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Friday, June 27, 2008

Price of Politics: No special session?

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics

I'm still trying to figure out what to make of a late afternoon
meeting at the Iowa Statehouse today. Democratic and Republican
leaders, their staffs, Lt. Governor Patty Judge, Homeland Security
Administrator Dave Miller and representatives from FEMA all met for a
little more than an hour. The participants told me they heard
primarily about numbers... flood damage, houses affected, etc. But
afterwards, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said a special
session may not be necessary (House Speaker Pat Murphy seemed to
agree). Governor Chet Culver has said previously he may call lawmakers
back into special session so they could best figure out how to pay for
the state's share of flood recovery efforts. It felt like news. Why
was Gronstal saying this?

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John Deeth Blog: No drama expected at Dems state convention

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The Iowa Democratic Party's state convention looks a lot less dramatic
now than it did from the perspective of late April. The primary
season, after a six-week hiatus, had just kicked into high gear again
with Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania win, yet Barack Obama had math on
his side. Every delegate seat was filled at Iowa's April 26
congressional district conventions, and it looked like the June 14
state convention could be a fight-to-the-death battle for some of the
last available national delegates. Never before had those late in the
game delegates meant so much. But everything has changed.

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Essential Estrogen: Braley and Loebsack go to bat for broken railroad bridges

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Iowa Congressmen Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, both Democrats
representing flood-ravaged eastern Iowa, are requesting federal
support for state railroad bridges that were destroyed by flood
waters. The Cedar River Bridge that serves Penford in Cedar Rapids was
destroyed when the Cedar River flooded this month. Flooding in eastern
Iowa destroyed three railroad bridges: the Iowa Northern Bridge in
Waterloo, the Cedar River Bridge in Cedar Rapids and the Iowa, Chicago
& Eastern Bridge near Columbus Junction. Loebsack, who represents the
2nd Congressional District that includes Cedar Rapids and Columbus
Junction, and Braley, who represents the 1st Congressional District
that includes Waterloo, have penned a joint letter to U.S. House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi to request that the bridges be quickly repaired
and destroyed.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Radio Iowa: McCain hires state director

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

This release today from the McCain camp's Dave Roederer, the chairman
of McCain's Iowa campaign through the Caucuses: "Dear Fellow Iowan, It
has been, and will continue to be, an honor to serve as Chairman of
Senator McCain's Iowa campaign. Iowa is going to be a key battleground
state and I look forward to helping Senator McCain bring his message
of government reform, lower taxes, and American security to all
Iowans. Our organization in this state continues to grow and I am
pleased to announce that Charlie Liebschutz has joined the team as the
campaign's Iowa State Director. Charlie and I will be working closely
to expand our grassroots effort, which will be so critical in helping
all Iowans to understand the substantive differences that exist
between John McCain and Barack Obama."

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Iowa Independent: Dems who switched FISA vote brought in more telecom cash

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Democratic U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, who represents Iowa's Third
Congressional District and who last week voted to amend the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), received $10,000 in
campaign contributions from the nation's largest telecommunications
companies this year. The telecommunication industry was a huge
supporter of the bill, which includes a provision that could grant
telecom companies that cooperated with the government's warrantless
electronic surveillance program retroactive legal immunity. In March,
the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity. But
last week, 94 Democratic lawmakers, including Boswell, switched their
positions and the bill which included immunity passed.

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Krusty Konservative: There is no Rainy Day Fund

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

From the Register: "Some say the decision is a no-win for lawmakers.
If they use the money, they might have to break promises or raise
taxes to pay for the estimated $500 million built into future budgets
as planned additional expenses." ... Here's a thought: Make it against
the law for the legislature and governor to dip into the Rainy Day
Fund, the Senior Living Trust Fund, and the State's Infrastructure
Fund. Being an elected official isn't just eating free ice cream
sundaes in the cafeteria, you're elected to make tough decisions. So
we either need to make it illegal to touch these funds in
non-emergency situations, or spend all $620 million so they can't play
these games next year. Iowa's balanced budget law is worthless if we
allow our elected officials to cook the books by dipping into these
funds.

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Bleeding Heartland: How demoralized are the Republicans?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Very demoralized, judging by Steve King's latest comments to the
press: "Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King said a lack of
enthusiasm in the Republican Party will make it difficult for the GOP
to regain control of the U.S. House." ... I wouldn't be surprised if
Republican turnout in King's own district this November is
substantially down on 2004 levels, because John McCain has never been
popular with hard-core conservatives. Less than a week remains in the
second fundraising quarter--go give some cash to Rob Hubler, who is
challenging King. So the U.S. House races don't look great for
Republicans. What about the Senate? Well, Senator John Ensign of
Nevada chairs the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, and he
said two weeks ago that losing only three Senate seats "would be a
terrific night for us, absolutely."

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Radio Iowa: Nussle has a book plan

Excerpted from this post at Radio Iowa

Former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle spoke with me yesterday by phone
from his Washington, D.C. office. Nussle, as you may know, is
President Bush's budget director. ... I asked Nussle if he would do the
same. Here's the transcript of that portion of the conversation:
Henderson: "Scott McClellan wrote a book. Are you going to write a
book?" Nussle: "Good question. You know, I haven't thought about that
and in fact I have the one book that I have outlined and have been
outlining myself has nothing to do practically or technically with my
time here at OMB or at the White House, so that's probably a short
answer of no, I don't have any plans to write a book about the White
House Experience, but I have always had this desire to write a book
and I've done some outlining, but it's not ready for prime time yet."

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Iowa Political Alert: Hubler: Fighting domestic abuse a 'family values' issue

Excerpted from this post at BLOGNAME

Western Iowa Democratic congressional candidate Rob Hubler says
domestic abuse services in this part of the state have been depleted
more than in other sections of the Hawkeye State. Hubler, a retired
Presbyterian minister from Council Bluffs, is framing this as a
"family values" issue in his race against U.S. Rep. Steve King,
R-Kiron. "In my first pastorate, twenty years ago, I anticipated I
would be marrying, counseling, burying, and generally guiding the
flock in the church," Hubler said. "I knew even in 1988 that the rural
economy is always a challenge to those that live there. I knew that
life always presents problems that test daily living. What I never
expected was the frequency that I encountered relationships involving
physical and mental abuse situations."

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The Real Sporer: Wayne Ford promotes cultural apartheid

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

It sounds like Wayne Ford's has again waived the racism flag about the
State Fair. Rep. Ford is back in the news just two weeks after his
outburst that Des Moines' flood control system is racially biased so
as to leave Des Moines' blacker and poorer neighborhoods vulnerable.
Rep. Ford thought he had an opportunity to race bait of Katrina
proportions on his hands. It turned out that Iowans' weren't buying
that nonsense so Rep. Ford has found a new source by which to peddle
the politics of division. Rep. Ford thinks the State Fair musical
entertainment is too white, a complaint he has raised in the past.
Apparently, Rep. Ford believes that some form of quota is necessary
for the entertainment fare at the Fair although he never says what
value is thereby served. Apparently only the race of the performer is
significant.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Battleground Iowa: Gronstal: Pay no attention to that man preparing to steal more power

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

There has been a lot of talk about the best way to finance
flood/tornado recovery in Iowa and about what role the state should
play in that recovery. The argument in the blogosphere has turned into
a debate about how much money the state will be expected to provide,
which no one knows yet. That's just the point. No one knows yet.
Unfortunately, some have tried to steer the argument in this direction
and away from the true focus of my posts last week. The real issue we
need to look at right now is this: Why make a major change in Iowa law
by allowing the state to openly go into debt when we don't even know
yet how much money the state will need? Why is Gronstal even
suggesting such a drastic measure so early in the recovery process?

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Popular Progressive: Mason, Bailey, council, and city manager shine in time of crisis

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

The flood of 2008 is rapidly becoming a memory for many in Iowa City,
but for those impacted most severely, the results will be felt for a
long time to come. Credit is due for the handling of the evacuation
and flood relief efforts by the City council and, particularly, Mayor
Regenia Bailey, and City Manager Michael Lombardo. They have been
working tirelessly to make sure that city services did their best to
stave the flooding and, more importantly, to insure that residents
were safe. Certainly there are questions to be answered about the
flood plain designations and this, hopefully, will lead to redrawing
the maps so that either a) persons living in those areas will have
flood insurance or b) FEMA/city will purchase those parcels and reduce
the likelihood that families will go through what the folks in
Idyllwild, Normandy Dr., Thatcher/Maculis Trailer Park and other areas
experienced.

Iowa Independent: State's oldest black newspaper urges firing of commission official

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

An Iowa Bystander commentary has called for the ouster of the top
official at the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans,
citing concerns with his leadership and role in the commission
spending $75,000 on a disparity study in Davenport. The commentary's
headline read "Time for a change: Fire Abraham Funchess." It slammed
the commission's division administrator for his "lack of leadership"
in the commission's Ongoing Covenant with Black Iowa (OCBI), which is
a five-year project to improve the lives of blacks in 10 cities. The
article stated Funchess is "one of the nicest people you'll meet in
Iowa" but stated he isn't qualified to do his job and lacks the
leadership skills necessary to lead the OCBI effort and the
commission.

Monday, June 23, 2008

John Deeth Blog: Flood survivors seek answers in Iowa City

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

A meeting between federal and city officials and residents of the
flooded out Normandy Drive area of Iowa City started out folksy
Saturday, but grew more tense as answers grew less specific. The more
than 250 residents were more than happy with Dave Loebsack (pictured
above with neighborhood resident Steve McGuire), offering applause for
the congressman's physical labor sandbagging the neighborhood.
Loebsack announced that he had canceled a visit to Iraq and
Afghanistan that was scheduled for next month to focus on flood
relief. "For some months to come, the district staff and I will be
working almost exclusively on this," he said. "It's going to be a long
process, no doubt about it. I know what I'm doing when I'm back (in
the district.) It won't be sandbagging, but it'll be cleanup."

FromDC2Iowa: Change we can no longer believe in

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Obama: No Longer "Change We Can Believe In"? ... I really doubt that
there will be many of Senator Barack Obama's supporters who will stay
home, let alone vote for Senator John McCain, because of Obama's
recent flip-flops on major issues. And apparently he's counting on
that as well since he's just left $85 million of public money on the
table. But can he now continue to count on his supporters' continued
financial support, and enthusiastic campaigning, between now and
November? That has become more problematical. As anecdotal evidence, a
friend has shared with me an email she received from an Obama
supporter in California that reported, "Barack Obama owes me $600.43.
I sent him my (federal government economic) stimulus rebate with the
proviso that if he opted out of public finance he should return my
contribution. I enclosed a self-addressed envelope with a 43 cent
stamp attached."

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Friday, June 20, 2008

State 29: Ed Fallon: "I walk a lonely road..."

Excerpted from this post at State 29

This blog correctly predicted that Ed Fallon was going to lose in his
attempt to wrestle the Democratic nomination away from Leonard
Boswell. Funny how you don't hear any Democrats waxing on about how
being against the war is a political advantage. After all, Fallon is
against all wars and Boswell voted for the war in Iraq. Now, it seems,
Fallon is begging other Democrats to bail him out of $35,000 worth of
campaign debt. I don't know why the Republican Party of Iowa doesn't
approach Fallon and promise to pay off his debt in exchange for
running as a hardcore, anti-war, left-wing independent candidate
against Democrat Tom Harkin in November. That might look a little
weird, seeing how the RPI has to throw money at yet another lousy
Senate candidate (some loser name Christopher Reed).

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Politically Speaking: Culver won't make Obama event

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Barack Obama is holding a discussion with Democratic governors
tomorrow in Chicago, but Iowa Gov. Chet Culver won't make the event.
Obama wants to discuss non-Washington centered ways to pump up the
economy, so he's going to pick the brains of governors. Dealing with
the flooding situation in Iowa, however, will prevent Culver from
participating with the Dem Party presumptive presidential nominee.
Culver has been playing his schedule close to the vest, not going out
beyond the next day. We just learned at 5:30 p.m. that he'll be
kicking off an agricultural flood damage tour tomorrow morning at
roughly the same time Obama holds his event. Then Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty
Judge and Iowa ag industry officials will have more sessions
throughout the state.

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Krusty Konservative: Culver should fire Patrick Dillon for his comments about John McCain

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Outside of the comments made by Wally Horn (Iowa's version of Ray
Nagin) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal's (Iowa's version of
Kathleen Blanco) opportunistic push to raise taxes and have the state
spend it self into dept, I have been impressed with out leaders at the
state, local and national level. The federal government's response has
been much better than Katrina. There is no doubt in my mind that Iowa
is benefiting from Jim Nussle's position as the OMB Director and his
closeness to the President in this great time of need. Governor Culver
has stepped up, and Senators Grassley and Harkin have preformed well.
Unfortunately, my opinion was changed when Governor Culver's office
released to the media that John McCain disregarded Culver's request to
stay away from the flooded communities.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Iowa Insider: Culver lays out the welcome mat for Bush

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Insider

The day before President Bush is set to tour flood damage in Iowa,
Gov. Chet Culver said he wants the federal government to pick up the
entire tab for emergency response efforts and debris removal related
to the disaster. "As governor, I am committed to doing whatever it
takes to help rebuild our state," Culver said in a statement. "Over
the past three weeks, I have seen the strength and resilience of
Iowans firsthand. I know we can meet the challenges that this year's
severe weather has created, but we can't do it alone." Typically, the
costs of a natural disaster are shared among federal, state and local
governments, but Culver cited the magnitude of the flooding disaster
and its costs as a reason the federal government should pay a larger
share.

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Iowa Defense Alliance: Another gem from Gronstal

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

As if making the claim that he wanted to keep the option of sending
the State of Iowa into debt to pay for recovery efforts. Senator
Gronstal has once again opened his mouth and manure has spilled out.
According to an article on Channel 8's website, Gronstal now wants to
raise the gas tax to pay for recovery efforts. Yes you read that
right, yesterday he wanted to go into debt, today he wants to raise
taxes. ... Evidently Senator Gronstal does not understand that the
government needs to tighten its belt in tough times. He needs to learn
that the citizens of this great state are not the government's private
piggy bank that he can reach into anytime that he wants to raise more
money.

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Bleeding Heartland: Hey, Republicans: I dare you to run with these talking points

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I don't spend a lot of time reading conservative blogs, but my brief tour around Iowa's Republican blogosphere yesterday revealed acute concern about the prospect of a special legislative session to address the recent historic flooding in much of the state. We have thousands of Iowans needing assistance with housing, as well as huge clean-up and reconstruction tasks. But the Flyover Country blog is convinced that the nasty Democrats are talking about a special session solely to reap political benefits. That blogger sees Democratic efforts to "politicize the floods" everywhere he looks.

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FromDC2Iowa: To live like a Republican you have to vote like a Democrat

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Unions and Iowa's Economic Growth... A Republican friend of mine and I
have a good number of disagreements on public policy -- along with a
surprising number of agreements. My friend is very hostile towards
unions. I am not. But the other day they were arguing that not only
were unions bad for the country, they are also bad for workers, for
whom they've never done anything but take union dues and keep corrupt
officers in power. Today's topic involves both a confirmation and a
confession of error. I have often written here of the hypocrisy and
inconsistency of those Iowa leaders who simultaneously (a) bemoan the
departure of Iowa's best and brightest for greener pastures and search
for ways to retain them, while (b) continuing Iowa's hostile,
anti-union practices.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bleeding Heartland: How to finance Iowa's massive flood costs

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

There seem to be two distinct ideas emerging for financing the massive
reconstruction project Iowa will have to enact to deal with the tragic
and disastrous floods we've experienced this spring (on a quick side
note, I sure hope that summer fares us better). The first is to tap
into the state's so-called "rainy day" fund (no pun was intended, I'm
sure) and the other is to borrow money and essentially create debt.
Both are the logical responses to a natural disaster of this
magnitude. I think it was a Johnson County emergency management
official who said this was "our own Katrina." Whether he meant that
in terms of sheer destruction or bad planning or reactions to the
event, I'm not sure. But the statement still leaves an impact.

Iowa Defense Alliance: Gronstal calls for debt option

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

I am sorry to do this. I was really wanting to stay away from politics
until after the floodwaters had completely receded from Iowa. However
the words of Iowa Senate Minority leader Mike Gronstal has changed all
that. In comments that Senator Gronstal made recently in regards to
the recovery efforts from the Flood of 2008, he said that the state
should not rule out as an option, taking out loans to pay for the
recovery efforts. Hasn't those that wield the power in our government
learned that you have to pay your debts eventually. Doesn't he realize
that if the state of Iowa were to go into debt today to pay for our
recovery efforts then it would be our children that would end up
having to pay for it. It is obvious to me that tax and spend Mike has
absolutely no fiscal responsibility, at least when someone else's
money is at stake.

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Krusty Konservative: Sen. Wally Horn is only koncerned for Democrat flood victims

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

The Governor's office has been hosting konference kalls every kouple
of days, for Lt. Governor Patty Judge to update Legislators on the
flood situation across the state. Yesterday Sen. Wally Horn
interrupted Patty by screaming, "These are good loyal Democrats, and
they need our help." He repeated that statement several time during
the call, but only the first time did he interrupt the Lt. Governor to
say it. Horn's Senate District kovers the downtown and the area to the
south of the Cedar River. I understand that this is a difficult time,
heck yesterday we were all shocked to see a picture of a state trooper
with his sidearm drawn and aimed at the occupant of a pickup.
Apparently the man wanted to get his pets from his flood ravaged home.
This is a time for people like Senator Horn to step up and provide
leadership.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Iowa Independent: Spared by flooding, Western Iowa poised to prosper from inflated commodity prices

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

With floodwaters ravaging much of Iowa's farmland, and other
grain-producing areas of the world facing their own problems, swaths
of western Iowa that have been largely spared Mother Nature's wrath
stand poised to reap unprecedented rewards from corn and soybean
prices that may hit once-unthinkable heights. "There could be some
phenomenal results," said David Leiting, general manager of the FAC
Farmers Cooperative Elevator in Arcadia, located between Carroll and
Denison. "The fact is that's really true," added Dennis Molitor,
director of the Carroll County Office of the Iowa State University
Extension Service. "The exceptions are those by rivers or streams.
Overall and in general we (west-central Iowa) are really fortunate."

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Battleground Iowa: Gronstal using flood tragedy to gain access to more $$$

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

Before the waters have even receded, Supreme Iowa Democrat Mike
Gronstal is already tipping his hand. Chet has indicated there will
likely be a special session of the legislature to deal with
flood-related issues. Gronstal has already said he's ready for the
state to go into debt to pay for flood damages. While I understand
that the flood damages will be enormous, I still think it is premature
and irresponsible of Gronstal to be making comments such as this. Why
not wait and see exactly how much damage there is? Why not wait and
see how many people had flood insurance that will pay for their
expenses? Why not wait and see what the federal government will do?
Are we assuming that the government will bail out all those who live
in a flood plain and didn't have the foresight to buy their own
insurance?

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Bleeding Heartland: Support Rob Hubler against Steve King

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Steve King likes nothing better than to stake out a conservative
position on a hot-button social issue. I learned yesterday from the
One Iowa advocacy group that this week Congressman King "has
introduced a Federal Constitutional Amendment to codify discrimination
and ban same sex marriages nationwide." Please consider donating to
Democrat Rob Hubler's Congressional campaign. Even though Iowa's fifth
district has a partisan index of R+8, turnout among hard-line
conservatives may be depressed this November. John McCain has little
organization in Iowa, and he is not popular with the anti-immigration
wingnuts. Many moderate Republicans are embarrassed by King, so
perhaps they would be open to ticket-splitting.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

24-Hour Dorman: Culver kudos

Excerpted from this post at 24-Hour Dorman

I know I've made fun of our Big Lug, aka Chet Culver, in the
governor's office a few too many times, but I think he's done a good
job in recent weeks showing Iowans that he's on the job when disaster
strikes. Sure, a cynic like myself has to admit there are clear
political benefits for an elected official to show up for photo-ops
amid the rubble or a chopper ride over swollen rivers, complete with
flight jacket. And, honestly, recovery operations go on whether he or
she shows up or not. But we expect our leaders to give a damn when
we're hurting, and Culver has shown skill in that role. He's
crisscrossed the state in recent weeks, surveying the damage, lending
comfort to victims and promising that state government is awake and
working.

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Iowa Independent: Northey: Many farmers facing 'disaster'

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Many farmers in Iowa are facing a disaster as storms and floods have
damaged crops across much of the state. In a telephone interview
Friday, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey told Iowa
Independent that corn and soybean crops in Iowa are under serious
stress because of incessant rain and flooding. "Certainly some
producers are impacted much more than others, and not all areas of the
state are impacted the same way. But when you look individually in
many cases and collectively, this is a disaster," said Northey. "I
don't know how to rank it compared to others in the past, and I don't
think most producers care one way or the other. They know what their
losses are and that's what's important to them.

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Bleeding Heartland: Leonard Boswell does not need your money

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I received a fundraising letter from Congressman Leonard Boswell's
campaign recently. It contained a healthy dose of the misleading spin
I have come to expect from Boswell's mailings this year. I'm not going
to retype the whole text, but this passage made me laugh (emphasis is
in the original): "My republican opponent has had four months to raise
money and plan for the general election; an election that I am only
able to focus my attention on now. While I was competing against an
opponent for the Democratic nomination, the republicans were getting
ready to once again challenge us in this competitive district. This
time they have the advantage of a large head start." Get real. Iowa's
third Congressional district is not on the National Republican
Congressional Committee's list of 2008 targets.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Iowa Independent: Harkin: Emergency federal appropriation may be needed in storms' aftermath

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Saying "the worst may not be behind us" with severe weather, U.S. Sen.
Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, today said an emergency federal appropriation may
be in order to assist the state with the effects of devastating storms
and flooding. "This is a disaster and our federal government should
respond," Harkin said. In a conference call this morning Harkin said
he would seek to work with the Bush Administration on any necessary
federal designations and funding for Iowa in the wake of tornadoes and
flooding that have reminded Iowans of 1993. His office has been in
regular contact with FEMA and other officials, Harkin said.

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Battleground Iowa: More smoking ban controversy

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

It appears that more drama related to the smoking ban is brewing. An
administrative rules committee was supposed to vote this week on the
approval of certain administrative rules that would more clearly
define the smoking ban and provide more details about its
implementation. Certain people are upset about how the proposed rules
define bars versus restaurants. This is important because, under the
law, bars can allow smoking on outdoor patios, but restaurants can't.
Under the proposed rules, if you serve any type of food more
complicated than a frozen pizza, you are considered a restaurant, and
therefore can't allow smoking on outdoor patios.

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Iowa Progress: What Boswell's win means

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

More than a week after the primary, it's time to put Leonard Boswell's
victory over Ed Fallon into perspective. While the Fallon campaign is
claiming "a partial victory," the facts don't bear out the silver
lining that Fallon is trying to discern from his defeat. (Although
after such a devastating loss, one certainly can understand while
Fallon is looking for a silver lining). Fallon seems to think that his
primarying Boswell was the reason Leonard Boswell's voting record
suddenly improved in 2007. However, Fallon didn't have anything to do
with it. Nancy Pelosi did. Democrats taking control of the House of
Representatives meant that Republicans weren't able to bring bills up
that would place Democrats in swing districts like Boswell in tough
positions.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Iowa Independent: Party platforms show stark differences

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

The Iowa Democratic and Republican party conventions are Saturday, and
draft copies of the party platforms offer a glimpse of just how
different the rival parties view the role of government. Work on the
platform drafts has been going on since the precinct caucuses in
January. The process will finish this weekend at the state
conventions, where the platforms will be debated, possibly rewritten
and eventually ratified. Observers are quick to point out that the
platforms are drafted by party activists and not elected officials, so
they usually represent views that are more extreme than those of the
majority of the party. For example, in education, the GOP draft favors
teacher- or student-led prayer in public schools, as well as the use
of the Bible as a textbook.

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Krusty Konservative: I'm kurious, George

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Are you going to call for a recount or not? Yesterday after the
kanvass Christopher Reed, had 24,916 votes, Eichhorn had 24,392 votes
and marathon kampaigner Steve Rathje of finished with 21,106 votes.
The question now is will Eichhorn call for a recount and prevent Reed
from using the State Convention this Saturday to rally support for his
campaign. Also of note I have received a handful of emails claiming
that Christopher Reed is not on the agenda to speak at the state
convention, I'm sure it's a typo, especially if Eichhorn doesn't ask
for a recount. While I respect that Eichhorn has every right to ask
for the recount the best outcome that he kould get would be for it to
go to konvention, another battle that he would lose.

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Politically Speaking: Politics with pancakes, the same day

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Some see same-day voter registration and see the broadening of the
electoral process. Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King, rather,
has grave concerns about the practice. "Same day voter registration
presents the single greatest threat to the validity of our elections,"
King said in a press release today as he announced his hosting of a
Pancakes and Politics on June 14 in Des Moines right before the Iowa
Republican Party state convention. He's promoting spirited political
discussion over syrupy breakfast, and his topics include English as
the official language, energy policy and combating voter fraud in
Iowa.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

HawkeyeGOP: The GOP state convention

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP

I always enjoy the State Convention. The State Convention is an
opportunity to see many of my political friends and make new ones. We
get to hear our candidates and elected officials and their vision for
our party, our state and our nation. It is a great way to get fired up
for the election season. This year's convention should be an
interesting one. First, there remains the possibility that the
convention will select a candidate for US Senate. The vote canvass
should be going on right now but an interesting wrinkle is that
flooding may have an effect on the canvass. As one example, the Floyd
County courthouse (Charles City) is underwater.

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John Deeth Blog: Canvasses change few votes in close primary

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

County canvasses on Monday and Tuesday changed few votes in two close
Republican contests from last week's primary. Christopher Reed held
both his lead in the U.S. Senate race over George Eichhhorn and, more
importantly, his percentage above the required 35 percent. Canvass
numbers had Reed at 24,916 votes, for 35.26 percent. Eichhorn had
24,392 votes, for 34.52 percent. Third place candidate Steve Rathje
won 21,106 votes, for 29.87 percent. The 249 write-ins keep those
percentages from adding to 100. News reports on election night had
Reed with 25,159 votes and 35.29 percent, with Eichhorn at 24,756 and
34.71 percent.

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Iowa Progress: An apology to Ed Fallon

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

Some of the posts on this blog got to be a bit overly negative towards
Ed Fallon during the primary. In particular, a post that compared
Fallon to Benedict Arnold for his endorsement of Ralph Nader in 2000.
In retrospect, Fallon clearly learned his lesson from his endorsement
of Ralph Nader in 2000 and accepted his defeat in last week's primary.
The same however cannot be said of William Meyers. William Meyers is
an ex-Marine who has been using his government disability pay to allow
himself to be a full time candidate for Congress over the past year.
Meyers, as an outsider who didn't raise any money, finished third in a
four-way primary to be the Democratic nominee in the 4th District
against Tom Latham. Meyers, like most candidates who receive 11% of
the vote, came to the obvious conclusion about why 89% of voters
rejected him. He was robbed.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Uncommon Blog of Iowa: Update on Iowa Senate Race 18

Excerpted from this post at The Uncommon Blog of Iowa

Swati Dandekar (D) vs. Joe Childers (R) ... This upcoming general
election will be about change and many voter throughout the United
States have expressed this through voting, polling and general
discussion. The Senate District 18 is one of the most competitive
races in the state of Iowa. If the Republicans want to get some seats
back in the Iowa Senate this is one of them they must win. Senate
District 18 is currently held by long time State Senator, Mary Lundby
of Marion. She has decided to step down from state politics and focus
on county politics in the coming years and that is why she is running
for Linn County Supervisor in District 4 against Don Gray, Democrat.

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Battleground Iowa: Reed on IPTV

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

U.S. Senate Candidate Christopher Reed was on Iowa Press this weekend
despite the threats of legal action against IPTV from George Eichhorn
who claims the race for the Republican nomination is still in
progress. Since I have yet to hear from the Eichhorn campaign, I guess
it's OK with them that I write this article. If you are looking for a
smooth polished politician, then you are probably disappointed in
Reed's performance. If you are looking for a sincere, thoughtful,
non-politician, then it's pretty clear you have your guy. What most
people need to understand is that you can't have it both ways. Reed
looked great with his ivory coat, white shirt and no tie. It screamed
youth, and anti-Washington.

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Politically Speaking: GOP victor not settled

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

By tomorrow we'll likely know if the Iowa Republican Party state
convention will have some conflict or it will be a point-to-the-fall
lovefest. Still not settled is the U.S. Senate primary, in which three
candidates got at least 29.8 percent of the vote. Today and tomorrow
county boards of supervisors are canvassing votes, which will provide
the official vote totals, including absentee ballots that weren't
received by the June 3 primary. The voting had Christopher Reed of
Marion with 35.2 percent, George Eichhorn of Stratford with 34.65
percent and Steve Rathje of Cedar Rapids with 29.8 percent. If the
lower placers get a few more votes, they could bring Reed's percentage
below 35 percent, which would mean the nomination would be decided at
the state convention on June 14.

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Iowa Independent: Panel of clergy confronts issues of race, Obama and Rev. Wright at Iowa Juneteenth celebration

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

A panel of clergy will discuss issues of race and the controversy
sparked by Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., Democratic Presidential Nominee
Barack Obama's former minister, during an upcoming Juneteenth panel
discussion in Des Moines. "There is no one standard of what the church
is in the African-American community. The variety or diversity of
religion, even within our community, gives way for the need for people
to come together to discuss what it means," said Gary Lawson, founder
and chair of the Iowa Juneteenth Observance. "What happened with
Barack Obama and Wright - what does it mean? The only way to ferret
that out is to discuss it."

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Monday, June 09, 2008

HawkeyeGOP: RPI and the Senate Primary Recount

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP
Today, Ted over at The Real Sporer has a post about SCC treasurer Gopal Krishna refusing to sign checks for recounts in the US Senate and 2nd District primaries. ... I think it would be inappropriate for RPI to pay for recounts in either election. It is unseemly because it gives the impression that RPI is trying (especially in the Senate primary) to help the establishment candidate over the upstart newcomer. Long before I was elected to the SCC I had expressed concern about members publicly endorsing candidates in contested primaries. I think it hurts our party, discourages grassroots activists and allows candidates to question how fairly they will be treated by the party.

Iowa Independent: Postville Mayor: Recovery Could Take Years

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent
Although Postville Mayor Robert Penrod believes his community is slowly working its way back to something akin to life the way it was before a May 12 federal immigration raid on Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant, he also freely admits that it is going to be a slow and perhaps painful process. ... Penrod, who is a full-time employee at a business in a neighboring community in addition to serving as Postville's mayor, wasn't in town on the morning of the raid. He also received no notice before Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swooped in on his town's largest employer and took 389 people -- 18 percent of the town's total population -- into federal custody on possible immigration violations. "The day of the raid it was like a disaster because everything was just in chaos," he said. "I felt that way at the time -- that it was like a disaster area -- but I don't think I feel that way now. We are getting back to normal as much as we can. But the truth is that it's definitely going to take months, if not a few years, to get everything back up to snuff again."

Bleeding Heartland: Will Iowa finally send a woman to Congress this year?

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland
Last year I bristled whenever Hillary Clinton supporters brought up the fact that Iowa and Mississippi are the only two states never to have elected a woman governor or sent a woman to Congress. I understood that they were trying to lower expectations for Hillary in Iowa, and possibly also trying to goad Iowa Democrats into supporting her to "prove" that we aren't sexist. ... Will 2008 be the year Iowa finally leaves Mississippi behind? As challengers facing incumbents, Miller-Meeks and Greenwald go into the general election as underdogs. The partisan lean of the second district (D+7) will be an additional hurdle for Miller-Meeks, especially in a presidential election year. If Barack Obama has coattails anywhere, it will be in the People's Republic of Johnson County (the Iowa City area). Greenwald's district is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans (D+0), but she is facing a seven-term incumbent who sits on the House Appropriations Committee.

Battleground Iowa: Eichhorn Cries Foul

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa
As a commenter pointed out today, there is more drama brewing in GOP U.S. Senate primary. The Register (in an article that has been significantly cleaned-up from the mess it was this morning) is reporting that George Eichhorn’s campaign is threatening to go to court to stop IPTV from airing the taping of the Iowa Press interview with Christopher Reed, the candidate who won the race according to election night results. ... I’m with IPTV on this. As it stands now, Reed won fair and square, and has exceeded the 35% he needs to clinch the nomination. IPTV has offered to interview Eichhorn should the canvass show a different result, which could probably be arranged to be shown the Friday night of convention weekend. In my opinion, this kind of makes Eichhorn look a little petty… like the kid who’s too little to play in the neighborhood sandlot game, so he’s going to run home and get his mommy to come make the big kids let him play.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Essential Estrogen: Braley and Latham differences mirror ongoing national immigration debate

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Braley Demands Tougher Oversight of Agriprocessors, Latham Urges Immigration Reform... Iowa -- in particular the small town of Postville -- is currently at the core of a long-waged public debate on immigration. The federal operation there on May 12, the aftermath of deportations and criminal sentencing, as well as the current silence in relation to the investigation against the employer encompass the multitude of issues surrounding immigration and emotions provoked by such government action. As local residents attempt to work through their own often conflicting viewpoints on both responsibility and reform, they need look no further than two of their own congressmen to see how differently two men can react and respond to the same situation.

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Iowa Independent: Meyers to run as independent in 4th district

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

William Meyers, a former Marine who came in third out of four
candidates Tuesday in the Democratic 4th Congressional District
primary, will run as an Independent this fall against Democrat Becky
Greenwald and Republican incumbent Tom Latham. Meyers said he began
gathering the 300 signatures he needed to get his name on the ballot
for the general election before the primary took place. "We already
have the signatures we need, and we're just waiting for the filing
period to begin to file them," Meyers said in an interview with the
Iowa Independent. "There is still time for the [Democratic] Party to
talk me out of it, but I don't think that's likely."

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Battleground Iowa: Iverson DOES NOT want RPI to pay for US Senate recount

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

Earlier today we received information that Republican Party of Iowa
Chairman Stew Iverson is calling around to members of the Republican
Central Committee urging them to have the State Party pay for the
recount of the U.S. Senate primary vote. That information is was
incorrect. I apologize for putting fourth any misinformation, but I
believed my source was credible and went with it. I still believe
however that the State Party and Iverson would be wise to stay as far
away as possible from the recount situation. Any involvement, even
with the best intentions will cause massive distrust between current
and future candidates running for office under the Republican brand.

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Ben and Bawb's Blog: Iowa GOP fielding ACTUAL conservative?

Excerpted from this post at Ben and Bawb's Blog

Wonders never cease. It appears that the Iowa GOP might actually send
in a true conservative to take on liberal icon Tom Harkin for U.S.
Senate. Christopher Reed (apparently a conservative) squeaked into the
GOP nomination by about 400 votes over his nearest challenger. In the
last go-round six years ago, GOP primary voters narrowly chose
moderate Greg Ganske over conservative ex-Marine Bill Salier. Ganske
now serves as a rug in Harkin's Bahama beach home. Reed got my
attention by earning the endorsement of Gun Owners of America. Since
they don't endorse a candidate in every race, when they do it means
the candidate is a true Second Amendment leader.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

24 Hour Dorman: Profiles in Harkin

Excerpted from this post at 24 Hour Dorman

One day after the race for the Democratic presidential nomination
effectively ended, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa threw his long-awaited
endorsement to the winner, Barack Obama. Harkin told reporters,
according to several news accounts, that his sensitivity to the
passion displayed by backers of Hillary Clinton, including his wife
Ruth Harkin, prompted him to withhold judgment until judgment was
dressed in its jammies and in bed. Other analysts, a.k.a. me, say
Harkin actually supported Clinton all along but was too afraid to say
so after Obama won a historic caucus victory. What would the fired up
kids say if Tommy H joined that square Tommy V on the magic bus back
to the 90s?

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Bleeding Heartland: Challenging incumbents can be worth the effort

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I will write more about the third district primary later this week,
but for now I want to say this: challenging Congressman Leonard
Boswell was a worthwhile effort. This race forced Boswell to work a
little harder on constituent service. To cite just one example,
Windsor Heights is about to get a new zip code, which probably
wouldn't be happening if not for the primary. More important, this
race forced Boswell to move to a better place on several issues of
national importance. If not for Ed Fallon, I doubt Boswell would have
signed on to a strong global warming bill, and I think he would still
be voting for blank checks to fund the war in Iraq.

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Eastern Iowa Conservative: Reed wins

Excerpted from this post at Eastern Iowa Conservative

Congratulations are in order for Christopher Reed, who secured the GOP
Senate nomination, pending a possible recount at the request of George
Eichhorn. Many are complaining about this, but it is certainly within
Mr. Eichhorn's rights to do so according to Iowa election law should
he choose, due to the closeness of the race. Where do we go from here?
No matter what happens in regards to a recount, Reed needs to look
straight ahead and not give it a whole lot of thought. The guy has
some serious catch-up to do. Now between you and me and the wall, I
think we all know that Reed will never catch up to the dollar amount
in Harkin's war chest. That doesn't mean though that he shouldn't go
out there and at least act like he can.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Battleground Iowa: Teahen not ready to give it up?

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

I can't say this is a surprise... Teahen campaign manager Wes Enos is
making public statements that Teahen might request a recount due to
Miller-Meeks' narrow margin of victory last night (109 votes).
However, Enos has said that a final decision on a recount request has
not been made. Enos thinks there could still be some absentee ballots
coming in (okay, maybe a few), but he also mentioned some "election
confusion" in some counties. Huh?!? What the hell does that mean? In
my experience, if there is any confusion on election night in any
particular precinct, generally that precinct doesn't report its
results until the problem has been resolved.

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The Real Sporer: The razor's edge: Reed v. Eichhorn

Excerpted from this post at The Real Sporer

Talk about tiny margins - Chris Reed finished last night with a 413
vote lead over George Eichhorn in the GOP Senate primary. Steve Rathje
is about 3800 votes behind the two leaders. Chris is sitting with
35.29% of the vote so a recount and challenges could very well send
this race to the GOP State Convention on June 14. Now that will be
wild. Given the current mood of the Republican rank and file it would
appear that Chris' outsider status will be popular in a state
delegation that is longing for party reform and regeneration. However,
George is well liked by almost everyone who knows him and is likely to
have dozens if not a hundred or more good friends in the delegation to
work the floor on his behalf.

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Popular Progressive: No election insurrections, but some squeakers

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

Incumbent Democrat senator Tom Harkin may face unheralded Republican
challenger Christopher Reed who won 35.29% of the vote which is likely
to lead to a recount as Iowa law states the winner of a primary must
have earned 35% of the vote to be a party's nominee. In the 2nd
District, Republican congressional candidate, Mariannette Miller-Meeks
of Ottumwa squeaked by Cedar Rapids businessman Peter Teahen to face
unopposed Democrat Dave Loebsack in November. Miller-Meeks won her
race by under 100 votes. In other districts, Dem Bruce Braley, who was
unopposed in the 1st District, will face Republican challenger David
Hartsuch in November.

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John Deeth Blog: Legislative result round up

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The incumbents with challengers all survived and the favored
candidates generally came through in last night's legislative
primaries. Your round up: Senate District 16: High school football has
a 50 point rule, but not so for politics. Republican Dave McLaughlin
gets the blowout of the night award, for an 88 percent to 12 percent
win over Gary Lee Culver, who campaigned little. McLaughlin is a top
tier GOP challenger against incumbent Tom Hancock. Senate District 18:
Republican Joe Childers won handily over Karla Sibert, 72 percent to
28 percent, in his bid to fill Mary Lundby's shoes. This is one of the
Democrat's top pickup chances with Rep. Swati Dandekar.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

John Deeth Blog: Legislative primary scorecard for Tuesday night

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

Between the last Democratic presidential contests, and Iowa's
contested primaries in three congressional districts and the
Republican U.S. Senate race, state legislative races won't be on many
radar screens Tuesday night. But several of the contested primaries in
deep red or dark blue districts will be decisive or nearly decisive..
But several of the contested primaries in deep red or dark blue
districts will be decisive or nearly decisive. Here's the legislative
scorecard for Tuesday night: Senate District 16: In a Republican
primary, Cascade car dealer Dave McLaughlin is favored over Gary Lee
Culver of Wyoming.

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Krusty Konservative: Krusty's 2008 Republican US Senate primary voter guide

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

The Republican nomination for US Senate is a three way battle between
Steve Rathje, Christopher Reed, and George Eichhorn. In all honesty
very little separates the candidates in terms of issues, so the
decision facing the voters today is simply based of personality and
experience. Steve Rathje has been at it the longest, and his time
spent traveling on the county central committee rubber chicken circuit
could pay dividends. However, the popular theory on Rathje is that the
more people know him, the less likely they are to support him. It's
hard to believe that, if Rathje and his 3 year campaign win, it will
be considered an upset. My guess is that Rathje finishes 3rd.

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Bleeding Heartland: Someone is push-polling against Jerry Sullivan in House district 59

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I live in Iowa House district 59, which includes Windsor Heights,
Clive and parts of West Des Moines. Republicans have held this seat
since before I was born, but I am convinced that Windsor Heights Mayor
Jerry Sullivan has a strong chance to flip this district for the
Democrats. Judging from two calls I received in the past 48 hours,
some Republicans are worried about that possibility too. On Sunday
evening I got a robocall from "Survey 2000" claiming to have a brief
30-second survey for me to answer. The first question was whether I
planned to vote in the June 3 Democratic primary. The second was
whether I planned to vote for Jerry Sullivan or Mark Matel in the
primary. Then the push-polling started.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Krusty Konservative: 2nd Congressional candidates at Lincoln Dinner

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Yeah, I know I was supposed to post this yesterday, that when out the
window when I realized that it was a beautiful day. The speaking order
at the Lincoln Dinner for the 2nd Congressional District Candidates
was Lee Harder, Mariannette Miller-Meek, and then Peter Teahen. Well I
guess before we get too far ahead of ourselves, lets talk a little
pre-game. We all know that that campaigns all play some games at these
types of events. It is really what makes it fun. Anyway, one of the
interesting things was that the Miller-Meeks had a campaign table,
Teahen and Harder didn't. I'm also told that Miller-Meeks had a bunch
of her county chairs at the event, and entertained former SOS and
Cedar Rapids Mayor Paul Pate at her table.

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The Demo Memo: Michigan slides by with seated delegates that it didn't deserve

Excerpted from this post at The Demo Memo

The votes of the Michigan and Florida delegations to the 2008
Democratic National Convention will be counted, sort of. Florida's
democrats had no choice in switching their party's nominating contest
sooner than the DNC mandated. The republican majorities in both houses
of that legislature are republican. They decided to move up the
primary despite the warnings issued by the RNC. Even though I'm sure
some leaders in the Florida Democratic Party didn't mind the shift, it
still wasn't fair to the rank-and-file democratic votes of the state,
who most certainly would end up getting short-changed in the long run.
Michigan's democrats, from the office of Governor Jennifer Granholm,
to the craw of Senator Carl Levin, have long coveted an earlier date.

Iowa Political Alert: How a small newspaper outreach could help Obama in rural America

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Political Alert

In its spring edition, the Rural Report leads with a story about the
Barack Obama campaign's success at reaching out to voters in the Iowa
caucuses through community newspapers. At the same time the Center For
Rural Strategies published details on a poll showing presumptive
Republican nominee U.S. John McCain, R-Ariz., with a 9 point lead over
his likely Democratic challenger, Obama, in rural America. There is
much to be learned from the Iowa experience for Obama when it comes to
narrowing that margin. He can start by talking with more community
newspapers in certain states.

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Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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