Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Narcissists Are Back

Senate Seven Sees Sore Loser

He's ba-aaaack: Following through on a Monday announcement, gadfly and ex-school board member Jonathan Narcisse has revived his "Iowa Party" label from 2010 and filed for governor today. His running mate is one Michael Richards, presumably not of Seinfeld fame.

For his sake, I hope Narcisse remembered to write "governor" on every page of his petitions. That shortcoming kept Narcisse off the Democratic primary ballot. He threatened to follow through as a write-in, but there was scant evidence of an effort.

Narcisse ran stronger in 2010 than people remember, pulling more than 20,000  votes for 1.86%. That's just a couple thousand votes short of the magic 2% that would earn the "Iowa Party" full political party status, with a box on the voter form and a primary in June 2016. Suggested logo for the Narcissists: a vanity mirror.

The Iowa Party had only one other candidate in 2010, and the connection between him and Narcisse was in name only. A full-status party with full ballot access but no actual organization can be taken over by anybody, and used for pretty much anything, pretty easily. The 1998 primary of the orphaned Reform Party drew just 395 voters statewide, and that was with a three way governor primary. In 2002, the Greens had an actual organization and drew 439 voters who wanted to Make A Statement, as they had no contested races. Many counties had no voters at all in these primaries.

Other factoids from the first two days of filing:

I'm a firm believer that when you buy into the process and run in a primary, you agree to abide by the choice. And many states have so-called "sore loser" laws that keep defeated primary candidates from running in November. But Iowa does not, and Senate 7 Democratic Primary loser Maria Rundquist has filed for the same seat as an independent.

Jim France beat Rundquist in a close but low turnout primary, 599 to 483. There's little discernible precinct pattern, as more than half the vote was cast early and the precinct results looked more like baseball scores than basketball scores. Rundquist is Hispanic while France is Anglo, which may or may not be a factor.

Senate 7 is a key race for both parties. It was an open seat Republican gain in 2010, with Rick Bertrand winning a contentious race by just 222 votes. A People's Front of Judea splitter! makes a Democratic gain harder.

Democrats might have benefited from a split Republican vote in southern Iowa House 80. Jared Godby,who clerked for Pat Grassley and then interned for grandpa Chuck, is running an independent campaign here against GOP freshman Larry Sheets. But, after a serious disappointment in 2012 when Joe Judge fell just 110 votes short in the open, new in redistricting seat, Democrats now have no candidate.

In open House District 10, the Tom Shaw seat, it looked like former GOP senator Mike Sexton was going to walk in without a primary or general election opponent.  Libertarian Lynne Gentry will prevent that. (Still no Democrat, in the seat that belonged to Dolores Mertz four years ago.) Also filing for the LP: Keith Laube in the state treasurer race.

I missed one of the Some Dudes in the US Senate race, and he filed Monday: Rick Stewart, who's biking around the state and appears to occupy an old hippie lefty libertarian niche.

Also missed one of the Republican convention nominees: Thomas Hess in House 34, picked last week at the same convention that nominated Jonathan Lochman in overlapping Senate 17. Both are veterans, but other than that Hess appears to meet one of the official definitions of Some Dude: " If you Google Some Dude's name, you'll find very little information-probably just the news article or blog post where they were first mentioned as a possible candidate." Hess will have an uphill fight against incumbent Bruce Hunter in this solid Democratic seat.

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