Presidential politics aside, one contest unites Iowa Democrats: the battle to keep control of the Iowa Senate. And a senior senator is singling out one of his junior colleagues as a critical close to home race for Johnson County Democrats.Who will persuade who? pic.twitter.com/ShRxU5jsYy— John Deeth (@johndeeth) September 11, 2015
Bob Dvorsky held his annual local fundraising picnic in Coralville tonight, at his traditional Morrison Park location, and brought along fellow Senator Chris Brase of Muscatine as the featured speaker.
It's actually District 46 - even District of the Day guy doesn't remember everything while live tweeting. But I got the story right: In 2012 Shawn Hamerlinck beat Jim Hahn in the only two-incumbent Senate primary of the redistricting cycle, but then lost to Brase, a popular firefighter and paramedic.On map day in 2011 Senate 44 had TWO Republican incumbents, but elected Chris Brase fall 2012 pic.twitter.com/l47T93eMpC— John Deeth (@johndeeth) September 11, 2015
Muscatine County has long been a Republican stronghold - don't I know it - but has trended bluer in recent presidential cycles. Democrats picked up a state House seat in 2004, but lost it in off year 2010. Fortunately for Brase, his seat is on the higher turnout presidential cycle.
Brase says he's focused on the issues rather than on his 2016 opponent, former state representative Mark Lofgren of Muscatine. Lofgren gave up his house seat in 2014, losing the Republican primary in the 2nd Congressional District to Mariannette Miller-Meeks (who went on to a third loss to Dave Loebsack).
Brase said if he had though Governor Branstad was going to have vetoed the education funding compromise, "I would never have voted for that bill. We'd still be there."
Sue Dvorsky, the former Iowa Democratic Party chair back in the role of legislative spouse tonight, handled the Brase introduction. She's currently hard at work on the Hillary Clinton campaign, but set presidential politics aside, saying that from February 2 - the day after the caucuses - till election day November 8, much of the campaign focus will be on the state senate. Sue Dvorsky cited Brase, Mary Jo Wilhelm and Liz Mathis as top Republican targets.
Monica Vernon, who the Dvorskys have endorsed in the 1st Congressional District, made an out of district visit and offered some brief thanks.
The winner of last year's key Senate race, Kevin Kinney, was on hand, along with Coralville's House member Dave Jacoby. Other local politicos on hand were Coralville council members Mitch Gross and Jill Dodds (both up for re-election this year) and newly elected school board member Lori Roetlin. From the courthouse: County Attorney Janet Lyness, Auditor Travis Weipert, and supervisors Mike Carberry and Rod Sullivan.Lots of local pols at Bob Dvorsky picnic pic.twitter.com/3r92B4IsY1— John Deeth (@johndeeth) September 11, 2015
And ducks. Lots and lots of ducks.