State Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic of Waterloo has joined the field, announcing Sunday that she’s forming an exploratory committee. She plans to tour the 20-county 1st District to meet with voters before deciding whether to enter the June 2014 Democratic primary election.The hints were there. The necessary precondition of Sen. Jeff Danielson opting out had happened. Then on Wednesday, this tweet:
"Sometimes the riskiest decision we make can turn out to be the best" a friend once told me......No guts no glory? Worked for Kajtazovic before. Don't forget she got into her 2010 race as a primary challenger. Everyone was privately hoping and praying the scandal-hobbled Kerry Burt would go quietly, but only Anesa had the nerve to get into the race. (Burt later quit after the dropout deadline and Kajtazovic crushed him 91% - 9%.)
— Anesa Kajtazovic (@AnesaKajtazovic) July 3, 2013
Kajtazovic also showed up last week at a parade in Toledo - well outside her Waterloo House seat.
Two candidates — Rep. Pat Murphy of Dubuque and Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon – already are running for the nomination to the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for the Senate.I want to get Iowa out of the no-women club with Mississippi, so I crossed Murphy off right away. Even leaving that out, failing to control the Six Pack of conservaDems in 2007-2010, leaving 30 seats without candidates and losing control of the House in `10, and almost losing his own safe Democratic seat are all weak recommendations.
Another two Democrats – former state lawmaker Swati Dandekar of Marion, now a member of the Iowa Utilities Board, and Cedar Rapids attorney Dave O’Brien – are considering the race.
Dandekar burned all her bridges by quitting her seat and risking Senate control in 2011 to take a six figure job with Terry Branstad. Unless she raises big non-Iowa money, I can see her not even getting in.
Vernon seemed OK as a fallback female candidate, but that relatively recent (2009) change from the GOP bothers some activists. Kajtazovic has been a legislator longer than Vernon has been a Democrat. Welcome aboard, Monica, but have you earned a shot straight to the top?
Compared to these folks, Kajtazovic is a rock star. She was on the ground floor with Bruce Braley in his first race. She's the only Waterloo candidate. She's got a great story. She'll be exciting to young voters. The ethnic factor helps - Wateloo's Bosnian community is a bigger deal politically than Dandekar's south Asian community.
If Anesa Kajtazovic follows through, and I really really hope she does, Iowa's 1st CD will be one of the most watched races in the country.