Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No Republicans File for Johnson County Offices

No Republicans File for Johnson County Offices
Democratic Incumbents Unopposed In Primary

In somewhat of a surprise, no Republicans filed for any of the five Johnson County courthouse offices before today's deadline. That in itself isn't unusual, but this year it looked like the Republicans would field candidates for supervisor.

Lori Cardella, the GOP nominee for supervisor in the January special election, publicly said immediately after her loss to Janelle Rettig that she intended to run again. Even before the appointment-petition-special election chain of events that began with Larry Meyers' death last September, Chad Murphy had announced on the GOP side. And there were also rumors that Edgar Thornton, who applied for the Board vacancy in October, was going to run.

Republicans can still nominate county candidates by convention through August 25; that's also the deadline for independent and third party candidates. (Same for state and federal stuff only the deadline's August 13.)

On the Democratic side the five incumbents - county attorney Janet Lyness, recorder Kim Painter, treasurer Tom Kriz, and supervisors Rettig and Sally Stutsman - will all run unopposed in the June 8 primary (and, so far, in November). This sets up an unusual Johnson County primary where Democrats have only federal and state offices to consider, which hasn't happened in at least 40 years (2002 had no Democratic contests at all).

The only county-wide Democratic contest is the U.S. Senate primary between Roxanne Conlin, Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause. House District 30 also has the primary between incumbent Dave Jacoby and challenger John Stellmach.

Local Republicans have the congressional race, several statewide contests including governor, and legislative primaries in the House 89/Senate 45 southern end of the county.

Things To Watch Today

Things To Watch Today

It's a day of deadlines today. Federal race watchers see today as the end of quarter campaign finance deadline. By coincidence, fans of courthouse politics have a county filing deadline the same day.

We won't see actual reports for a few days, but expect candidates who've had good quarters to toot their own horns. Look for full inboxes before midnight, as candidates make thir last pictches... followed by flying press releases from the candidates with good quarters. As for the dog that didn't bark, listen for the sounds of silence from candidates with bad news.

In the US Senate race, does Roxanne Conlin out-raise her rivals by 100 to 1 or by 1000 to one? More importantly, how does her fundraising compare to Grassley's?

Also look at those big-field Republican primaries in CDs 1, 2, and 3. It's too late to actually quit, but seven candidates in the 3rd CD is too much for a normal voter, or even an abnormal blogger, to keep track of. At some point anyone who can't raise the money is going to slip into insignificance.

On the local level, look for last-second surprises of commission and/or omission. Anyone who's expected to run not turned in the paperwork yet? (Not here: Johnson County is five for five on Democratic incumbents filed.) Any rumors of petitions floating around? And, since that deadline's tomorrow too, will anyone accidentally file for office thinking they were in the property tax line?

Romney Thanks Obama For Book Plug

Mitt Knows: No Such Thing As Bad PR

The Prez has the Mitt on the Mind these days, with that shout-out to Romney on health care. And Romney gives Obama credit where it's due, too, telling Politico: "I want to express my appreciation to President Obama for picking up my book, getting it on the front page of The New York Times."

At least Romney actually sells books and doesn't buy them in bulk Palin style.

Somehow I don't think that an Obama endorsement (literary or health care) helps Romney much in the 2012 caucuses, any more than I think Mitt was here to sell books. He doesn't exactly need the money, folks.

Romney dropped the name "Branstad" while he was here. At what point, if any, does this governor primary flare up into a full-blown Huckabee vs. Mitt proxy war? (The Fox News show is just Huck's holding pattern; he'll be back.) We may have crossed that line already; Vander Plaats is already bringing in Chuck "When he does pushups he's not lifting his body, he's lowering the Earth" Norris.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Marriage Equality and Convention Equality

Marriage Equality, Convention Equality

There is a press conf. and gathering to celebrate one year of Iowa marriage equality. (Miss Etiquette says that's the paper anniversary) 10 AM at the Johnson County Administration Building, hosted by One Iowa.

Todd Dorman passes along some stats:
1,783 — Number of same-gender licenses issued by Iowa counties
17,600 — Total marriage licenses issued.
901 — License issue where no gender was specified.
14,916 — Opposite-gender licenses issued.
That's in the ballpark of the 10 percent one would anticipate based just on percentage of the population. Maybe a few more because of out of state tourism (no stats listed on that) and because of the pent-up demand of lifelong partners finally being able to make it official in the eyes of the state.

In a major disappointment, the People's Republic is only tied for second in the number of same sex licenses with 208. We're tied with border county Scott and behind Polk (410). 82 counties have married zero same sex couples.

Meanwhile, on the same fromt, Iowa's News Liter is snarkily concerned that the scheduled appearance of Boys Like Girls may be a problem in the post-Varnum v. Brien era. I think if they bill themselves as Boys Like Girls But Not That Way we're OK.

After a spirited competition state Republicans have chosen to have their convention in, big shocker, Des Moines. desmoinesdem thinks this was nothing against Sioux City, but a practical move:
With four Republicans running for Congress in Iowa's second district and seven running in Iowa's third district, there is a good chance that no candidate will win 35 percent of the vote in the June 8 primary. In that case, the Republican nominees in IA-02 and/or IA-03 would be selected by a district convention, which would probably convene during the GOP state convention in late June. Republican commentators had already expressed concern that turnout from central and eastern Iowa would suffer if delegates were asked to drive four to seven hours each way to the convention location.
This reminds me of some things I've always wondered about. Republicans meet twice at the congressional district level, and call their meeting IN the district both a "caucus" and a "convention." The district them meets again at the state convention, and calls that a "convention.

But the one that always gets me is they call their number two person a "co-chair," where we Dems call ours a "vice-chair." To me "co" implies equality, so I guess I'm in need of enlightenment.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Linux Monday

Linux Monday: Hardware Edition

Thin Linux Monday, we'll look at some extreme hardware. You'd crash and burn fast trying to load Windows 7 on these, but with the right Linux distribution you'd be up and flying.

here's a desktop PC in a two inch cube. The specs are limited - 300 mhz CPU, 64MB of RAM and a flash card slot for bring your own storage - but if your purposes aor space are also limited, it might be the thing.

Here's a $99 device that can be hacked into a pretty functional machine to fit the less than a netbook, more that a smart phone niche you didn't know existed.

And for the ultra-purists who want to be TOTALLY open source, the Loongson laptop is opes source right down to the BIOS. This is ultra-purist Richard Stallman's setup:
I would ideally like to have a machine with the speed and memory of a laptop, and the display size of a laptop too, combined with the same freedom that I have now on the Yeelong.

Until I can have them both, freedom is my priority.
Sticking to your principles, a good thing. Computing like it's 1987, that's a challenge.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I Respectfully Disagree

I Respectfully Disagree

Lindsey Graham is going to get in trouble for saying this, but this is how Americans used to disagree:
“President Obama is a fine man. He’s a good father. He’s a good role model. He’s an American liberal. The reason I don’t say he’s a socialist, because most people associate that with being un-American. He is an American just as much as anybody else. The idea that he’s very liberal I think is pretty clear to the American people. He ran as a centrist, he’s governing from the left ditch, that’s his big problem. And we don’t need to call each other names.”
Speaking as one who's actually in the left ditch, I believe Graham is wrong on that point--but he's actually arguing to the point and actually on the same planet I am.

What's sad is that Graham's mild tone is so noteworthy, and that not only will he be attacked for offering modest praise, but he felt the need to even say the president is "a fine man" and "a good father" despite their policy differences.

Graham is living in a party where, a recent Harris poll notes, "Two-thirds think he's a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say he may be the Antichrist."

So, what's the source of all this hate? "The Rage Is Not About Health Care," writes Frank Rich at the NYT:
The health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.
So a tip of the beret to the very conservative Senator Graham, literally the successor to Strom Thurmond, for making the differences about issues. His friend John McCain used to be like that, too, ten or so years ago.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Peace Agreement in Feline Territorial Dispute

Feline Integration

Regular readers recall that a new kitty joined the Multiple Last Name family in late January. There has been a little scuffling, but as you see the process of feline integration, black and yellow and gray, is now complete.


"Im on ur cowch, cuddlin wif noo friendz," said newcomer Shadow (the black fuzzy one). "Now all I needz iz cheezburger."

The senior felines, father Dylan (yellow) and son Xavier (gray) eagerly awaiting the first catnip harvest from the Smallest Farm.

More cat pictures here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Painter, Kriz File for Re-Election

Painter, Kriz File

No surprise - they had the papers out at the caucuses - but two more Johnson County incumbents, Recorder Kim Painter and Treasurer Tom Kriz, both filed for re-election Friday afternoon.

That completes the set of five incumbents filed for re-election, as Painter and Kriz join Supervisors Janelle Rettig and Sally Stutsman and County Attorney Janet Lyness. Democratic primary challengers, and of course, Republicans, have until next Wednesday to qualify for the June 8 ballot.

Painter and Kriz both won spirited primaries in 1998; my favorite story that makes the "Johnson County Democratic primaries are about local offices" point is that 1,000 more people voted for recorder than for governor in the June 1998 primary. (Could this cycle be the exception to that rule?)

Painter also won a contested general election in 1998, but Kriz was unopposed that fall, and neither has seen an opponent since.

Non-Obama Clips

The Ball's Over For Us Pumpkins

Here's our non-Obama news:

  • I mentioned this in the liveblog but: County Attorney Janet Lyness told me she filed for a second term yesterday right before heading up to see The Prez. I promised I'd mention it but that it wasn't going to be our top story. Lyness won a spirited primary by a wide margin four years ago when Pat White finally stepped down (and has won over a lot of us who weren't White's fans). No challengers on the horizon so far; folks have till next Wednesday's deadline.

  • Speaking of that deadline, the Democratic fundraiser we were planning for that date is getting rescheduled, as it landed right on top of the annual United Way kickoff. Hoping to have new date/venue details in time for next week's central committee meeting.

  • Local Republicans hoping to let off steam after yesterday's Obamarama can go to their party's spaghetti supper tonight: "Food service begins at 5:00 PM and candidate speeches throughout the evening. Montgomery Hall at the Johnson County Fairgrounds." I really am hoping to cover some more GOP events this primary season, but I spent all day yesterday on what is, Register relationship aside, basically a hobby, and we have Cub Scouts tonight.

  • The Reg's Kathie Obradovich (who I finally met in person yesterday) had a good look yesterday at which of those 125 legislative races are the hottest. It ends with:
    (Republicans are) closely watching the Democratic primary in District 21, the Waterloo seat held by Kerry Burt, who pleaded guilty to drunken driving last year. If Burt is the nominee, they see an opportunity for one of two Republicans vying for the seat.

    My emphasis added. I heard yesterday that primary challenger Anesa Kajtazovic was the buzz of the Black Hawk convention last weekend.
  • Obama Pictures

    Obama Pictures


    Even though I was way in back of the TV crews -- no complaints, I was in the house -- I got a few presentable pics of the Prez. Here's the set.

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Much Delayed Followup

    Much Delayed Followup: Culver, Judge, and Celebrating

    It's about eight hours or so now that I've been off the news cycle grid, most of that spent celebrating the day with the locals and getting off the record stories that only make sense if you know the people involved. Meanwhile, they're asking me "what was the speech like? I didn't see it, I was doing" (some important behind the scenes thing)

    I heard reports of crowds "Homecoming parade deep" downtown watching the motorcade drive by, and also crowds (spontaneous as in not planned by the organizers) several people deep on 1st Avenue in Coralville holding handmade signs along the lines of "Thank you Mr. President," just to see the cars go by, a scene that drove some of the most seasoned political veterans to emotional tears. "We take it for granted how much access we have," said one politico to a table full of others.

    I did hear about the health fix-its getting passed and about the Prairie Lights stop (that was in the speech for a reason, it seems) There's no such thing as an "unplanned" stop: I remember the drill from a long-ago Dan Quayle visit and a Perkins stop with Jim Nussle. The Secret Service language has not changed a syllable from 1991 to today: "There's going to be a deviation from the schedule." Meaning: this is scheduled and we're just now telling you. "That helicopter was hovering over Prairie Lights steadier than I can hold my hand" (OK, that was after a couple drinks).

    Said drinks were at The Mill, another great Iowa City institution. I promised to tell you about the governor and so I will: his tone was rally the troops. "He wouldn't have gotten it (health care) done without the people in this room," said Culver. "I am proud the President started it here and brought it back home today."

    As for the Republicans, "the other side of the aisle wants to take this right away. We believe Yes We Can; they say no we can't. We need to fight to keep it in place," said Culver, moving to full campaign mode. Johnson County will be key to that; I've been talking all day about Obama reaching 70% here, but Culver polled 68% in 2006.

    The governor worked the room as Lt Guv Patty Judge spoke. "It should be a basic human right to get your body taken care of," said Judge, reaching back to her own time as a nurse. "I am so proud today to be a Democrat and know that my children and neighbors and friends" (I didn't get every exact kind of relative) "Can go to the doctor when they need to and no one can stop them because they can't pay."

    "Celebrate today, but be ready to work tomorrow. We've got Democrats to elect up and down the ticket," said Judge.

    Culver, Judge and crew were out the door by 3:30, back to Des Moines to deal with the last days of the legislative session. The Organizing For America crew continued the program but a handful of state politcos were still on hand: Tom Miller, Mike Fitzgerald and Senate candidate Bob Krause.

    Obama Iowa City Liveblog March 25 2010

    Obama Liveblog

    The liveblogger is wearing the beret on behalf of the Register today.

    10:53 and hello from the UIowa Fieldhouse where I'm deep in press row awaiting the President.

    The advance team said No Wifi for this event but I've geeked my way through using my Blackberry. Unfortunately this means I'm having to use Windows (most of you don't care but my regular readers know that I'm a proud Linux geek and having to use Windows irks me to no end.)

    If you're from out of state and reading this, the first thing you need to know is that Iowa City is the most Obama friendly place in Iowa. This paper's longtime writer David Yepsen dubbed us "the People's Republic of Johnson County," and we locals adopted the nickname as a point of pride. Johnson County was over 50% for Obama on caucus night 2008, and a whopping 70% Obama that November; both were tops in the state. So... the President is on friendly turf.

    11:09 and at least some of the legislators have the day off. Senators Bob Dvorsky and Jack Hatch are on hand as a group of Honorables are ushered in; also, locals: Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek.

    11:18 Local party activist Paul Deaton of Solon walks in wearing stickers for all three Democratic Senate candidates. He says Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen are both here in person, and he's not sure re: Roxanne Conlin. Paul spent about 45 minutes in line, and also saw 5th CD candidate Matt Campbell in line.

    The local and state press (including our own Kathie Obradovich) are in the back of the press row. University PR staff are being very accomodating but warned us not to touch the lunches; those are for the national press.

    The volunteer crew got in just before the local press and for the most part they're familiar faces from local campaigns. "We're packing them in," says county Democratic chair Denns Roseman. Most of the seating is on the floor, standing room. There's a few bleachers along the side and one set behind where the President will speak, presumably saved for the most V.I. of the P's. As a local politics guy I always wonder who those backdrop people are and how they're picked; today I'll see.

    11:49 and Terri Loebsack arrives. "Is Dave gonna make it or does he have to work?" "He's gotta work." The Senate voted on the fix-it bill in the wee hours; now the House is on the case.

    Straight up noon and the backdrop crowd is mostly in place; a front row is empty presumably for the V.V.I.P's. The group looks carefully diverse and looks like Real People as opposed to dignitaries; the only politico I recognize is former Cedar Rapids mayor Kay Halloran. A handful are wearing campaign grea but most are dressed nice-casual.

    A small vocal group of a half-dozen or so young men starts singing and the hubbub simmers down a notch or so.

    More of the local dignitaries are showing up at 12:12 and asking me what a "red ticket" means. I tell them I'm wearing my press hat not my party hat so I have no idea. Eventually they gather into one line so that must be the spot. County Attorney Janey Lyness says she's here straight from filing her nomination papers for a second term: I tell her I'll mention it but it's not our top story. Also on hand is Supervisor Janelle Rettig. The choir keeps singing, a South Africanized version of "Stand By Me."

    Local press row is checking out YouTubes of outdoor protesters lined up on an overpass.

    "I gave away a stack of flyers like this," Senate candidate Tom Fiegen tells me at 12:30, lolding one hand a foot above the other. Fiegen worked the lline then strolled in with a civilian ticket; apparantly Bob Krause didn't even score that much. Fiegen offers his apologies to me for missing our county convention; we were his last stop and we argued less than usual and got done early.

    The backdrop crowd leads a chant but the ambient acoustics in here aren't great. It's not "Fired Up Ready To Go" but Fired Up is in there somewhere. 28 minutes till The Prez is scheduled. Doors are officially closed. Things all of a sudde feel more serious.

    Now we get a full Fired Up Ready To Go and an O-BA-MA. If you're at home you'll likely get a better view that you will here. Other than Red Ticket type exceptions, most seating is first come first served, and there's no Jumbotron style big screen. Ticket requests were over 16,000 so they probably could have filled Carver-Hawkeye (which Bill Clinton did in Feb. 1996).

    Invocation underway at 12:44. Secetary of State Mike Mauro just arrived via press row and worked his way forward. Also seen: local bar owner Mike Porter, leading opponent of Iowa City's current move toward a 21 bar admision age. (He's noticible mostly because he's very tall, so he at least should get a good look at the Prez.)

    Patriotic festivites done at 12:48 as I put the beret back on.

    The Actual Speech has been in the hands of us press for some time now; I'm more of the color commentary guy here so I'll throw in the key lines at the right time. Mostly, I'm trying to let you know what this is LIKE.

    Here come the VVIPs, a mix of real people (the type who get mentioned in speeches) and politicos. Attorney General Tom Miller brings up the back of the line.

    1:01 and Sebelius is doing the intro. Mentions her "beloved Jayhawks" and we get big applause from UNI fans. She gives a shoutout to Culver and Vilsack, who I haven't actually seen.

    Is she stretching for time? A little more UNI vs. KU than we need.

    1:04 and now moving on to actual health care and the naysayers who said this fight was too hard. "You all refused to buy that. You believed."

    Audio is a little echo-ey buy we can understand what she's saying. Crowd is loud but not blow the roof off loud. It feels a little campaign-y but not rally music campaign-y. "Obama kept the promised he made in Iowa almost three years ago. I've never seen a president fight harder for something he believed in."

    A loud booing sound goes up, back here we can't tell what that was, maybe it was the intended response Sebelius was seeking. She drops a Yes We Can and here he is.

    "HELLO IOWA! It feels good to be back in Iowa. I'm gonna take my jacket off in Iowa..." The crowd gets ear-splitting load as Obama walks in. 1:12 as the niceties wrap up, with shoutouts to politicos already named and a couple more (Sally Mason, mayor Matt Hayek, Mike Fitzgerald.) The UNI shoutout was in the prepared text.

    He's a bit hard to hear back in local press row.

    Someone shouts out something inaudible; O chuckles and keeps going. Absolutely no idea.

    "This was the state that first believed..." big applause. "This was the place where change began."

    "On Tuesday, after a year of debate and a century of trying, after so many of you shared your stories and your heartaches and your hopes, that promise was finally fulfilled. And today, health insurance reform is the law of the land."

    A YES WE CAN chant goes up and gets a big smile and a "yes we did, yes we did."

    "Just like the campaign that led us here, this historic change did not begin in Washington. It began in places like Iowa City."

    "You knew this wasn’t about the fortunes of any one party -- this was about the future of our country. And today, because of what you did, that future looks stronger and more hopeful than it has in some time." Big applause line.

    Still some semi-random shouting that we can't make out.

    Obama plays the doom and gloom of the tea partiers for laughs. Relased text:

    Over the last year, there’s been a lot of misinformation spread about health care reform. There has been plenty of fear-mongering and overheated rhetoric. And if you turn on the news, you’ll see that those same folks are still shouting about how the world will end because we passed this bill. This is not an exaggeration. Leaders of the Republican Party have actually been calling the passage of this bill “Armageddon.”

    He played that light, not heavy, and was interrupted by laughs a couple times. Ad libbed: "It wasn't. Turned out to be a pretty nice day."

    Local shout out:

    Meanwhile, there are a set of reforms that will take effect this year. This year, millions of small business owners will be eligible for tax credits that will help them cover the cost of insurance for their employees. And let me talk about what this means for a business like your own Prairie Lights Bookstore downtown. (Applause) This is a small business that’s been offering coverage to their full-time employees for the last twenty years. Last year their premiums went up 35%, which made it a lot harder for them to offer the same coverage. On Tuesday, I was joined at the bill signing by Ryan Smith, who runs a small business with five employees. His premiums are going up too, and he’s worried he’ll have to stop offering health insurance to his workers.

    What, Mr. Prez, no shoutout for the Hamburg Inn?

    Policy wise, Obama plays up the immediate impact:

    This year, insurance companies will no longer be able to drop people’s coverage when they get sick; or place lifetime limits or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care they can receive.

    This year, all new insurance plans will be required to offer free preventive care.

    For all the students here today, starting this year, if you don’t have insurance, all new plans and some current ones will allow you to stay on your parents’ insurance policy until you’re 26 years old. Because as you start your lives and your careers, the last thing you should worry about is whether you’ll go broke just because you get sick.

    Big applause at the student references. (That stay on the folks policy till 26 will help win over "indestructible" young folks who worry about having to buy into the insurance pool.)

    Shouter: "What about the (??)"

    Obama: "That's not in there." "Why Not?" "Because we couldn't get it through congress."

    Obama: "This legislation isn't perfect, as this young man just said, but it's a historic first step." Crowd sides with the Prez.

    Paramedics wheel a fainter out via press row. Locals still don't know what shouter said.

    On to the politics. Prepared text:

    If these Congressmen in Washington want to come here to Iowa and tell small business owners that they plan to take away their tax credits and essentially raise their taxes, be my guest. If they want to look Lauren Gallagher in the eye and tell her they plan to take away her father’s health insurance, that’s their right. If they want to make Darlyne Neff pay more money for her check-ups and her mammograms, they can run on that platform. If they want to have that fight, I welcome that fight. Because I don’t believe the American people are going to put the insurance industry back in the driver’s seat. We’ve been there already and we’re not going back. This country is ready to move forward.

    He adlibs "If this young man out there thinks this is such a bad bill, he can run against it." Still know one can figure it out but in any case Obama handled it well. (and a presidential shoutout to Iowa City's own Darlyne Neff)

    Winding down at 1:37.

    let us remember the promise we have fulfilled, the people who fulfilled it, and the generations before us who made it possible; and let us respond with the creed that continues to define the character of this country we love: Yes, we can.

    Thank you, Iowa, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

    Speech proper done at 1:38, he ends in full campaign mode as the music rolls up for the first time. Looks like instead of Q&A it's a handshake scrum.

    Handfuls are starting to trickle out at 1:43 as that old Team Obama Greatest Hit, U2's "Beautiful Day", plays. In thie end, this is pretty campaigny after all, except for the lack of the signs.

    The apparant shouters have eagerly identified themselves for the TV crews, they're public option die hards which explains the president's "didn't have the votes" response. Theyre in the midst of a big camera scrum as the music shifts to another campaign standard, Springsteen's "The Rising" (although that was one of Edwards' greatest hits, he actually built a speech around it.) One of the shouters, nevertheless, was wearing an Obama shirt; the other had a peace sign on hers.

    "The president's doing really well," says Bob Dvorsky, who got some face time. "He's really excited about this" says Pauline Taylor, an Iowa City nurse and union leader who was featured in Obama's May 2007 speech.

    Meanwhile talk turns to the ongoing campaign. Linn County Dems chair Diane Hoffman is trying to pt together a Hall of Fame dinner but having trouble getting a keynote speaker. "The governor needs to get out here and campaign."

    All's pretty quiet here at 2:12. Nobody left but us instate media stragglers and the cleanup crew. We'll sing off. Next stop is the Mill, where the Governor and Lt Guv are slated to speak to the local faithful.

    Republican Rally Roundup

    Republican Rally Roundup

    I thought about covering the "Stand Up 4 Freedom" rally last night but had too much prep work to do for today. I also figured, correctly, that enough other old media and new media would be there:

  • Dan Tallon comments: "everyone that spoke mainly spoke about Health and how unconstitutional it was, with the usual socialist and commie references. It wasn't surprising to see the NRA hats and belt buckles around and a few VP for gov signs. All and all I am happy to see that our local republicans are (mostly) nice people- even if they ignore certain facts." He also says he got quite a few signatures on his petition to end Don't Ask Don't Tell petition, including: "Miller-Meeks signed and said she thought Don't ask Don't Tell was not good for America."

  • Press-Citizen: Headline says "hundreds" but article says hundred means two hundred.

  • Iowa Republican goes with a bigger estimate: "350 to 500".

  • Gazette finds at least one person opposing the health care bill from the left.

  • Lynda Waddington at Iowa Indy goes with featured phoning it in speaker Mike Pence calling for the big repeal.

    As for today, that press credential came through and I spent last evening geeking out some technology details. If all goes well we'll be livebloggin'.
  • Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    Dropout in House District 7

    Dropout in House District 7

    Another Secretary of State list update at 4:26 p.m. has one less name.

    Emmetsburg community developer Steve Heldt is off the ballot in the House District 7 Republican primary. That leaves Lannie Miller, a West Bend-Mallard School Board member and former Palo Alto County supervisor, as the GOP nominee.

    Miller will face Democrat John Wittneben, of the Estherville city council, in November. The seat is open as incumbent Rep. Marcella Frevert (D-Emmetsberg) is retiring.

    Harkin gets a pen

    Harkin gets a presidential pen

    It's the ultimate piece of political "chum": a presidential bill-signing pen. Iowa's own Tom Harkin got one of President Obama's pens from yesterday's health care bill signing ceremony.

    I say "one of" because, as anyone who's seen footage of any president at a bill-signing ceremony knows, presidents like to maximize the number of pens used, so as to maximize the number of gifts. A bill signing pen is, as Vice President Joe would say, a big f%$#in' deal--and yes, he got one.

    Harkin took over as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee last year after Ted Kennedy's death.

    In all Obama used 22 pens to sign the health care bill, two for each letter of his name. As you see, he doesn't use the Hussein, which could have created 14 more souvenirs.

    Politico has the full list of 19 recipients including Harkin (two go to the national archives and the Big Guy kept one).

    You can make up your own joke about (president of party other than your own) and crayons, but I'm going with "Say Anything": I gave him my vote, he gave me a pen.

    Non-Obama Linkfest

    Non-Obama Linkfest

    There is, of course, other stuff happening besides The Prez coming to town.

    I skipped out on the 21 bar vote last night; since I have my own little soapbox here that handfuls of people read each day, I didn't feel the need to speak, and I didn't feel the hope that I'd be any more persuasive. One can only bang one's head against the wall so long before it hurts.

    The Daily Iowan, of course, does the best job of capturing the in loco parentis mood of the council and University officials.

    Credit where it's due:
    Councilor Regenia Bailey cast the sole vote against the issue. She said she believes the ordinance regulates outside of the council’s responsibilities.

    “I don’t think the local government should play the role of ├╝berparent,” she said. “I think a lot of the discussion tonight, to me, has been frankly paternalistic. We’re talking about adults.”

    I'm still recuperating from the three week marathon of candidate filing. Thanks for all the good feedback and the couple of duly-made corrections, and please send me some synonyms for "unopposed." I'm fresh out.

    Craig Robinson of Iowa Republican (NOT Craig Robinson the basketball coach and First Brother In Law) has good GOP-perspective overviews of the State Senate, the Sioux City House District 2 primary. Krusty looks at the open seat (Mertz) primary in House 8 and uses the phrase "worse than Mary Mascher," which should be seen as a compliment.

    As for the OTHER Craig Robinson, the popular joke now is that Barack's only coming to town to scope out the Hawks' coaching cob for the Oregon State coach...

    Huser Challenger Out

    Huser Primary Challenger Drops Out

    Looks like Larry Grafton of the Painters & Allied Trades (my union) has dropped his primary challenge to Rep. Geri Huser (D-Altoona), one of the "six pack" who opposed labor's priority bills last year.

    Grafton's name is off the Tuesday (4:11 PM) update of the statewide candidate's list at the Secretary of State's site. Anyone know the score?

    Also out: Grinnell city council member Larry Wilson, who filed on the GOP side against Rep. Eric Palmer (D-Oskaloosa) in House 75. Wilson seems to have deferred to the other Republican, retired Marine Gen. Guy Vander Linden.

    The dropout deadline is 5 p.m. today; opponents have until Friday to challenge petitions.

    Both Sides Gear Up For Obama

    Both Sides Have Big Obama Plans

    While I wait for word on my press pass, Republicans are pretty set with their plans for Obama day, with the big event scheduled for tonight and a big, sorta, name.
    National Leader to Headline Stand Up for Freedom Rally

    Indiana Congressman Mike Pence to Address Tonight’s Rally in Iowa City

    It's not Pence's first trip to Iowa. Well, actually, it's not a trip to Iowa at all, it says a couple grafs down:
    Due to the congressional schedule, Pence will address the Stand Up for Freedom Rally via Skype from Washington, DC

    Still, us longtime caucus watchers know what it means.

    Here's the live and in person speaker list
    The Stand Up for Freedom Rally is scheduled for 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 24, on the East Lawn of the Pentacrest at the University of Iowa. Iowans can register for the Stand Up for Freedom Rally at

    Iowa GOP officials also announced the confirmed list of speakers at tonight’s rally includes:

    Matt Strawn, Chairman, Republican Party of Iowa
    Natalie Ginty, Univ. of Iowa College Republicans
    Brenna Findley, Candidate for Iowa Attorney General
    Rob Gettemy, Candidate for U.S. Congress
    Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Candidate for U.S. Congress
    Steve Rathje, Candidate for U.S. Congress
    Christopher Reed, Candidate for U.S. Congress

    As for Obama hour itself, here's the GOP drill:
    Time: March 25, 2010 from 12pm to 1:30pm
    Location: University of Iowa Field House
    Street: 225 South Grand Avenue
    City/Town: Iowa City
    Website or Map: http://teapartypatriots.ning.…
    Phone: 319-341-3459
    Event Type: protest, obamacare

    Dems who can't get in to the speech itself, meanwhile, are hoping to outnumber:
    Event: Health Care Rally & March on Day of President's Visit to Iowa City
    Start Time: Thursday, March 25 at 10:00am
    End Time: Thursday, March 25 at 11:00am
    Where: Pedestrian Mall (Fountain Area)

    Dems also have an after-party scheduled:

    After the President's speech on Thursday, please join OFA for a special event to celebrate the passage of health reform featuring Iowa Governor Chet Culver, Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge, and other special guests!

    A Celebration of Health Reform
    Thursday, March 25th from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    The Mill
    120 East Burlington Street, Iowa City

    No word on a Republican post-event event, though their annual spaghetti supper was previously scheduled for Friday night.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    Stutsman files

    Stutsman files for re-election

    Johnson County Supervisor Sally Stutsman joins fellow incumbent Janelle Rettig on the June 8 Democratic primary ballot, filing today for a fifth term.

    Deadline's March 31; no rumors yet on primary challengers...

    21 Bar Council Vote Tonight

    21 Bar Council Vote Tonight

    As Iowa City's perennial 21 bar fight gears up again, the No on 21 forces have settled on a strategic counter-move: petitioning to lower the admission age to 18. Petition supporter and 2009 city council candidate Dan Tallon said last week that supporters had gathered 3,500 signatures in about 48 hours.

    University of Iowa President Sally Mason offered plenty of patronizing opinions in a March 12 Daily Iowan interview. "It is about looking for better alternatives to promote a healthy and safe environment in our community." I've been here longer than Mason, and every "better alternative" (Planet X, anyone?) has flopped. Young adults want adult activities, not the same stuff they were doing in high school.

    “I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails and notes from community members about their disappointment and displeasure with student behavior," adds Mason. The Love the Hawkeyes and Hancher, Hate the Students crowd dominates normal city elections, and never acknowledges that the students are the lifeblood of our city rather than a nuisance.

    Former City Council member Bob Elliott also came out for 21 bars in his Press-Citizen piece. “Philosophically, I favor identifying a standard legal age for being an adult. If you're old enough to join the military and defend our country in wartime, you should be old enough to have a beer.”

    For me, that's where the argument ends. But what should that age be? “You might as well place numbers from 18 through about 23 on a board and throw darts at it,” Elliott says. “I've known some people who've exhibited outstanding maturity by age 16 or 17, and others who just never seemed to acquire that quality of being mature.”

    My preference is to make it the constitutional voting age, 18. We can better address young adult alcohol abuse, a very real problem I know too well from my own youth, by first acknowledging young adult rights.

    “But there are differences between philosophy and reality,” Elliot says. And that reality is federal law that ties highway funding to the 21 year old drinking age. One (non-county) official says (s)he also agrees with me on the principle, but says if (s)he has five minutes with a federal or state official, the drinking age issue isn't enough of a priority to take the limited time.

    But it should be a priority. Here's some modest suggestions.

    First, officials need to say, on the record, what they really think of the 21 year old drinking age. If they like it, that fact can be shared with young voters. If they disagree, they should lobby on the issue, the way law enforcement and county attorneys did on the unworkable 2000 foot sex offender law. No one on either side, myself excepted, seems willing to take this on.

    Next, and there seems to be positive movement on this facet at least the inevitable vote should be as soon as is fair and practical. This fall's general election would be good, and the city's process should be timed and expedited to help this happen. The city set a precedent in 2000 by putting the infamous “Yes means No” First Avenue initiative on the presidential ballot.

    Finally, delay implementation of 21 until after the people have voted. Of course, that already happened two years ago. but since the council seems determined to force a do-over, delayed implementation will make it a little easier to swallow.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Republicans announce Obama counter-event

    Will the Singing Schoolgirls be there?

    In the interest of free speech, here's the details on the inevitable counter-Obama event. It's a guaranteed free media hit; gotta get that local angle and that balance thing, ya know.

    All four Congressional candidates, among others, will be there, but no word yet on the Singing Schoolgirls.

    Obama venue info

    Obama: Thursday, 1 PM, UI Fieldhouse

    President Obama to Discuss Health Reform in Iowa City Thursday

    WASHINGTON— President Barack Obama will return to Iowa City, Iowa, on Thursday, March 25, to discuss how health insurance reform will lower costs for small businesses and American families and give them more control over their health care, the White House today announced. President Obama first announced his health care plan in Iowa City in May 2007, launching a grassroots campaign for reform that led directly to the legislation passed this week.

    The President will speak at the University of Iowa Field House. Members of the general public wishing to attend this event should visit the following website to register for the opportunity to attend: The website will be available until 5:00 pm ET (4:00 pm CT), Tuesday, March 23.

    Looks like they're going for a crowd: the President's event is scheduled for 1:00 Thursday at the UI Fieldhouse. Close enough to UIHC for lots of health care professionals to stop by. The listed seating capacity is 1,500 for athletics, presumably more if the floor's filled. Big enough for a good chunk of general public but not Carver-Hawkeye big (even a sitting president might have a tough time filling that barn at 1:00 on a Thursday). Suggestion: Park somewhere else and hop on a Cambus.

    Obama spoke at the Fieldhouse in his last campus stop of the caucus season; I was there and the hoopla was good but the audio was iffy.

    Obama to Iowa City Thursday

    President will visit Iowa City Thursday

    Yes, it's big headline time. The Reg has all the details we have so far: Thursday, Iowa City. White House release mentioned that the original health care rollout was in Iowa City, which would point, maybe, to a UIHC venue...

    I was at that event in May 2007
    with full liveblog coverage; compare notes on what was proposed then with what passed last night.

    Last Obama visit to Iowa was in Newton last April for wind energy. Last presidential visit to Iowa City was when W choppered in at flood time in June of `08.

    UPDATE 1: Gazette says IC law enforcement has been prepping and Secret Service got to town Friday.

    Now that the health care bill is a reality, the sales pitch continues, and the Dems have no better salesman than The Prez.

    We in Iowa City are an interesting choice: Iowa is still a purplish state, but my People's Republic is the most Obama friendly spot in the state (70% in 2008, 50+% on Caucus Night). The Reg says Iowa is the only stop of the day; I don't know if he's taking it on the road anywhere else earlier in the week.

    No word on venue yet. A UIHC site, to parallel the 2007 event, would imply limited, invited attendance, but Obama could easily fill a much bigger space if they want to go the big crowd route.

    Speaking of which, this joke is already making the rounds; I'll quote one of my Republican readers Todd Versteegh, though I heard it elsewhere first: "Maybe President Obama is coming to Iowa City to interview for the Iowa Men's Basketball job...Carver attendance problem would be solved. Obama could just issue executive orders from the bench to give Iowa a victory whenever they were behind." and we certainly could have used such authority last season...

    Stay tuned...

    Monday Clips

    Anything Happening?

    My brain is still spinning; at the epochal moment of health care I was eyeball-deep in a side project. Loads and loads of people were writing health care but I was on Iowa legislature patrol.

    My early take on this is, after a final outburst from the right (here's the Iowans), things will quite down. A big part of the "unpopularity" of the bill, and Congress, is the process stuff. Non-political Real People are turned off by reconciliation this and filibuster that and deem and pass never mind, but the President signing something looks like an accomplishment.

    That said, here's some items of interest:

  • Why did the Dems who voted no vote no? Nate Silver says the single biggest predictor was Obama's vote share in the district. I like those odds; the President remains personally popular and is still the Democrat's strongest asset.

  • You've probably read conservative David Frum's "Waterloo" piece, which has nothing to do with Black Hawk County. The premise is that the GOP made a strategic mistake in betting the ranch on oppositional defiance. Now it seems they're painted into a corner:
    No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

    As for the Iowa Legislature stuff, Craig Robinson conveniently lists GOP targets.
  • Saturday, March 20, 2010

    All 125 Legislative Races

    The Mothership: All 125 Legislative Races

    We're calling it The Mothership in honor of Congressional candidate Dave "Give Up The" Funk: All 125 legislative races (Register post).

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    Second Wave of last day filing

    Second Wave of last day filing

    Here's the full list if you prefer that. There were updates at 6:00 straight up and again at 6:200; it's now 7:22 so I'm betting this is The list.

    Tom Fiegen makes the Democratic senate ballot! I don't see Sal...

    This is a total liveblog, haven't even skimmed.

    Jason Welch makes it SEVEN Repubs in the 3rd CD.

    All three make it for GOP Sec of State. George Eichhorn and 2008 legislative loser Chris Sanger join the favorite, Matt Schultz.

    Now up to FOUR Dems in Senate 13: Brian Moore of Zwingle.

    On to the House. GOP primary in House 7 (the open Dem Frevert seat). Lannie Miller (ex-supervisor) was in, now joined by Emmetsburg community developer Steve Heldt.

    Repub Gabriel Swersie of Newton challenging Dem Rep. Paul Bell in House 41.

    PRIMARY CHALLENGE: Kenneth Oglesby challenging Charles Isenhart in Dubuque's House 27. Isenhart took half the votes in a three way open seat primary last time.

    LABOR PRIMARY CHALLENGE for Geri Huser: Larry Grafton of my union, IUPAT, files on the Dem side in House 42. Republicans have a primary too.

    Third Republican for the Roberts seat: Daniel Dirkx of Auburn.

    Professor Danuta Hutchins of Storm Lake (D) challenging Gary Worthan (R) in House 52.

    Des Moines Repub Elizabeth Sanger (R) challinging Rep. Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines)

    We were expecting a convention, but military family activist and `08 Hillary backer Shari Carnahan files in House 84 (the Gayman seat).

    New list is up timestamped 6:22 with no new names.

    Last Day, First Wave

    Last Day, First Wave

    The Secretary of State offers a 3:43 P.M. list, with 77 minutes before the deadline. While they data enter the last, I'll get started; we're gonna do this liveblog style!

    Francis Thicke as expected is officially in as a Democratic challenger to Secretary of Ag Bill Northey (R).

    A third Democrat in Senate District 13 (Open, Roger Stewart leaving): Paul Feller.

    Michael Adams of Bondurant is the 3rd Republican in Senate 21 joining Wes Enos and Joe Pirillo; winner drawws Dennis Black.

    This will get ugly: "right to life" (sic) activist Dave Leach, who had nice stuff to say about the murderer of Dr. George Tiller, filed on the GOP side to challenge Sen. Matt McCoy (D) the only out Iowa legislator in Senate 31.

    In Davenport, Republicans now have two Senate 43 candidates named Mark: Riley joins Holloway.

    Not quite enough districts to go around in Sioux City: three Republicans in House 2. Ryan Bradshear we expected, Bobby Riordan is a new name.

    Also a third Republican in House 8 (the Mertz seat) as Alissa Wagner joins Steve Richards and Tom Shaw. A little more division won't hurt the Dems there...

    Of course the big news for our locals is John Stellmach's primary challenge to Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville) in House 30. My email has been clogging all afternoon; Stellmach is an AFSCME guy and 1991 City High grad who works at UIHC.

    Getting clobbered in the November 09 special isn't stopping Republican Josh Thurston from a second challenge to Dem Kirsten Running-Marquardt in House 33.

    Former Dem Dawn Pettengill files for her second full term as a Republican in House 39... but where's the other turncoat, Doug Struyk, in House 99? I see the name of Mary Ann Hanusa, the 2006 last-second replacement candidate for Secretary of State, on the Republican line there!

    Two developments in open House 51 (Rod Roberts' seat) On the D side, Manning school board member Larry Lesle. On the R side, Don Bernholtz joins Joel Pawletzki.

    Rematch: Dem Alan Koslow is making a second run against Republican Peter Cownie in House 60.

    Rematch: Dave Heaton (R-Mt Pleasant) files again; Dem Ron Fedler again challenging.

    Primary Rematch: Rep. Jim Van Engelenhoeven (R-Pella) files again and is getting primaried by adoption activist Marc Held; Van E. won that primary three to one last cycle and will probably face 2008 Dem Pat Van Zante again...

    A GOP primary in House 89: Chris Canny of Wellman will face off against 2008 nominee Jarad Klein, who narrowly lost to Dem Larry Marek.

    2008 state senate candidate and Council Bluffs school board mamber Mark Brandenburg was supposed to be All That against Mike Gronstal; didn't happen, didn't come close. Now he's taking on Dem Paul Shomshor in House 100.

    Jacoby draws primary challenge

    Stellmach to primary challenge Jacoby

    The Democratic primary in Johnson County just got more interesting: The Reg notes that "John Stellmach, of Coralville, has filed to run for the Iowa House from District 30." That's a primary challenge to Rep. Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville), who's held the seat since replacing Dick Myers in a summer 2003 special election.

    Bleeding Heartland noted, after I missed it, that labor is unhappy with Jacoby's position on House file 2420, the reworked "fair share" legislation. I heard two independent reports/rumors this week of an unidentified "John" (not me) doorknocking in Coralville and North Liberty for signatures.

    I've been in Johnson County and in labor for quite some time and don't know this person. Anyone?

    Kajtazovic launches candidacy

    Anesa KajtazovicKajtazovic makes candidacy announcement

    It's a couple days after the formal filing, but the candidate makes it official:

    Anesa Kajtazovic announces primary challenge in Iowa House District 21

    "Primary challenge" stated but the name of embattled incumbent Kerry Burt not mentioned. Kajtazovic continues:

    Waterloo, IA – Today, Anesa Kajtazovic of Waterloo, IA has announced her candidacy for Iowa State House District 21.

    "I have spoken with so many of my neighbors, friends and family who have all expressed to me that we need to look forward and move ahead towards being a model state in areas of education, our economy & jobs. And in order to move forward, we need leadership in Des Moines that reflects where we're trying to move as a district and state. I believe that I can be that effective leader."

    Kajtazovic moved to Waterloo in 1997 after leaving the war torn country of Bosnia as a young refugee with her parents and sister. She has experienced firsthand the life of someone new to the community, the struggles they face and the opportunities that exist. Kajtazovic believes that we are at a crossroads in Iowa and in much of the county, of losing those opportunities. We need a vision for Iowa that moves us ahead in the areas of quality job creation, economic development and education and that cannot be done without effective leadership in Des Moines.

    “We have some serious issues facing our state and we need effective leadership in Des Moines to ensure that the people of the 21st house district have their voices heard. I believe that I can provide that effective leadership.”

    That's the closest it comes to a direct comparision. More:

    Kajtazovic is a Waterloo West High graduate and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Business in 2007 from the University of Northern Iowa.

    Unstated: She did it in three years.

    Kajtazovic currently works at GMAC, where she assists homeowners keep their home as a mortgage analyst. Kajtazovic is also a member of the Waterloo Community Development board.

    Kajtazovic will be at the Black Hawk County Democratic Convention on Saturday, March 20th at 9:00 am.

    Anesa Kajtazovic logoNote the Bosnian blue and gold of the yard signs; Black Hawk County observers call the area's Bosnian community a "sleeping giant" politically.

    This seat was one of the few Republican gains anywhere in the country in 2006 when TV anchor Tami Wiencek upset longtime legislator Don Shoultz. Burt, with a lot of coordinated campaign help, took the seat back for the Dems in 2008 then had a very difficult 2009.

    Former Waterloo mayor John Rooff is in the race on the Republican side, as is Lyn Tackett.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Alex Chilton

    Alex Chilton dies

    The greatest rock star you never heard of died today:
    Alex Chilton, the singer and guitarist who had a No. 1 hit as a gravel-voiced teen with "The Letter" and went on to influence a generation of musicians through his work with Big Star, died Wednesday in New Orleans. He was 59.

    I came to the party late, and only because of the Replacements' tribute song, but in an alternate universe 1970s radio was full of the wall to wall perfect pop singles that made up Radio City and the optimistically titled #1 Record. About ten people bought those records... but they all started bands.

    Thursday March 18 Candidate Filing

    King, Conlin, Roberts File Thursday

    A statewide Democratic primary is for real as Roxanne Conlin turns in the papers for the US Senate. Iowa Democrats haven't had a US Senate primary since 1992, and there hasn't been a serious Democratic Senate primary since at least the 1960s. (Will we see Tom Fiegen or the indefatigable Sal Mohamed file tomorrow?)

    Steve King files for a fifth term in the 5th District, and picks up another opponent as Matt Campbell joins Mike Denklau on the Democratic primary ballot.

    And there's now no turning back for Carroll's Rod Roberts, as the legislator files for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. He's the third and final candidate of what was once a seven-way race.

    (The Democratic nomination appears set, though; Jonathan Narcisse tells the Reg that he won't file against Chet Culver in the primary and will proceed straight to the general as an independent. He says he had the signatures for the primary... but wouldn't show Kathie Obradovich.)

    The 3rd CD primary field gets even bigger as Pat Bertrouche and Mark Rees are the fifth and sixth candidates in. And in the 1st CD, Will Johnson of Dubuque becomes the fourth candidate. There's also four Republicans in the 2nd District; conventions, anyone?

    Moving down the statewide ballot, former Steve King aide Brenna Findley will challenge longtime Democratic attorney general Tom Miller, who had no opponent at all in 2006. And a release from Democratic Secretary of Agriculture candidate Francis Thicke says he's filing Friday at 9 A.M.

    Two candidates file in open Sioux City Senate District 27. Republican Bill Anderson hopes to hold Ron Weick's seat for the party; Democrat Marty Pottebaum wants to make this a Democratic gain. Weick was unopposed in 2006.

    Those nonpartisan offices as team benches again: Waterloo City Council member Ron Welper is the Republican challenger to Sen. Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo). Dotzler was a 70% winner in Senate District 11 four years ago.

    Democrats will see a primary in Senate District 13, where Clinton Democrat Roger Stewart is retiring. Ed O'Neill had a head start but Tod Bowman of Maquoketa will make it a contest. The winner is likely to face basketball coach Andrew Naeve.

    Dennis Black (D-Grinnell) files for another term in Senate 21 and will face the winner of a GOP primary between Wes Enos and Joe Pirillo.

    Ankeny Republican incumbent Larry Noble won a close-fought open-seat District 35 race four years ago, when Jeff Lamberti left to run for Congress.

    Ames attorney Timothy Gartin, a Republican, will challenge Democratic incumbent Herman Quirmbach in Senate District 23. Quirmbach was a 57% winner in 2006.

    Two incumbents both filed and got something they didn't see in 2006: opponents. In Davenport's Senate District 43, Democratic Sen. Joe Seng faces Republican Mark Holloway. Over in the southwest corner, Republican Sen. Hubert Houser will face Democrat Scott Schondelmeyer.

    Rick Marlar is the third Republican to file in Senate District 45, where former legislator Sandy Greiner is heavily favored to win the primary and face Fairfield freshman Democrat Becky Schmitz.

    Des Moines Democratic incumbents Matt McCoy (District 31) and Jack Hatch (33) both filed. McCoy won handily in 2006 and Hatch was unopposed.

    In the House, the big news was a non-filing as Davenport Democrat Elesha Gayman steps down after two terms.

    Primaries on both side in House District 21: former Waterloo mayor John Rooff filed on the GOP side where he'll face Lyn Tackett. On the Democratic side, Anesa Kajtazovic is challenging incumbent Kerry Burt, who let's say has had a difficult first term.

    In what appears to be the only primary in either party among Sioux City's five open seat races (says Bret Hayworth), Republican Cate Bryan filed in House District 2. 2008 near-winner Rick Bertrand is still on the list but expected to switch to the Senate race, and Ryan Beardshear is announced in the House 2 race. Still with me? The winner will see Democrat Chris Hall in November. (How would more contested primaries have rippled into the governor's race, and maybe helped Sioux City's Bob Vander Plaats?)

    Algona Democrat Susan Bangert hopes to hold House District 8, where conservaDem Dolores Mertz is retiring after two decades. Bangert will face the winner of a contentious Republican primary between tea party favorite Tom Shaw (who originally announced as an independent) and 2008 nominee Stephen Richards, who lost to Mertz by just 43 votes.

    Mason City insurance agent Brian Randall is hoping to take back House District 13 for the Republicans. Democrat Sharon Steckman picked up the seat in 2008 when Republican Bill Schickel retired.

    Another Republican trying to take back a seat from a freshman Democrat is former Davenport city council member Carla Batchelor in House District 81. Democrat Phyllis Thede knocked off Jamie (the younger) Van Fossen in 2008.

    Current Davenport council member Ray Ambrose, also a Republican, is challenging Rep. Cindy Winckler (D-Davenport) in House 86. Winckler was about a 70% winner in 2008.

    There's a primary in House District 42; unfortunately it's on the Republican side. Six Packer Geri Huser, who beat a union-backed primary challenge in 2008 then was uncontested in the fall, filed again. Kim Pearson of Pleasant Hill joins Altoona's Aaron Warner in the GOP primary.

    In Ames, Republican businessman Chad Steenhoek filed in House District 46 against incumbent Lisa Heddens (who faced only Libertarian opposition in 2008).

    Democratic student Nathan Clubb of Sigourney is challinging GOP incumbent Betty DeBoef in House District 76.

    Dubuque Republican Hank Linden is challenging first term Rep. Charles Isenhart, who won the open seat easily in the 2008 general when Pam Jochum moved to the Senate.

    Some GOP challengers in Des Moines: Former Polk County GOP chair Darlene Blake is challenging Democratic incumbent Jo Oldson in House District 61. And Dan Kennedy is opposing Democratic Rep. Janet Petersen in District 64. Both Democrats won two to one 2008 victories.

    Gayman Stepping Down

    Elesha Gayman Stepping Down

    State Rep. Elesha Gayman announced today that she's not seeking a third term.

    The Quad Cities Dem was an upset winner in 2006 when she knocked off GOP incumbent Jim (the elder) Van Fossen in House District 84. She fended off a strong 2008 challenge from Ross Paustian, who's running again.

    Gayman was an early star of the Iowa netroots, and also worked on the Obama campaign during the 2007-08 caucus season. She's the youngest woman ever elected to the Legislature. (That record could be short-lived if Waterloo Democrat Anesa Kajtazovic succeeds in her primary challenge to Kerry Burt.)

    The QC Times reports that Gayman "is pursuing consulting opportunities, including those overseas, and that she needs to pay off her student loans." The Times also indicates that a post-primary Democratic convention is likely.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Wednesday March 17 candidate filing

    Braley, Krause lead St Patrick's Day File O'Rama

    You can't tell your players without your scorecard, and I guess I'm Iowa's scorecard. Bruce Braley's officially in for a third term, topping a St. Paddy's Day file o'rama. He gets two more opponents as well: Mike LaCoste and Jim Budde, bringing the official field of Republicans to three. Braley has recently taken on additional duties at the DCCC helping other candidates, so he must not be too nervous.

    Bob Krause is the first Democratic candidate to officially file for the US Senate. The Roxanne Conlin campaign has emailed supporters and announced they have the signatures needed.

    State Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) joins the crowded field in the 3rd CD primary; four on the ballot and maybe more to come. (Krusty engages in speculation as to who goes ahead and files, who doesn't, and who fails.)

    The favorite in the Republican Secretary of State primary, Matt Schultz of the Council Bluffs Council, is the first to file at the office of his likely fall opponent, Democratic incumbent Mike Mauro.

    Over in Sioux City, Woodbury County Dems chair Rick Mullin officially joins the Senate District 1 race. Mullin had been in the House race until fellow Dem Steve Warnstadt's retirement.

    Ottumwa Republican Mark Chelgren, a wheelchair parts manufacturer, filed to challenge incumbent Keith Krieman (D-Bloomfield) in Senate District 47.

    The field seems complete in the Fighting 41st Senate district as incumbent Dave Hartsuch files for a second term. He's got a primary challenge from Roby Smith; a primary challenge was how Hartsuch got the seat four years ago when he knocked off Maggie Tinsman. (In between: a landslide congressional loss to Braley.) Two Democrats want the seat too.

    The three other incumbents to file Wednesday will likely have an easier time:

  • Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo) was a 70% winner in Senate District 11 four years ago.

  • Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) is seeking a second term (after four years in the House) in Senate District 19. Hogg was another Democratic gain in 2006, taking Chuck Larson's seat easily over Renee Schulte (who came back two years later to win the state's closest House race).

  • Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames) filed for a third term in District 23; he was a 57% winner in 2006.

    Moving across the rotunda, yes, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) has filed in House 67. Other House action:

    Warren County public affairs director and longtime political operative Scott Ourth is one of the Dems top-touted candidates and set fundraising records for first-time candidates. He's looking to take back open House District 74. Republican Kent Sorensen knocked off Mark Davitt in 2008 and is now challenging Stacy Appel in the Senate 37 race. Republican Glen Massie filed in the House 74 race earlier.

    Republican Stephen Burgmeier fell just short in last September's House District 90 special in the Fairfield area. He's now seeking a rematch against the winner, Democrat Curt Hanson.

    Decatur County Republican supervisor J.R. Cornett joins the House District 95 race. He faces a primary with Joel Fry; the winner faces incumbent Mike Reasoner (D-Creston).

    Republican Karin Sevde, who co-chaired the RAGBRAI committee last time the bikes rolled through Ames, is challenging Democratic incumbent Beth Wessel-Kroeschell in House 45. B W-K was a 58% 2008 winner.

    Over in Sioux City, Democrat Chris Hall files in House District 2, where incumbent Roger Wendt is retiring for health reasons.

    This one must have an interesting behind the scenes story: Former Wapello county supervisor Mike Petersen is challenging Ottumwa Rep. Mary Gaskill in the House District 93 Democratic primary. Petersen resigned from the county board in 2007 to take an administrative job in Minnesota, but returned to Ottumwa less than two months later with little comment.

    Monticello school board member (there's those nonpartisan offices again) Lee Hein filed as a Republican in House District 31, where he's challenging Democratic incumbent Ray Zirkelbach.

    Other incumbents making the re-election races official:

  • Linda Upmeyer (R-Garner) was a 70% 2008 winner in House District 12.

  • Nick Wagner (R-Marion) lost a close House District 36 race to Swati Dandekar in 2006, then came back to beat Gretchen Lawyer in 2008 when Dandekar moved over to the Senate.

  • Ralph Watts (R-Adel) a 60% winner in 2008 in Dallas County's House District 47. Democratic minister Roger Huston is challenging.

  • Cecil Dolechek (R-Mt. Ayr) of House 96 was a 60% winner last time.
  • Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    March 16 Candidate Filing

    Branstad, Loebsack Lead Tuesday's Filing

    Kerry Burt gets primary challenger

    Terry Branstad made the mundane matter of the nomination papers into a bragging point, playing up his numbers in a Tuesday press release as Iowa's longest serving governor filed for a comeback.

    Dave Loebsack is the third member of the U.S. House delegation to file, as the Mt. Vernon Democrat seeks a third term. Loebsack also gained an additional opponent, as Christopher Reed, the 2008 Senate nominee against Tom Harkin, becomes the fourth Republican in the 2nd CD primary.

    While Steve King was calling for revolution to a Tea Party crowd outside the US Capitol today, Democrat Mike Denklau was at the Iowa Capitol filing to run against him in the 5th District.

    State Senate activity picked up on Tuesday. Close to home, Coralville Democrat Bob Dvorsky filed for a fifth full term in Senate District 15. Dvorsky was unopposed last cycle.

    Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) of Senate District 7 (mostly in Cerro Gordo, Floyd and Mitchell) first won in a 2002 special and pulled 70% in 2006. Ragan both filed and drew an opponent Tuesday: Nora Springs Republican James Mills looks to be a Ron Paul type. Charles City radio personality Scott Lanenga is also annonced on the GOP side. John Skipper of the Globe-Gazette has a Mason City story.

    GOP primaries also emerge in a couple other districts. In Senate District 21 Joe Pirillo, ex-Altoona city council, filed. He faces GOP operative Wes Enos in the primary, Pirillo ran as a Democrat in 2002 and lost a primary to Dennis Black of Newton, who's running again.

    Republican Andrew Naeve of Clinton may have a basketball connection; in any case he filed in open Senate District 13 where Democrat Roger Stewart is stepping down.

    Larry Aden of Jolley, who appears to be involved in both wind energy and tea parties, filed in Senate District 25. He'll see Chris McGonegle in a GOP primary; winner getstwo-term incumbent Daryl Beall, who won more than two to one in 2006.

    Another two to one 2006 winner, Keith Kreiman (D-Bloomfield) filed again in Senate District 47.

    Over on the House side, the big drama was Wayne Ford making the retirement official and walking down with the apparently endorsed successor, Ruth Ann Gaines, as she filed for House 65. Lost in the shuffle was Republican Gary Jordan, who also filed in the heavily Democratic Des Moines district.

    There's a primary challenge to Kerry Burt in Waterloo as Democrat Anesa Kajtazovic files. She has an interesting backstory here and at age 22 or 23 would break Elesha Gayman's youngest woman elected to the legislature record.

    Another of the legislature's few young women, and the newest legislator, filed for her first full term today. Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D-Cedar Rapids) was a November `09 special election landslide winner in House District 33.

    (I know I'm inconsistent with the use of the honorific, but I've been friends with Kirsten so long that it still gives me a kick to put Rep. in front of her name.)

    Muscatine Democrat Nathan Reichert makes his fourth term bid official, filing for re-election in House District 80 where he faces Republican Mark Lofgren.

    Two Eastern Iowa challengers filed in sure to be hot races. Waterloo Republican Walt Rogers lost a recounted squeaker by 22 votes to Sen. Jeff Danielson in 2008. This cycle his sights are set on the House as he challenges incumbent Doris Kelly in House District 20. In House 37, Attorney Mark Seidl filed on the Democratic side to challenge first-term, 13 vote landslide winner Renee Schulte (R-Cedar Rapids).

    Some filing in the musical chairs of Sioux City. Democrat David Dawson files in House District 1 where Wes Whitead is leaving. He'll face Whitead's 2008 opponent Jeremy Taylor. And Chris Rants' 2008 opponent, Democrat Carlos Venable-Ridley, will try again for the now-open House 54.

    The three-way GOP primary for the right to take on Democrat Andrew Wenthe in House District 18 is official as Darin Rulapaugh files and joins Sandy Salmon and Roger Arthur.

    Republican Jim Burke is challenging Rep. Todd Taylor in Cedar Rapids' House District 34. Taylor has held the seat with little fuss since winning a 1995 special: two to one in 2006, unopposed in 2008.

    Pella Democrat (they have those) Pat Van Zante, who won 38% in the same race in 2008, will try again in House District 71. Incumbent Jim Van Engelenhoeven hasn't filed, but his 2008 primary challenger Marc Held has.

    Finally, Matt Alcazar first announced his House District 49 candidacy as an independent, then switched to the GOP where he filed today. Either way, he faces Democratic incumbent Helen Miller.

    Politics as Celebrity Jeopardy

    I'll Take Anal Bum Cover for 400, Alex

    Slacktivist argues, in all seriousness, that Democrats are playing Jeopardy, while Republicans play Family Feud:
    Facts do not matter in Family Feud. That game show isn't about getting the right answer, but about guessing the most popular response. Where Jeopardy's questions and answers come from an almanac or an encyclopedia, Family Feud's responses come from surveys and polls. The questions on Family Feud don't require knowledge or a grasp of information, but rather the ability to guess what answers were most popular with those "hundred people surveyed."

    Obama was eager to show that he really does have the right answers -- cost containment, near-universal coverage, lower premiums, better quality care, deficit reduction. All of that is well covered in the plan he's pushing and any attempt to challenge him on the facts would be doomed.

    So the GOP has decided to play a different game -- to switch from Jeopardy to Family Feud. That way it's not about the facts, or about what works, or about the actual effect of actual policies on actual people. In the subjective guessing-game of Family Feud, none of that matters. Family Feud is all about perceptions -- about what those hundred people surveyed think or guess or dimly remember having heard something about.

    Good analogy, but I think both parties are playing Jeopardy. It's just that Democrats play like Alex Trebek and Republicans play like Sean Connery.

    Insulting the host, trashing the rules and providing irrelevant offensive answers? Not accomplishing anything and refusing to play the game? How is this any different?

    That's what your mother said last night, Obama! I'll take Jap Anus Relations for 200.

    Ford Retirement Official

    Wayne Ford Retirement Official

    Well that was fast: A day after Ed Fallon drops the news that state Rep. Wayne Ford is "secretly" retiring, and after some no-comments from Ford himself, the news release:
    Representative Wayne Ford announced today that he will not seek reelection to a eighth term in the Iowa House of Representatives...

    And simultaneously reaching my inbox:
    Former Iowa Teacher of the Year and Des Moines drama teacher Ruth Ann Gaines announced today that she would seek election to the Iowa House of epresentatives in District 65 to succeed State Representative Wayne Ford, who has announced his retirement.

    “After four decades of educating our kids, I understand the challenges facing our community today. Despite these tough times, we cannot give up on any Iowa child. Each one deserves a quality education, stable home, and quality health care,” said Gaines.

    Culver Leads Monday Filing

    Governor makes it official as pace of filing picks up

    The first day of the last week of candidate filing for the June 8 primary saw more activity over at Secretary of State Mike Mauro's office, with Governor Chet Culver making the re-election bid official Monday.

    For my Johnson County folks first: My senator, Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) filed in Senate 39, which is basically most of Iowa City. (Locals: That's everything east of Mormon Trek). Bolkcom beat an independent about three to one in 2006, and that was his first primary or general election opponent since he went to the Senate in 1998.

    Also locally, first-term Rep. Nate Willems (D-Lisbon) gets an opponent in Republican Shawn Graham of Springville. Willems was a solid winner in 2008 when Ro Foege stepped down in House District 29 (half Linn, half Johnson). And former legislator Sandy Greiner, after a two year hiatus, filed in Senate 45 where she's likely to brush aside three (!) other Republican primary candidates and face first-term Sen. Becky Schmitz (D-Fairfield) in a top-tier race.

    2008 2nd Congressional District nominee Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) filed again Monday. She's the only one of four candidates seeking to challenge Dave Loebsack who's from outside Linn County. Steve Rathje and Rob Gettemy have their papers in; Christopher Reed, not yet.

    In the 1st District, Ben Lange of Independence is the first Republican to file.

    In the 3rd CD Dave Funk is the third official candidate. Funk has the cool url Miller-Meeks had an ambulance, will Funk have a Mothership?

    Will the 3rd CD declare "We Want The Funk" on June 8? Will we see One District Under A Groove? Can Dave tear the roof off the sucka? Or will Boswell triumph and keep the 3rd CD like Sir Nose: D'Void O'Funk?

    I better bring the Mothership in for a landing here. Story County Treasurer Dave Jamison files in the Republican primary for state treasurer (where he faces Dyersville mayor James Heavens.) Two years ago they couldn't even get one candidate against Mike Fitzgerald.

    (The GOP looks set to have a full slate this cycle, and even some contested primaries, but there's not even a hint of a Democrat to challenge David Vaudt...)

    As the pace picks up this week, I may not mention every candidate who's already or may file every single time, and the post may slip later and later into the evening (I have family stuff to do, too). When this is all done, I'm hoping to wrap it into a every-race list for you to clip-n-save.

    That said, on to the legislative races:

    Two other Senate incumbents joined Bolkcom in filing Monday: David Johnson (R-Ocheyedan), a comfortable 2006 winner in District 3, and Wally Horn (D-Cedar Rapids) of District 17; he was unopposed in 2006.

    On the House side, embattled incumbent Kerry Burt (D-Waterloo) dashed the private hopes of a lot of Democrats and filed for a second term in House 21. Still four days for a primary challenger to jump in.

    Both parties filed in open House District 7 where Rep. Marcella Frevert (D-Emmetsberg) is retiring. Democrat John Wittneben is on the Estherville city council; Republican Lannie Miller is on the West Bend-Mallard School Board.

    (People give me crap for mentioning party when those local non-partisan elections are going on, but this is why. Look at these posts and see all the mayors and school board members, on both sides. Local government is a great way to build your team's bench.)

    The open seat House 73 (Tymeson) Republican primary field is now officially up to three. Farmer/attorney Julian Garrett joins Madison County supervisor Joan Acela and Roger Billings on the ballot.

    An odd development in District 11, where Dennis Olsen of Joice is primary challenging Rep. Henry Rayhons (R-Garner.) Anyone who knows the deal here, please speak up. Winner sees 2008 Democratic nominee Ann Marie Fairchild.

    Democrat Mike Gerhart of the Rhodes city council is challenging first-term Republican Annette Sweeney, who also filed Monday in House 44. Sweeney won a top-tier open seat race over Tim Hoy in 2008.

    Cedar Falls bar owner Darin Beck
    filed in House District 19, where incumbent Bob Kressig (running again) was a 57% winner last time.

    Rep. Dave Deyoe (R-Nevada) is seeking a third term in House District 10. Deyoe was a late replacement candidate in 2006, amidst all the shuffling that happened when Stu Iverson quit his re-election race. This time Deyoe faces 2006 Democratic congressional candidate Selden Spencer, who may be looking to follow the example of...

    Paul Shomshor (D-Council Bluffs), who turned a congressional loss to Steve King in 2002 into a summer 2003 House District 100 special election win for a Democratic gain. Shomshor held on with 52% in 2008 and filed again Monday.

    Altoona Republican Aaron Warner filed in House District 42, where Democratic SixPacker Geri Huser was unopposed in the general in 2008 (after she got some official party help in fending off her primary challenger...)

    Two Cedar Rapids House incumbents filed Monday. Democrat Todd Taylor (District 33) was unopposed in 2008 (Republican Jim Burke has announced but not filed). But Republican Renee Schulte won the closest race in the state in House 37, knocking off one-term Dem Art Staed by just 13 votes.

    More House incumbents, who pretty much won easily in 2008:

  • Royd Chambers (R-Sheldon), District 5.
  • Andrew Wenthe (D-Hawkeye), District 18, will face the winner of a possible three-way Republican primary.
  • Steve Lukan (R-New Vienna) in House 32.
  • Donovan Olson (D-Boone, unopposed in 2008, will face the winner of a GOP primary in House 48.
  • Gary Worthan (R-Storm Lake) in House 52.
  • Dan Huseman (R-Aurelia), District 53.
  • Freshman Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig), unopposed in the fall after winning a contested open-seat 2008 primary.
  • Jo Oldson (D-Des Moines) in House 62.
  • Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines) in District 63.
  • Janet Peterson (D-Des Moines), House 64.
  • Betty DeBoef (R-What Cheer) in House 76.
  • District 88 Democrat Dennis Cohoon (D-Burlington).
  • Lisa Heddens (D-Ames) overwhelmed Libertarian Eric Cooper in District 46 in 2008 and won 63% in a three-way 2006 race. (Cooper, for his part, looks like the Libertarian pick for governor this year.)

    Look for Terry Branstad and other big names to show up on the Tuesday list.

    Should we look for Wayne Ford? He isn't saying, but desmoinesdem remembers Tyler Reedy's primary challenge to Ford last time. How much does that history have to do with the hush-hush?

    I also suggest keeping a more than daily eye on Bret Hayworth for the Sioux City shuffle.
  • Monday, March 15, 2010

    Fallon: Wayne Ford To Retire

    Fallon Flash: Ford Finished?

    From the latest Fallon and Fallon I'M for Iowa email:
    Monday, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, we talk about politics, and expose what appears to be a sneaky effort in the 65th House District in Des Moines to keep Wayne Ford’s retirement a secret so party insiders can hand-pick a successor.

    Long-term legislator Ford represents a solid Democratic district next to the Ed Fallon/Ako Abdul-Samad district (Wayne and Ed were actually paired in the 2001 redistricting but Ford moved).

    The curious can tune in here or grab the podcast later...