Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Business/Industry Endorsements Interesting for Omissions

With the July campaign finance reports filed, the serious triage begins as parties and interest groups choose which campaigns to target and which races to leave hanging.

The Iowa Industry Political Action Committee, a "pro-business: group, announced its endorsements Tuesday, and the list is more interesting for its omissions than for its endorsees. This list is just one conservative leaning group, of course. Farm Bureau, for example, may have different priorities.

IIPAC endorsed 14 state Senate candidates, all Republicans, in 26 races. Several big-deal races were not included. Most notably, they did not endorse in Senate District 8, where Al Ringgenberg (who has struggled with fundraising) is challenging Senate Democratic leader Mike Gronstal.

Also off the IIPAC list are two tea-partyish upset primary winners who beat Branstad-recruited former senators: Dennis Guth, who beat  Jim Black in open Senate District 4, and Jane Jech, who beat Larry McKibben for the right to face Democratic incumbent Steve Sodders in District 36.

Other omissions in what I thought might have been higher tier races: Larry Kruse in Senate District 42. The seat vacated by longtime Senator Gene Fraise is pretty Democratic, sure, but Kruse, a Lee County supervisor, seemed like a strong candidate against Democrat Rich Taylor.

Another GOP county supervisor left off the list was Mark Segebart of Carroll County in open District 6. He faces a strong Democratic contender in Mary Bruner.

So where ARE the key Senate races for IIPAC?

District 32, for one, where Matt Riesetter is challenging Democrat Jeff Danielson, a narrow 2008 winner. And no incumbent, evenly divided District 48, where Dan Zumbach is running against Rep. Nate Willems, D-Lisbon.

Also watch District 26, the only two-incumbent Senate matchup in the fall. Sen. Merlin Bartz, R-Grafton has been paired in redistricting with Democratic Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm. In Senate 28, Mike Breitbach, R-Strawberry Point, faces former Democratic representative John Beard in an open seat race.

IIPAC's endorsements in the rest of the Senate races:

  • District 2 – Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, unopposed
  • District 10 – Jake Chapman, R-Adel, is unopposed in this open seat,
  • District 12 – Sen. Joni Ernst , R-Red Oak unopposed
  • District 14 - No endorsement in an open seat race between Republican Amy Sinclair and Democrat Dick Schrad
  • District 16 - No endorsement in this solid Democratic seat, where incumbent Dick Dearden has a challenge from Republican David Edwards.
  • District 18 - No endorsement in an open, safe Democratic seat. Janet Petersen, a 12 year House veteran, is a heavy favorite over Republican Vicki Stogdill.
  • District 20 – Sen. Brad Zaun , R-Urbandale, unopposed
  • District 22 – Sen. Pat Ward, R-Clive, who won a tough primary. The district is red but Democrat Desmund Adams is a strong candidate.
  • District 24 – Sen. Jerry Behn, R-Boone. The Republican leader faces Democrat Shelly Stotts.
  • District 32 - No endorsement. Republican Elliott Henderson is challenging Democratic Sen. Brian Schoenjahn.
  • District 34 - No endorsement, as Republicans scramble to find a viable candidate against Democratic Sen. Liz Mathis. The qualifications of "lives in the district" and "not insane" seem to be too difficult in the effort to replace united States Senator Randi-Kaye: Shannon on the ballot.
  • District 38 – Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, who faces a serious challenge from Democrat Shelley Parbs.
  • District 40 – Ken Rozenboom, R-Oskaloosa. This is the seat where Democrat Tom Rielly retired; the late-starting Democrat is Tim Tripp.
  • District 44 - No endorsement. Democratic incumbent Tom Courtney is a strong favorite over Republican Brad Bourn.
  • District 46 – Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck, R-Dixon, who faces Democratic challenger Chris Brase.
  • District 49 – Andrew Naeve, R-Clinton, a near winner in 2010 who faces Democrat Rita Hart.
  • District 50 - No endorsement. Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, is a heavy favorite over Republican Will Johnson.
On the House side, IIPAC endorsed four Democrats. Two are unopposed: Brian Quirk of New Hampton in District 52 and Coralville's Dave Jacoby in House 74. Helen Miller  of Fort Dodge (District 9) and Dan Muhlbauer of Manilla (District 12) are solid favorites.

Interesting Republican omissions from the IIPAC endorsement list include:
  • Tedd Gassman, challenging Democratic Rep. John Wittneben in District 7;
  • Steve McCoy in open House 26, the Glen Massie seat, where he opposed strong Democrat Scott Ourth;
  • Greg Heartsill in open House 28 against Democrat Megan Suhr;
  • Jim Carley in Kim Pearson's open House 30 against Democrat Joe Riding;
  • Jake "Scarface" Highfill, who beat Erik Helland in the House 39 primary;
  • Mike Klimesh. challenging Democratic incumbent Roger Thomas in District 55;
  • James Kenyon, challenging perennially endargered Democratic Rep. Bob Kressig in District 59;
  • Sandy Salmon, opposing former Democratic senator Bill Heckroth in House 63;
  • Jim Givant in open House 64 against Democrat Bruce Bearinger;
  • Dean Fisher in open House 72 against Democrat Nathan Wrage;
  • Bobby Kaufmann for his father's open House 73 seat, against Democrat Dick Schwab;
  • David Maxwell against Democrat Rachel Bly in no incumbent House 76;
  • Larry Sheets in open House 80 against Democrat Joe Judge; and
  • Quentin Stanerson in open House 95 against Democrat Kristin Keast
This list omits the safe Democratic seats. None of these look like people who don't need the help, especially given all the safe seat unopposed incumbents who did get endorsed.

Maybe a few made the rookie mistake of not filling out a survey; I don't if IIPAC specifically requires one but many groups do. Some of them look like people who are getting dropped off the offensive target list. Givant, for example, had not raised enough money by July 19 to file a campaign finance report, despite announcing in March. Others, like Salmon, Carley, and for very different reasons Highfill, may be folks IIPAC doesn't want to be associated with.

Republicans who did get the business and industry nod:

District 1 – Rep. Jeff Smith, R-Okoboji (unopposed)
District 2 – Megan Hess, R-Spencer
District 3 – Rep. Dan Huseman, R-Aurelia (unopposed)
District 4 – Rep. Dwayne Alons , R-Hull (unopposed)
District 5 – Rep. Chuck Soderberg, R-Le Mars (unopposed)
District 6 – Rep. Ron Jorgensen, R-Sioux City (unopposed)
District 8 – Rep. Henry Rayhons, R-Garner (unopposed)
District 10 – Rep. Tom Shaw, R-Laurens (unopposed)
District 11 – Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake (unopposed)
District 13 – Rep. Jeremy Taylor, R-Sioux City (in the only two incumbent House race, against Democrat Chris Hall)
District 14 – Gregg Grupp, R-Sioux City
District 15 – Rep. Mark Brandenburg, R-Council Bluffs
District 16 – Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs
District 17 – Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley (unopposed)
District 18 – Rep. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig
District 19 – Rep. Ralph Watts, R-Adel
District 20 – Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield
District 21 – Rep. Jack Drake, R-Griswold
District 22 – Rep. Greg Forristall, R-Macedonia (unopposed)
District 23 – Mark Costello, R-Imogene (unopposed)
District 24 – Rep. Cecil Dolecheck, R-Mount Ayr (unopposed)
District 25 – Rep. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola
District 27 – Rep. Joel Fry, R-Osceola (unopposed)
District 38 – Rep. Kevin Koester, R-Ankeny
District 40 – Mike Brown, R-Urbandale
District 42 – Rep. Peter Cownie, R-West Des Moines (opponent dropped out)
District 43 – Rep. Chris Hagenow, R-Windsor Heights
District 44 – Rob Taylor, R-West Des Moines
District 47 – Rep. Chip Baltimore, R-Boone
District 48 – Sen. Rob Bacon, R-Maxwell (making a Senate to House move after getting paired with Bill Dix in redistricting)
District 49 – Rep. Dave Deyoe, R-Nevada
District 50 – Rep. Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford (unopposed)
District 51 – Rep. Josh Byrnes, R-Osage
District 54 – Rep. Linda Upmeyer, R-Garner (unopposed)
District 56 – Rep. Bob Hager, R-Dorchester
District 58 – Rep. Brian Moore, R-Zwingle
District 60 – Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls
District 66 – Rep. Renee Schulte, R-Cedar Rapids
District 67 – Rep. Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha
District 68 – Rep. Nick Wagner, R-Marion
District 75 – Rep. Dawn Pettengill, R-Mount Auburn
District 78 – Rep. Jarad Klein, R-Keota (unopposed)
District 79 – Rep. Guy Vander Linden, R-Oskaloosa
District 84 – Rep. Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant (unopposed)
District 88 – Rep. Tom Sands, R-Wapello
District 91 – Rep. Mark Lofgren, R-Muscatine
District 92 – Rep. Ross Paustian, R-Walcott
District 94 – Rep. Linda Miller, R-Bettendorf
District 96 – Rep. Lee Hein, R-Monticello (unopposed)
District 97 – Rep. Steve Olson, R-DeWitt

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