Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Deadline Day Grab-Bag

5:00 tonight is county filing deadline. All that's left is the possibility of last minute surprises, as the announced candidates have turned their papers in.

Democrat Mike Carberry filed for the Board of Supervisors Monday, joining incumbent Janelle Rettig and first time candidate Lisa Green-Douglass. The top two go on to November to face Republican incumbent John Etheredge, who filed Tuesday. There are no other announced Republicans, though someone could show up today or the party could nominate a second candidate at a convention before August 27.

Independents/third parties can also file during an August 4 - August 27 window. That means the Libertarians can't file yet, but they did announce a slate at their recent state convention. They have an Iowa House candidate in a Dubuque County district (I mean OTHER than Steve Drahozal, who ran as a Libertarian in 2000 but says he's a Democrat now).

Also filing yesterday, as planned, was incumbent county attorney Janet Lyness, who faces a Democratic primary challenge from John Zimmerman. Lyness capped off the day with a successful-looking fundraiser in Coralville. Candidates and electeds spotted: Rettig and Green-Douglass, Lonny Pulkrabek and Rod Sullivan (who aren't up this year), state senate candidate Kevin Kinney, and Mitch Gross of the Coralville city council.

Another primary challenge seems to be ending before it really began. Jaron (Ron) Varner called me yesterday. Varner filed in the House District 85 Democratic primary, challenging Rep. Vicki Lensing. He said that after filing, he reconsidered his priorities and the demands of a campaign. Varner told me he sent the dropout paperwork by overnight mail to the Secretary of State's office on Tuesday the 18th, a day before the dropout deadline. Via Facebook:
Last Monday, somebody told me that he'd heard I had died. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I replied, "No, I am very much alive! I'm going to law school, running for Congress... I'm doing very well." After I had left, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I remembered how, while still in the hospital after my stroke, my blood pressure would rise whenever I talked about my company or my nonprofit. Then, I considered the insurmountable amount of stress that awaited me while running for office. Then I had a moment of clarity, I respectfully withdrew my name from the ballot. Getting on the ballot, in itself, was a win for me. This time last year, I could not tie my shoes. This past few weeks has shown me what I am made of, as well as what I am capable of. Of the 50 signatures needed, I received 80. Thank you ALL, once again, for the prayers and encouragement. I plan to focus on finishing school, improving my health and wellness, my nonprofit, my family & my career. Then, when the time is right, perhaps I will give it another go. I pray that my testimony might encourage you to pursue your dreams, no matter your circumstances. Lord knows you all have encouraged me.

Love & Light!

"You know it's real when you are who you think you are."
But this statement flew way below the radar, harder to find because the candidate filed as "Ron" but posted under his full name "Jaron." On Friday, attorney Paul McAndrew, a district resident and a but of a ballot access watchdog (he filed the 2012 challenge to Joe Seng's papers) objected to Varner's paperwork, finding only 45 signatures within the district. A hearing is scheduled for 11:30 today.

The call yesterday was my first direct contact with Varner. He seems like a decent enough guy and I hope he stays involved at a lower stress level than candidate (I can vouch for that).

The challenge to Varner's paperwork isn't the only litigiousness in Des Moines. Three candidates - or rather one candidate and two are they or aren't they candidates - are challenging various decisions. Would-be GOP Senate Candidate Paul Lunde and Democrat "Iowa Party" Democrat Jonathan Narcisse for governor are suing to challenge their exclusion. 

Meanwhile, state senate candidate Ned Chiodo is appealing the decision to leave Democratic primary rival Tony Bisignano ON the ballot. Chiodo is arguing that Bisignano's second offense OWI is an "infamous crime" taking away his voting rights - an argument that could cost thousands of Iowans the right to vote if he prevails. The winner in all this may be Nathan Blake, the third candidate in the race.

The legalities are coming up against a tight deadline. In just 24 days, on April 19, overseas and military ballots have to go out, and in person voting starts five days later on the 24th.

Finally, from the Where Are They Now file: Former one term Republican Rep. Jeremy Taylor is running for the Woodbury County board of supervisors. Taylor won his House term in 2010, but lost to Democrat Chris Hall in the only 2012 member vs. member redistricting pairup that went all the way to the general election.

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