sticking with the two other incumbents with primaries: Wally Horn in Cedar Rapids district 35 and Joe Seng in district 45 in Davenport. Both their challengers are nuisance Some Dudes who've run prior races as Republicans.

The only contested Democratic senate primary with no labor endorsement is District 39, where Republican Sandy Greiner is retiring. Kevin Kinney, a Clear Creek Amana school board member and deputy sheriff, is a favorite over Washing County party activist Rich Gilmore. Republicans have a three way primary; this is the only seat in the state with primaries in both parties.

The other primary that covers part of Johnson County is in House 73, where labor made no pick between Dennis Boedeker, an ex-Cedar County supervisor, and four time candidate David Johnson.

Labor also took a pass on open House 99, the Pat Murphy set in Dubuque. Contenders there are Abby Finkenauer and Steve Drahozal (a one-time Libertarian candidate here in Johnson County in 2000).

In another seat opened up by the 1st CD race, labor is supporting Timi Brown-Powers  to replace Anesa Kajtazovic. The other two Dems are Andrew Miller and Brad Condon.

Cedar Rapids school board member Gary Anhalt got the union endorsement over Liz Bennett in House 65, the open Tyler Olson seat.

Jay Saxon got the endorsement in open House 97, a swing seat where Republican Steve Olson is retiring. The other Democrat is Carl Boehl of LeClaire.

And two challenger races: Kim Robinson of Clive is endorsed over Nicholas Dreeszen of West Des Moines (for now; heard rumors he district-shopped and not just in Polk) for the right to face Chris Hagenow. And in Boone-centered House 47, now held by Republican Chip Baltimore, Hans Erickson is endorsed over Mark Trueblood.

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