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Friday, October 30, 2009

FromDC2Iowa: Cutting slack, cutting budgets

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Regents, University Presidents, Deserve Some Thanks and Credit ... The sound of one shoe dropping. The Iowa universities' presidents have presented their budget-cutting plans to the Regents, and the Regents have taken some votes. Those who comment on newspapers' online stories are not always known for their civility and graciousness, and they've offered little toward the decisions reported in the stories about yesterday's [Oct. 29] Regents' meeting in Cedar Falls. I've never hesitated to provide free blog advice to the Regents and the UI administration. ... But on this occasion, without agreeing with everything they've done, I think we need to cut the Regents and the three university presidents some slack, and give them thanks and credit for a creative effort at fairness and equity in their execution of the thankless task of deep budget cuts.

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Iowa Independent: Harkin: Lieberman will come around

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

While once again renewing his call that a Congressional health care reform will bill with a public option will be passed and on Pres. Barack Obama's desk by Christmas, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin suggested that there are several reasons why speculation that Connecticut's independent senator would block a bill with a public option won't come to fruition. "There's just a lot of jockeying going on here for all kinds of positions from a few people that are using their position right now to maybe extract other things, to get other things done," Harkin said Thursday morning on a conference call with reporters. Earlier this week, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) suggested that he would support a Republican filibuster if the final Senate bill contains a public option.

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The Iowa Republican: A conservative slate -- Recap of the Sioux City gubernatorial debate

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

While activists may debate the credentials of the Republican candidates for Governor, it seems "conservative values voters" are the focus of the candidates in advance of the primary. At the most recent debate, held in Sioux City on October 27th, the four candidates emphasized their conservative credentials before a large and engaging crowd of 250 to 300 people. Candidates Christian Fong, Rob Roberts, Chris Rants and Bob Vander Plaats impressed many in the crowd with their professionalism and grasp of the issues. Said Linda Holub, a well-known conservative activist, "I was very impressed with all of the candidates. All four gentlemen present a stark contrast to Governor Culver, and I was pleased they championed conservative values that resonate with voters."

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Hawkeye Review: Iowa: The next "zero income tax" state

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

By Gubernatorial Candidate Christian Fong ... Iowa is facing serious challenges. We no longer have a government that reflects the core values that most Iowans share. We are a state where hard work and education no longer pay off the way they should. Now, the state is routinely waking up to headlines of mass layoffs in our cities and towns. The numbers are staggering. One hundred and fourteen thousand unemployed Iowans. Poverty rates that have risen, under Democratic leadership, fourth fastest in the nation this decade. Chronic underpay, with most Iowans making 10-15% less for equivalent jobs than around the region. And the higher the education rate, the bigger the pay gap! This impacts people's ability to turn hard work and education into the Iowa Dream.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Plenty of time for big labor, no time for a special session

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

The Des Moines Register is already commending Governor Chet Culver for
putting a hold on the staff reductions for the Departments of
Corrections and Public Safety. Governor Culver has asked AFSCME
Council 61, the union that represents the largest share of state
workers, to reopen their contracts and agree to pay reductions in
order to prevent the loss of jobs in these two departments. Culver
made his demands known to AFSCME on Tuesday afternoon and has set a
November 6th deadline for the union to respond. While it is good for
Governor Culver look for ways to lessen the effect of his 10 percent
across-the-board cuts, given the length of time it will take to
renegotiate union contracts, it seems odd that the Governor said there
wasn't time to call the legislators back for a special session.

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Bleeding Heartland: Competitive race coming in Iowa Senate district 9

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

First-term Democratic State Senator Bill Heckroth of Waverly announced
yesterday that he will seek re-election in Iowa Senate district 9,
which includes Butler and Bremer counties, along with parts of Black
Hawk and Fayette counties. After the jump I've posted Heckroth's press
release, containing background on his career and his achievements in
the legislature. Senate district 9 is one of the Iowa GOP's better
pickup opportunities next year. Traditionally, Republicans have had a
voter registration edge in this district, although I don't know the
current numbers. Republican Bob Brunkhorst represented Senate district
9 before retiring in 2006. Heckroth won the open-seat contest against
Tom Hoogestraa by a reasonably comfortable margin of 1,346 votes, or
52.4 percent to 46.5 percent. Then again, 2006 was a Democratic wave
election.

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Politically Speaking: King grills NFL head over Rush

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

There's very entertaining reading today as a perfect storm of
politics, sports, news media moguls and pop culture came to a head in
the words of Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King. You want Rush
Limbaugh calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a weasel? It's here. I
never thought I'd hear King namecheck female pop stars J.Lo or Fergie,
but we've got that. King referring to the Iowa Hawk football victory
Saturday over Michigan State to go to 8-0? Oh, yeah. References to
what Limbaugh said about Philly QB Donovan McNabb in 2003? It's all
good. The episode was King grilling Goodell in a U.S. House Judiciary
Committee hearing. Limbaugh so enjoyed King's pointed questioning that
he then held forth, using the "weasel" description for Goodell.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Zaun and Mahaffey considering challenge against Boswell

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

I heard it first from Bleeding Heartland user mirage, and now
IowaPolitics.com confirms that State Senator Brad Zaun is thinking
about challenging Representative Leonard Boswell in Iowa's third
Congressional district next year. ... IowaPolitics.com also quoted
Mike Mahaffey, a former chairman of the Iowa GOP, as saying "he'll
decide by next week whether he will run" against Boswell. He's been
thinking about the race for several months. Mahaffey was the
Republican candidate in IA-03 the first time Boswell won the district
in 1996. However, the district was quite different then and did not
include Polk County. Some political analysts, like Isaac Wood and
Larry Sabato, consider IA-03 potentially competitive but give a strong
advantage to the incumbent. CQ Politics is among the odds-makers who
consider IA-03 a "safe Democratic" seat. I tend to agree that Boswell
is not vulnerable in 2010.

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Iowa Independent: King, colleagues sponsor resolution commemorating '9/12' march on Washington

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) today
introduced -- along with 75 other Republicans -- a resolution to
officially commemorate the 9/12 taxpayer march on Washington. Other
sponsors of H.R. 870 include Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep.
Steve King (R-Iowa.), and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the party's whip.
The odds of passage -- which would demand that Democrats endorse bill
language about "skyrocketing deficits, taxpayer-funded bailouts,
pork-barrel projects, burdensome taxes, unaccountable policy czars,
command-and-control energy policy, and a government takeover of health
care" -- seem slim.

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Krusty Konservative: Will the bad economy force Ed Fallon to run for governor?

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Good morning my loyal Krustaceans. The economy in Iowa is in really
bad shape. It seems like every day we see new signs of just how bad
things really are. Last week, the state slashed 1391 jobs as a result
of Chet Culver's across-the-board cuts. Then we learned that
Electrolux would eliminate 850 jobs in Iowa. As a side note, yesterday
Electrolux posted stronger-than-expected rise in third-quarter net
profit. Good news for all those Mexican employees they are just about
to hire... The economy is also hitting community organizers hard. Just
yesterday, Ed Fallon sent out an email to his peeps begging for work.
He will play for weddings, holiday parties and a variety of special
events. He is available for beginning and intermediate piano,
accordion, classical guitar, folk guitar, Irish whistle and Irish
drum. I have to admit, I've always been interested in learning how to
play the Irish whistle and drum.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Conlin's candidacy: Good for Grassley?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

It's hard to believe, but Senator Grassley is probably thankful that
Roxanne Conlin, a millionaire liberal trial attorney from Des Moines,
is expected to be his Democratic opponent next fall. The possibility
of Conlin being the Democrats' candidate against Grassley next fall
became more likely yesterday when Christy Vilsack said he would not
run for the U.S. Senate. If Conlin successfully navigates the
primary, she will be the most formidable candidate that Sen. Grassley
has faced since first being elected to United States Senate in 1980.
Senator Grassley has seen his normally stellar approval rating among
Iowans slip in 2009. In February of this year, Grassley's approval
rating according to a Survey USA Poll stood at a pristine 71 percent.
Since that time, however, Grassley's approval numbers have fallen to a
more pedestrian 50% in Survey USA's most recent poll.

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Bleeding Heartland: Democrats, don't cop out when asked about marriage

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Between now and the end of the 2010 legislative session, self-styled
"defenders of marriage" will urge Democrats in the Iowa House and
Senate to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples
from marrying. Bryan English, director of public relations and
outreach for the Iowa Family Policy Center, wrote a guest post for The
Iowa Republican blog about his recent efforts to convince Democratic
State Senator Dennis Black (district 21). English and I disagree on
most political issues, including the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling in
Varnum v Brien, but in this piece he shines a light on talking points
Democrats should avoid when confronted by opponents of marriage
equality. ... English contends that senators could force a floor vote
on a marriage amendment by suspending the Senate rules, but Black
countered that there would be "chaos" in the Senate if he were to do
that, and anyway, "A vote on a procedural maneuver is not perceived by
most people as a real vote on the marriage amendment."

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Hawkeye Review: The governor who forgot how to coach...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Where were you last Saturday night, say around 9 p.m.? Unless you were
sleeping, you were probably one of about 3 million other Iowans who
heard the collective "gasp/roar" in the closing two seconds of the
Iowa / Michigan State game. Here's some head scratching math that will
stop you in your tracks today... Iowa Governor Chet Culver leads a
team of bureaucrats with a budget nearing $6 Billion dollars and earns
$130,000 dollars per year. (I'm being generous folks, I just gave him
a 10% raise) Working about 50 weeks per year at 40 hours per week,
that computes to $65 per hour. Sure, throw in free housing and a few
perks, but all in all, we're not borrowing any money to pay the
Governor. It's no secret that Kirk Ferentz earns $3.02 million dollars
per year and if you break this down to the bare bones, that's $250,000
per hour for each of 12 regular season games, each lasting 60 minutes
as the scoreboard clock goes. (Stay with me here) Now it's fair to say
there's a lot of extra time that goes into each of their jobs
respectively.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Price of Politics, Etc.: Challengers beware: Predictions about Iowa congressmen

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

Much of the media's attention has been focused on the Iowa governor's
race and the so-called "mystery candidate" to take on Republican
Senator Chuck Grassley next year. But a report I saw this weekend has
a bit of a warning for anyone thinking of challenging Iowa's
congressional incumbents, at least in two of the races. Congresssional
Quarterly has changed its predictions to favor the incumbents.
Republicans Dave Funk and Brad Zaun beware: CQ moved 3rd District
Democratic Congress Leonard Boswell's re-election race from "likely
Democrat" to "safe Democrat". I don't know of a Democratic challenger
for 4th District Republican Congress Tom Latham. But CQ changed the
race from "likely Republican" to "safe Republican."

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The Iowa Republican: Iowa Democrats mull-over resurrecting TouchPlay to help ease budget problems

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Earlier this spring when Terry Rich was appointed by Governor Chet
Culver to serve as the new CEO of the Iowa Lottery, he stated that his
goal was to enhance socially acceptable lottery products like
Powerball and scratch tickets. While Mr. Rich might have had the best
of intentions, the reality of Iowa's budget crisis has some lawmakers
looking to the lottery to provide more revenue for the state. In
September, TheIowaRepublican.com broke the news that the Iowa Lottery
had polled Iowans on three controversial measures - adding a
mega-millions game, lowering the age requirement to play lottery games
from 21 to 18, and instituting new lottery games on the internet that
would accept debit or credit cards as forms of payment.

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John Deeth Blog: Loebsack, Senate contenders at JC Dems BBQ

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

"Because we've been pushing hard in on the public option, we're
beginning to see some movement in the Senate," Congressman Dave
Loebsack told the 150 or so Democrats gathered in Hills Saturday for
the Johnson County Democrats fall barbecue. "We in the House helped
move the Senate and, yes, the President." Responding to critics of
health care reform he noted, "Not only have I read the bill, I've
amended it" to provide better federal funding for direct care workers.
Loebsack also took credit for improving reimbursement rates. "Finally,
Iowa can be treated fairly." The second term congressman, who casually
acknowledged ("not an announcement") that he's seeking a third term,
shared the stage with the two announced US Senate candidates, Brb
Krause and Tom Fiegen. But some of the buzz in the room was about the
likely entry of former gubernatorial nominee Roxanne Conlin into the
Senate race.

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Fayette County Republican Party: Huckabee coming to eastern Iowa

Excerpted from this post at Fayette County Republican Party

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee a likely 2012 presidential candidate will be at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Cedar Rapids on November 8th to promote his new book, "A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories That Celebrate The True Holiday Spirit." Iowa: Cedar Rapids, IA, Sunday, 11/08 5:00-6:00 PM CST ... Davenport, IA ... Des Moines, IA

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Boswell is a swing vote on health care reform

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The House of Representatives will soon bring a health care reform bill
up for a floor vote. All three relevant committees have approved bills
containing a public health insurance option. ... When the House Energy
and Commerce Committee passed a watered-down bill to placate Blue Dog
Democrats, most people assumed that this compromise would be the
health care reform bill sent to the House floor. However, House
Progressives have been rounding up votes for the stronger public
option provisions, and yesterday Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul
Grijalva claimed to have 210 votes supporting or leaning toward
supporting the stronger bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi won't bring that
bill to the floor unless she is sure she has the 218 votes needed to
pass, however. As many as 19 House Democrats have not decided whether
they would support the "Medicare plus 5 percent" public option. Chris
Bowers published a pdf file listing 36 House Democrats who are either
undecided, "lean yes" or "lean no" on the stronger public option.
Representative Leonard Boswell (IA-03) is on that list.

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The Marion Contrarian: 1994 redux

Excerpted from this post at The Marion Contrarian

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." A great little
adage that seems to apply to the condition of the Iowa Republican
landscape these days. In 1994 a full-blown primary was brewing between
Governor Terry Branstad and Congressman Fred Grandy that had multiple
motivations, not least that of fighting for the future direction of
the Republican Party in Iowa. Grandy, the scrappy challenger and the
hope of party moderates, stuck it to the established and conservative
Branstad. Just how much has our Grand Ole' Party changed since then?
Well, Branstad is now the "hope" of moderates against the
evangelical/fundamentalist firebrand Bob Vander Plaats. I would say
that is an interesting and ironic change for both Branstad AND the
moderates of the party! A Sioux City journalist describes the
situation like this: "It's the height of irony to consider Branstad is
being urged to return to the political sphere because some see
gubernatorial candidate Vander Plaats as too exclusionary on social
issues and want a moderating voice."

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The Iowa Republican: What's more important: Senate tradition or the institution of marriage?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Groups like IFPC Action and LUV Iowa have been partnering with Iowans
all across the state for almost seven months now to network people and
to work a strategy for passage of the Iowa Marriage Amendment. At each
stop along the way, in every town meeting, and at every marriage
event, people are outraged that the Iowa Supreme Court would take upon
themselves the role of Legislative, Judicial and Executive authority
to create homosexual "marriage" out of thin air. People always want to
know why one branch of government has been allowed to grow so powerful
in relation to the other two. They also want to know what, if
anything, can withstand the tyrannical arm of an out of control
judicial branch. I think I have finally found the answer: Senate
Tradition.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Iowa Republican: 1391 jobs lost -- One person to blame: Governor Chet Culver

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Iowa's unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent this month. The
report from the Iowa Workforce Development office showed that the
state lost 1,200 jobs in the month of September. Some might find
comfort that the unemployment rate didn't increase for the first time
in 2009. However, the news came on the day when state government
agencies announced that 1391 jobs would be eliminated as a result of
Governor Culver's 10 percent across-the-board cuts. That's right, more
jobs were lost yesterday than were lost in the entire month of
September. The hardest areas hit by Culver's cuts were the Department
of Human Service, which cut 228 positions and the Department of
Corrections, which cut 777 positions. A large portion of the job cuts
could have been prevented had Governor Culver taken recommendations
from his department heads and Republican legislators who combined to
offer $392 million in proposed cuts and cost saving measures.

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Bleeding Heartland: Is the Big Lug too big to win? What Gov. Culver can learn from Chris Chrstie

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Is being overweight a political handicap? That's the big question
posed by Daniel Engber in a very interesting piece this week at
Slate.com. At issue, the contentious Corzine-Christie race in New
Jersey and a weighty issue that has developed between the two men.
Namely, the issue of weight. You see, Corzine (D), the incumbent
governor, is an average-to-fit 62. He considers himself a "health
nut". He runs marathons. For a man who was very nearly killed in a car
accident two years ago, he is in excellent health. His opponent,
Chris Christie (R), is an obese 47-year old. He considers himself "a
Jersey guy, with a Jersey gut". He jokes about his weight. He says
that he has been heavy since his teenage years, and has tried to lose
the weight several times, to no avail. The controversy all started
with this ad...

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True Blue Iowan: Iowa's anti-Mormon bias?

Excerpted from this post at True Blue Iowan

It's never too early to talk about the next election and Marc Ambinder
is looking to handicap the Iowa caucuses 27 months before they will
happen. (Imagine doing this analysis in October 2005. How many would
have predicted Barack Obama would win the Iowa caucuses? Anybody? Oh
well, let's go on with the charade.) His main point is that if Palin
and Huckabee are both in Romney may try in Iowa. Reasoning: The first
two will split the evangelical wing of the party and Romney could win
with the remainders. If Palin stays out Romney will stay out... opting
for the McCain "skip Iowa" strategy. The reason writes Ambinder: "Mitt
Romney won't attribute his loss in Iowa to anti-Mormon bias, but
plenty of his advisers are willing to go there." Really? Iowa has an
anti-Mormon bias? The only thing negative comment I heard in the 40
years I lived in Iowa was a prayer that they wouldn't come to your
door.

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Hawkeye Review: The "untouchables"

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

There are certain "untouchable topics" in the political realm and
today I outline the fact that indeed, they exist and though not known
to the average voter, they shape the entire political sphere. I find
it interesting that other blogs and some media outlets may overtly
refer to one of these "untouchables," but rarely will anyone go the
distance and fully develop the story...and thus, expose the political
realities that we're left to contend with... It seems the Iowa 2012
caucuses have suddenly become a hot topic. Who will play? Who will
bypass Iowa's first in the nation contest for tactical-strategic
purposes? The emergence of the "whisper campaign" here in the Iowa
political realm has only served to damage the political traditions and
the long term viability of our first in the nation status. You need
no money to run a whisper campaign and this tactic exists to destroy
anything resembling a "level playing field" in the Iowa caucuses.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Previewing the Vander Plaats case against Branstad

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Bob Vander Plaats was the clear front-runner in the Republican field
of gubernatorial candidates a few months ago. He's been campaigning
for the job longer and more actively than anyone else. He had contacts
statewide from his 2006 campaign for lieutenant governor, and from
Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. He also had several
endorsements from state legislators and a big lead in a Republican
poll taken in July. During the past six months, various potential
Republican candidates have ruled out a campaign for governor,
including Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and State Auditor
David Vaudt. Efforts to recruit a business leader (like Mary Andringa)
failed too. Some Iowa politicos believe that these people backed off
not because they thought Governor Chet Culver was unbeatable, but
because they couldn't see a way to defeat Vander Plaats in the
Republican primary.

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The Iowa Republican: Christian conservatives forcing presidential candidates to skip the caucuses? Hardly

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

In addition to the article about the growing possibility that Mitt
Romney may skip the 2012 Iowa Caucuses which appeared on this website
yesterday, Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic also wrote a story about
lessons learned in Iowa during the 2008 caucuses. The point that
Ambinder makes in his article is that, unless you are beloved by
conservative Christians, candidates would be better off skipping the
first in the nation caucuses. These types of articles are nothing new.
It just seems as if they are occurring much earlier than in previous
years. The problem I have with articles like Ambinder's is that the
data doesn't back up the claim his story makes. We all know that Mike
Huckabee won the 2008 caucuses, but he didn't win it with 50 percent
of the vote. He won with less than 35 percent. After reading stories
like this, one would think that more establishment candidates like
Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani have no
base of support in Iowa. Yet, those four candidates combined made up
55 percent of the total vote in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

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Politically Speaking: Bachmann: King focus of 2012 prez talk

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Had my first conversation with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann,
R-Minn., a political kindred spirit with Iowa 5th District Congressman
Steve King. She'll be part of an upcoming political feature, and
Waterloo, Iowa, native Bachmann was fine with going off-topic for a
few stray questions at the end of our chat. ... Bachmann has already
announced she'll seek a third term in 2010, and she's raised about
$800K in this year and has about $600K on hand. Additionally, I asked
Bachmann if she is being prodded to seek the 2012 presidency, given
her growing national profile. She said she has no doubts the GOP will
produce a good crop of presidential candidates, and threw out King as
a name of interest. "Steve King is mentioned as a potential nominee. I
have a very high opinion of Steve King and his ability, so I would
encourage him to consider any position for higher office," Bachmann
said. As for herself, Bachmann said, "Goodness, I've only been in the
House for three years, so, no, I'm not considering anything like
that."

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On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts: Grassley complains about Obama web site

Excerpted from this post at On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is complaining the Obama administration may
be breaking the law with a web site that has a button asking visitors
to "state your support" for passing heath insurance reform this year.
The button leads to a form letter expressing support for a series of
reform principles and lets them leave their names and contact
information. Grassley sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen
Sebelius, saying, "the use of the official HHS.gov Web site for
activities that seem to be nothing more than government propaganda
raises many serious questions," according to a story posted last night
on Roll Call's web site. An HHS spokesman, Nick Papas responed:
"Healthreform.gov is a valuable resource for the American people and
we look forward to discussing this resource with the Senator," Roll
Call says.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Is Romney planning to bypass Iowa?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

A good friend of mine was once asked by the media, "Why does the
presidential nominating process start in Iowa?" Sure, there is a
historical way answer to the question, but my friend smiled and
answered the reporter's question with one of his own. "Why is the Rose
Bowl played in Pasadena?" The point that he was making was a simple
one, the reason Iowa kicks off the nomination process is because it's
something we have been doing for a long time now, its ingrained into
the political process, and it has to start somewhere, so why not Iowa?
It never takes long for the presidential activity to return to Iowa
after an election. In fact, potential presidential candidates were
making their way to Iowa long before President Obama was even
inaugurated. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was in Iowa less than
three weeks after Obama defeated McCain in the general election.

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Blog for Iowa: Are state budget cuts fair and reasonable?

Excerpted from this post at Blog for Iowa

The union members most affected by Governor Culver's ten percent
across-the-board state budget cuts will be the 40,000 state employees
represented mainly by AFSCME. However, the cuts announced on October
8, 2009, aren't solely a union issue. In addition to the thousands of
families who will find themselves added to the unemployment roster,
the cuts will add strain to the remaining workers -- union and
non-union alike -- by increasing their work loads to untenable levels.
The rest of Iowans will feel the effects by a marked reduction in
state services that some depend on, and most take for granted. On one
level, it makes perfect sense that when revenues are reduced, so must
spending be cut. However, cutting state services isn't the same as
cuts in the private sector. If there is less demand for widgets in the
private sector, fewer widgets are made and fewer widget-makers are
employed.

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Politically Speaking: Tenthers opposition to health reform

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

I should have been more up on this, after hearing much in recent weeks
on Randy Ray Renshaw's "Open Line" KSCJ 1360AM show. There is a
growing number of people who think it isn't constitutional for the
government to enact federal health reform, since it would violate the
10th Amendment. Renshaw has been hot on that topic, and now U.S. Sen.
Charles Grassley is saying there could be credence to that thought.
The 10th Amendment reads thusly: "The powers not delegated to the
United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States,
are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Those to
the left of political center (like DailyKos) think this logic is off,
that it's more from people who were birthers (denying that Barack
Obama was born in the U.S., therefore unable to be president) becoming
"Tenthers."

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FromDC2Iowa: UI budget: Waivers wave goodbye to savings

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

... I recall an occasion when, as an FCC commissioner, I was pleased
to be able to vote with my fellow commissioners in announcing a new
policy. Alas, I cannot now remember the policy, nor do I have the time
or inclination this morning to try to track it down. It may have had
to do with the joint ownership of TV stations and newspapers in the
same city. In any event, I thought it a good policy; one that would
not be popular with the big media owners, but was nonetheless in the
best interest of the American people. But I was not so pleased with
what the Commission did thereafter. My recollection is that in
something like the first 11 cases to arise under the new rule my
colleagues listened to the pleas of these major corporations and
agreed, not to repeal the rule mind you, but to "waive" it in the case
before them. ... Here we are, confronting a budget crisis. The Board
of Regents has put a freeze on hiring, voted for a halt to
construction (until they voted against it), is considering a mid-year
tuition increase, layoffs, cuts in salaries and benefits, has at least
nodded in the direction of fairness in all of this, and what does the
UIHC do? Morelli reports that it, "filled a newly created position of
chief medical information officer last week -- the same day university
officials were instructed to consider temporary and permanent layoffs
and a tuition surcharge"

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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Mystery solved? Tom, not Christy

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Grant Young has some information that will grab Senator Grassley and the rest of the Iowa GOP's attention. Young has a well placed source that says the chatter inside the U.S. Ag Department is that Current U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is making initial preparations to return to Iowa to run for the United States Senate. Mike Kiernan, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, has claimed that a "mystery" candidate to challenge Sen. Grassley this fall exists. However some of top Iowa Democrats, including Sen. Harkin and Mike Gronstal, have said that they don't know who Kiernan is referring to. Secretary Vilsack would be the most formidable candidate that Iowa Democrats could put up against Grassley.

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Hawkeye Review: Culver stumbles out of the gate

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

In the opening moments of the 2010 media campaign for Terrace Hill, our own Governor commits a US Flag "faux pas" by breaking protocol and placing the stars and stripes to the "speakers left" instead of the obligatory "speakers right." ... "When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left." From a positioning standpoint, it's much better strategy to attack than to defend so it's not surprising that Culver & Campaign Inc. have embarked on this expensive media strategy early on. Attempting to "define the argument" will fail however, since Culver has already been judged by the Iowa taxpayers who now rate him at an all time low since his inauguration as Governor.

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Bleeding Heartland: Make up your mind, Christian Fong

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Are you going to be the GOP's hopeful, inclusive-talking guy, or are you going to do stuff like this? "Chinese communists swept to power in the last century without mentioning plans to nationalize businesses or institute forced abortions, Republican gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong told supporters of the Iowa Minuteman Civil Defense Corps on Saturday." ... The Minutemen are hardly a significant movement in Iowa, but that doesn't make it ok for mainstream Republicans to fuel paranoid fantasies about the Obama administration. Fong did tell the Minutemen that "tighter borders and the need to learn English must be tempered with open arms for those (immigrants) who use proper channels, he said."

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Hawkeye Review: The calm before the storm

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Part of any successful campaign is not only owning the issues but to
essentially "capture the imagination" of the electorate. The long
delayed political announcement of Governor Branstad to join in the
race for Terrace Hill was a tactical success in many dimensions.
First: It kept Branstad's name perpetually in the news cycle over
these past months with virtually no formal actions from our former
Governor. Second: There's no doubt the potential of a pending
announcement from our youngest and longest serving Governor had the
effect of "sucking the oxygen" out of the fund raising environment
during the past 90 days. This didn't necessarily freeze up the
primary field, although it can be said it's prevented any single
candidate from amassing a new block of supporters, especially the
grass roots activists in each of our 99 counties required to fuel any
successful effort to take back Terrace Hill.

John Deeth Blog: Kos polls Iowa governor, senate races

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

With Terry Branstad set to make it official today, the timing is on
the money: Daily Kos releases a Research 2000 poll that shows Branstad
five points ahead of incumbent Chet Culver, 48-43. "The governor's
race promises serious fireworks," writes Kos ... We know those
"generic Republicans" as Bob Vander Plaats and Chris Rants. Frankly,
the Dems best hope is that Vander Plaats and his Christian Soldiers
beat up Branstad in a primary and squeak through to a win. Chet leads
BVP 55 to 33 and is ahead of Rants 58-28. That tells me that Culver
still has a little room to go up and Branstad, as people start to
really remember him, has a lot of room to go down. It's always that
way with Dream Candidates who parachute into a race late: the peak on
announcement day, then slip as they start to actually campaign.
Remember presidents Wes Clark and Fred Thompson?

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Krusty Konservative: Republicans are being intellectually lazy

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Governor Culver finally did something to show Iowans that he cares
about the state's budget crisis. He cut his $130,000 salary by 10%.
The liberal news media has called the move a sign of bold leadership.
The reason why the move was politically wise is because he did it on
the same day that Rep. Kraig Paulsen called for across-the-board pay
cuts for state employees. More on Paulsen's proposal in a moment. I
kinda laughed when I heard that Culver was going to take one for the
team and cut his salary by $13,000. We must not forget that in
addition to his salary, Culver is provided free housing,
transportation, and utilities. He doesn't have to pay property taxes,
purchase gas, or even own a vehicle. He doesn't even pay for his food
and beer. The state picks up the tab when he entertains at Terrace
Hill. I'm sure they buy a little extra food and beverage that the
first family can snack on.

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FromDC2Iowa: How to cut Iowa's budget

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

... When public budgets need trimming it can be done in ways that
produce anger, resentment, and painful hardship -- or in ways that can
build morale, a sense of community, and loyalty. It's pretty simple
really. Will the widespread perception be that those who used their
power and position to take more than their share when times were good
have now continued to use their power and position to keep more than
their share when times turned bad and cuts had to be made? Or will the
perception be that those in administrative and protected positions are
willing to give more than their share, to carry more of the burden,
than those who will suffer the most from layoffs and reductions in
pay? Whatever financial and other burdens we will be asked to bear at
this time in Iowa's history need to be compared with those of World
War II.

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Politically Speaking: Denklau launches for Iowa 5th Congress

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Democrat Mike Denklau of Council Bluffs this morning launched his 2010
Iowa 5th District congressional candidacy here in Sioux City, on way
to stops in Council Bluffs and Des Moines. He drew a dozen people,
including Woodbury County Democratic Party officials Dave Somsky, Rick
Mullin and Eric Newhouse. It was the second time I.d met Denklau, who
gave a short kickoff speech before answering questions from myself and
the three city TV stations. Somsky said he likes Denklau.s youthful
enthusiasm -- he.ll turn 27 on Nov. 10. "He is serious about making a
change in western Iowa... The reason he came back to the district was
(Congressman) Steve King, all the right-wing comments," Somsky said.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Price of Politics, Etc.: Branstad to announce plans for governor

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

Four-time Iowa Governor Terry Branstad wants a fifth term in office.
Sources close to Branstad tell me he will announce his plans for the
future during a speech at Des Moines University Friday at noon. The
news comes hardly as a surprise as this week Iowa Republican Party
Executive Director Jeff Boeyink announced he was quitting the party to
head up the 2010 Terry Branstad Committee, Branstad's organizational
wing of his campaign efforts. Sandy Greiner, a former Republican
lawmaker, led a group called "Draft Branstad". Yesterday, she sent out
a message yesterday to supporters of her efforts that said the group
would disband because of "mission accomplished". The group changed its
efforts to NextGen PAC.

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The Iowa Republican: GOP primary needs to be about issues, not personality

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

At noon on Friday, former Governor Terry Branstad will address the
students, faculty, staff, and board members of Des Moines University.
The speech, which will be held in the Student Education Center, is
expected to Branstad's farewell to the university that he has spent
the previous six years leading, but it is also expected to be the
beginning of his quest to take back control of Terrace Hill.
Regardless of what Branstad says in his speech, the media will only
focus on what Branstad says about his gubernatorial aspirations. It's
hard to blame the media for wanting to focus on the start of his
campaign. For months, Branstad has played a cat and mouse game with
the media in regards to his political future, so when he does finally
go on the record for the first time as a gubernatorial candidate, it
will undoubtedly be a big deal.

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John Deeth Blog: Grassley loses in health care vote

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

The WaPo's Chris Cillizza lists the winners and losers from
yesterday's health care vote and among the losers: "Chuck Grassley:
Grassley... took himself out of the negotiations on the bill early on
-- effectively ceding any ability to influence the legislation.
Grassley's pull-out allowed Democrats to paint him as a rank partisan,
a portrayal that won't help him as he runs for reelection next fall."
Attn: Christie Vilsack? (That bandwagon is rolling again...)
Meanwhile, up in Cedar Rapids, the date is set for Nov. 24 and the
candidates are emerging for House District 33: "Norm Sterzenbach, Sr.,
a military veteran who has been a steady presence in county politics
for years and currently serves as the county Democrats' second vice
chairman, is expected to make a bid for the seat." ... No GOP names
yet. With Terry Branstad about set to jump in and knock everyone but
Vander Plaats and Rants out of the governor's race, what legislative
district does Christian Fong live in? Update: I'm told he's in Renee
Schulte's turf.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Price of Politics, Etc.: Christie Vilsack, mystery candidate?

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

Tuesday morning former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack told reporters to ask
his wife is she is running against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.
You will recall last month on Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press",
Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan said he had a mystery
candidate to run against Grassley and that Grassley would be in for
the "race of his life". So I went to Iowa State University where
Christie Vilsack had a schedule appearance. Several ISU professors had
designed a jacket for her to wear to the World Food Prize's dinner
Thursday night in Des Moines. It is covered in tomatoes. Christie
Vilsack told me she has been talking to people about running. She said
she has no timetable. Several things stood out from our interview. She
mentioned she was "well-qualified" to run (she has never held public
office before).

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The Iowa Republican: Who will fill Boeyink's role at RPI?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

With Jeff Boeyink's departure as the Executive Director of the
Republican Party of Iowa, RPI Chairman Matt Strawn now has a difficult
task in finding a replacement with just a little over a year to until
Election Day. To date, the hiring of Boeyink has been one of Strawn's
best accomplishments. Having run the day-to-day operations of Iowans
for Tax Relief before joining RPI, Boeyink brought extensive knowledge
about how a political institution should run. While working for a
state political party is often thankless work, Strawn and Boeyink were
able to make a number of significant organizational changes in the
seven months they worked side-by-side. Their biggest accomplishment
was breaking ties with a third party vendor who handled all of the
state party's accounting services. Bringing the accounting
responsibilities in-house was long overdue.

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Bleeding Heartland: Democratic leaders enabled Branstad's big money haul

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Until last week, the money raised to support Terry Branstad as a
gubernatorial candidate was hidden in the bank accounts of two 527
groups: the Iowa First Foundation and the Draft Branstad PAC. Now that
Branstad has formed an exploratory committee, I expect we'll soon see
a press release about eye-popping early money raised for his campaign.
Major Republican donors were key players in the effort to lure the
former governor back into politics. While Branstad's signing all those
thank-you notes to Republicans, he may as well acknowledge three
Democrats who have helped him raise the big bucks: Governor Chet
Culver, Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy, and Iowa Senate Majority Leader
Mike Gronstal. Branstad wouldn't be able to accept those $25,000 and
$50,000 checks if Democrats had passed meaningful campaign finance
reform during the past three years.

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Hawkeye GOP: Special election in HD33

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye GOP

With the resignation of Rep Dick Taylor in HD33, Cedar Rapids will be
having a special election. The Des Moines Register reports that
Governor Culver has called for a special election on Tuesday, Nov 24.
Unlike the recent battle in HD90, the HD33 race looks pretty lopsided.
In 2008, Taylor won with nearly 70% of the vote. In 2006 he was
unopposed. So I am certainly not predicting that this race will be
anywhere near close. ... At this point no Republican has come out
publicly as a possible candidate. State law requires the county
central committee members from the precincts that make up HD33 to
nominate their party's official candidate. An interesting twist to
this particular race is that the special election will take place on
the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. This means that turnout will be
exceptionally low and plays into the Democrat's strong suit --
absentee ballots. Call me a pessimist but it looks like we'll have a
new Democrat rep from HD33 when the legislature gavels in.

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On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts: Grassley figured party line vote

Excerpted from this post at On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts

As expected, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley voted against the health care
reform bill that went before the Senate Finance Committee today.
Grassley's reasons are stated elsewhere on our web site. But I found
this little tidbit interesting. Before the vote, Grassley, the ranking
Republican on the committee, told reporters on a conference call,
"It'll pass on a -- probably a party-line vote of 13-10." Of course,
it mostly was. But apparently, Grassley figured Sen. Olympia Snowe,
R-Maine, would vote with the rest of the GOP, too. She didn't, which
of course has Democrats hoping she does the same thing on the floor.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Special election coming in Iowa House district 33

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

State Representative Dick Taylor of Cedar Rapids announced his
resignation today, effective immediately, saying, "after 9 years in
the House, it's time for me to focus full-time on my family." Within
the next five days Governor Chet Culver will set a date for a special
election in Iowa House district 33. The race to replace Taylor will
lack the drama of the September 1 special election in Iowa House
district 90, because district 33 leans much more heavily Democratic.
In 2008, Taylor won nearly 70 percent of the vote against Republican
Kathy Potts. A district convention made up of Linn County Central
Committee members who live in Iowa House district 33 will select the
Democratic candidate for this special election within the next few
weeks. Bleeding Heartland readers familiar with Linn County politics,
who should replace Taylor?

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Hawkeye Review: Culver's failure to lead part 1

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

"Kicking the can down the road" ... There's a saying from investment
circles that comes to mind this morning as I reflect on the events of
the past few days..."You can't drive your car looking into the rear
view mirror without crashing." This is, metaphorically speaking,
exactly what Governor Culver has done with our states fiscal policies.
What if Governor Culver had conducted this very same press conference
last spring, imagine just how different our state's financial
condition would be today? In the video posted above, you'll note in
Culver's opening statement an immediate "dodge" when he refers to
"failed policies from the previous administration and Wall street." A
ten percent across the board cut is also evidence of a weak governor,
who has neither the courage or clout to address specific cuts of
varying degree in a manner that reduces expenditures without depleting
programs with priority status.

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Popular Progressive: Chet Culver's 10% solutions

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

Chet Culver has twice now invoked his solution for the state budget
shortfall. 10% cuts across the board, no exceptions. This presumes
that all budget items have equal weight. This is a fallacy. If human
services are cut 10%, this has a multiplier effect to those who are
already in the most need. If this is applied to staffing child abuse
or elder abuse investigators or to provide aid for mentally ill
persons, these funds are already spread too thin. Why not take a
harder view on how tax dollars are being spent or not being collected?
Tax abatement is an example of how government provide "welfare" to
corporate entities with the promise that jobs and revenue will be
created through their largess with our tax dollars. Clearly job
creation is not going well, so why provide the "out" when we need the
income?

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The Iowa Republican: Vander Plaats endorsed by Iowa/Nebraska NAACP president

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats received the
endorsement of Rev. Keith Ratliff yesterday morning. Supporting Vander
Plaats might seem like natural fit for Rev. Ratliff, a strong
proponent of traditional marriage, but this is the first time Rev.
Ratliff will vote for a Republican in his life. In 2006, Rev. Ratliff
voted for Governor Chet Culver. In addition to being the pastor of the
Maple Street Baptist Church in Des Moines, Ratliff is also the
President of the Iowa/Nebraska Conference of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). While Rev. Ratliff
stated that his support of traditional marriage played a role in his
decision to support Vander Plaats, he also mentioned a number of
issues that Governor Culver has failed to adequately address in his
first term in office.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

FromDC2Iowa: Iowa's budget cuts and the university

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Economic Collapse Tests Moral Values ... Iowa's Governor Chet Culver, left with very little option given the Iowa Constitution's requirement of balanced budgets, a decline in tax revenue, and the inevitable delay in a legislative response, has exercised his power to order across-the-board cuts in State spending. It's a 10% cut, roughly 50% more than most feared, and it's "starting today" ... Times are tough, and they're not likely to get better soon -- certainly not so far as unemployment is concerned, now heading into double digits. And even these numbers fail to take account of those who have given up looking for work, are no longer receiving unemployment benefits, the former full time employees now holding part time jobs, those who have jobs but are under-employed at low skill jobs paying a fraction of what they earned before, those who have taken a significant cut in pay or no longer have health care or other benefits, or those whose medical bills leave them no option but bankruptcy.

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Iowa Independent: There's a political upside to budget-cutting

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

As expected, political columnists and Republican leaders are taking shots at Gov. Chet Culver today for the 10 percent, across-the-board budget cut he ordered yesterday. But for all the bellyaching, it's important to remember that the political implications of slashing state spending aren't really so bad. Right now, critics are arguing that the cuts were only necessary because Culver and Democratic leaders in the Legislature spent too much in their Fiscal Year 2010 budget. But on Election Day next year, voters who don't pay as much attention to the barrage of press releases Republicans send out at the end of every legislative session bemoaning increases in spending won't see it that way. Here's how Democrats will tell the story on the campaign trail: Democratic leaders passed a budget at the end of the 2009 legislative session that ended up being too big, based on estimates that were released half a year later.

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Bleeding Heartland: Draft Branstad PAC "ignores Iowa election law"

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

When Republican power-brokers formed the Draft Branstad PAC last month, I assumed that the entity was a political action committee, as implied by the name "PAC." However, the Draft Branstad PAC registered with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board as a 527 committee. The distinction is important, because unlike PACs, 527 groups do not have to disclose their donors and are not allowed to advocate for candidates. Today the Iowa Democratic Party caught the folks in charge of the Draft Branstad effort running their 527 group like a PAC. ... The leaders of the Draft Branstad PAC should know better than to make this kind of mistake, and Iowans should know better than to elect Terry Branstad again.

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Politically Speaking: Denklau will seek to oust King in 5th

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Next week it will become official, but a Democrat has decided to launch a campaign to unseat Republican four-term Congressman Steve King in Iowa's 5th District. Mike Denklau has eyed the possibility of running in the strong Republican district since early 2009, and after traveling western Iowa recently he decided to go all-in. On Oct. 15, Denklau will announce his candidacy 55 weeks out from the election in stops here in Sioux City, Council Bluffs and Des Moines. Denklau will turn 27 next month -- he was raised in Blue Grass near Davenport and graduated from the University of Iowa with majors in political science and finance. He worked in New York for two banking firms through June 2009, including Lehman Brothers, until moving to Council Bluffs recently.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Back to the future for the Iowa GOP?

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Is this an Iowa GOP version of the popular movie, "Back to the future?" ... It's no secret inside Republican circles that Governor Terry Branstad has been orchestrating a political comeback behind closed doors since mid summer when a poll commissioned by Doug Gross identified several metrics indicating the race was Brandstad's to lose were he to announce his candidacy. Brandstad publicly commented back in June of this year that he wasn't intending to run for political office: "I have people ask me about that every day, but that's not my focus. My focus is Des Moines University and what I can do there," Branstad said. Gross, who served as Brandstad's chief of staff, is attempting to play the role of Iowa "kingmaker" along with a consortium of GOP donors and activists. We're told via reliable sources that Gross had narrowed the field to 3 viable candidates and then conducted his poll to determine the relative strength and weakness of each before arriving at a final selection.

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Bleeding Heartland: Setting the Branstad record straight

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

... Branstad announced this summer that he would decide in October whether to run for governor again. It's been clear he was planning to be a candidate since the Draft Branstad PAC started raising big money and running statewide radio ads last month, so why wait? Some people think Branstad, now president of Des Moines University, wanted to make his decision known to that university's Board of Trustees at this month's scheduled meeting before announcing his candidacy. I have been wondering whether Branstad wanted to remain outside the campaign during September so that the Des Moines Register's Iowa poll by Selzer and Co. would measure his support at the highest possible level. After he formally enters the race, his record will face tougher scrutiny, and his favorability ratings are likely to go down. The Register's poll (released on September 20 and 21) showed that 70 percent of Iowans approved of his performance as governor, but only 48 percent thought it would be a good idea for him to run again.

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The Iowa Republican: Chet Culver's budget crisis

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

If you thought that Governor Chet Culver's polling numbers were bad, they are nothing compared to the devastating revenue projections that the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) released yesterday. Before yesterday's adjustment, the REC predicted state revenues of $5.843 billion. That number was adjusted downward at the meeting by a whopping $415 million, or a negative 8.4 percent. Holly Lyons, one of the three members of the REC said, "It's dire. It's severe. It's probably the worst I've seen. What looked like a mild Iowa recession has turned into a significant and severe recession for all states." The sobering news has also forced Governor Culver to change his tune. For most of his time in office, Governor Culver has ignored warnings from State Auditor Dave Vaudt that state spending is way out of line with revenues. Instead, Culver has remained optimistic that the state's economy would roar back to life due to an infusion of cash provided by the Obama administration’s state stimulus plan and his own version of a stimulus package, I-Jobs.

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FromDC2Iowa: A university's strategic communication

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

A Modest Proposal to the Regents' University Presidents ... The University of Iowa wants "strategic communication" and is searching for someone to provide it. "The Vice President for Strategic Communication reports to the President and is the chief communication officer responsible for conveying the University's mission, vision, and values internally and externally. ... Until we find someone to fulfill the post, with its lengthy and intimidating Position Description list of responsibilities, I have a modest suggestion for how we -- and the other two Regents' universities -- might "convey the University's values." These are tough economic times. Tuition was increased 3.2% last year, 4.2% this year, and at least one Regent is advocating increasing it 5-6% next year. Out of state tuition for our professional schools is indistinguishable from that of the most expensive private schools.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Gov. Tim Pawlenty heads to Iowa

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

A week after Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty hired a trio of GOP consultants with presidential experience, there is news that Pawlenty is scheduled to be in the state next month to raise money for the Republican Party of Iowa. Governor Pawlenty will headline an RPI fundraiser on Saturday, November 7th in Des Moines. Two of the political operatives that Pawlenty hired are Iowa natives with deep political roots - Sara Taylor and Terry Nelson. Both Taylor and Nelson have vast knowledge of the Iowa caucuses, and they appreciate the ability the caucuses have to catapult a candidate like Pawlenty to frontrunner status. While Iowa has already seen numerous potential presidential candidates like Haley Barbour, George Pataki, John Ensign, and Rick Santorum, visit the state this year, Pawlenty is the first potential 2012 candidate who is actually already building a campaign structure to come to the state. In Iowa, starting early has a lot of benefits.

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Bleeding Heartland: Secretary Vilsack hailed as the "New Champion of Local Food"

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

... The Obama administration's Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, has become an articulate spokesperson for local foods. Said Vilsack, "There is, I think, a movement in the country where people are very interested in knowing where their food comes from." "There's a disconnect between the food that we eat and our awareness of where it comes from," Vilsack said. "We think it comes from a grocery store. It doesn't. It comes from family farmers across the country working hard every day." Speaking about the potential health benefits of locally grown food, Vilsack said. "As we focus on health care, and as the health care debate focuses more specifically on prevention and wellness, people are going to be exceedingly interested in fresh food and food that's nutritious."

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Iowa Independent: Latham's PAC spent quarter of funds on travel

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

More than 25 percent of funds raised by Rep. Tom Latham's political action committee during the 2008 election cycle paid for trips to resorts around the country, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Latham's PAC, called For America's Republican Majority (FARM PAC), raised $205,447 during the two-year campaign cycle that led up to the 2008 elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Of that total, nearly $52,000 was spent for trips advertised as fundraisers, mostly to well-known golf courses in California. The money paid for travel, hotel accommodations, meals and golf course fees. That total represents only expenses associated with out-of-state travel and does not include fees paid to fundraising consultants or fundraisers held in the Washington, D.C., area.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Culver's smoking gun...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Now it's all starting to make sense... Our Governor cancels all public
appearances and disappears to Washington D.C. under the guise of
defending the interests of "flood victims" and returns home with some
very "delayed" flood aid as he once again postures his role as the
"champion of flood recovery." (Story for another day) It's more likely
the "adults in the DNC" summoned Culver to DC on the eve of the
release of a "Final Report" by the US Election Assistance Commission
which includes a lengthy and detailed audit by Clifton Gunderson LLP.
... The smoking gun reveals what many will consider the origin of
Governor Culver's incompetence to manage anything larger than an
inter-department budget as evidenced by the results of this audit and
the terrible train-wreck that's about to occur in our state finances
with a $1 Billion dollar shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Krusty Konservative: Chris Rants -- The Idea Man

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Chris Rants has launched a new website or webpage called 99ideas.org.
Rants sent out a press release yesterday saying, "Good campaigns are
about more than just Candidate A or Candidate B. Good campaigns are
about issues facing us as Iowans, and more importantly the ideas and
solutions to address those issues." ... Maybe Rants will haul a camera
and backdrop around to record other people's ideas... Or maybe Rants
will have events going on all at the same time and call them
idearaisers... Better yet, the night could be called the Night of 99
ideas... Who knows, maybe he could do a conference call with
participants so they could share their ideas with him... If you are
experiencing a little deja vu, you are not alone. Rants ripped off the
idea off from Jim Nussle's gubernatorial campaign. Even the logo is
the same as you will see in the following 99 Ideas video that Chuck
Offenburger recorded in 2006.

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Bleeding Heartland: Survey USA finds record low approval for Grassley

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Via the Senate Guru blog I saw that Survey USA released results from
its late September poll of 600 adults in Iowa (margin of error 4.1
percent). The survey measured Senator Chuck Grassley's approval rating
at 50 percent. That's the lowest figure ever for Grassley by this
pollster, and you can see from this graph that Grassley's trendlines
are ugly. A full 40 percent of respondents disapprove of Grassley's
performance. His high-profile role in the health care reform debate
seems to have hurt his image. Senate Guru notes, "Grassley is also
below 50% approval among independents (48%) and self-described
moderates (47%)." The Des Moines Register published a new article
Monday on rumors that a well-known and well-funded Democrat will give
Grassley "the race of his life." Speculation seems to be centering on
former First Lady Christie Vilsack, who is now executive director of
the Iowa Initiative, and prominent attorney Roxanne Conlin, a onetime
U.S. Attorney who was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1982.

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HawkeyeGOP: The 2nd District congressional race

Excerpted from this post at HawkeyeGOP

I must be living under a rock. I and every other Republican observer
in the district have known that we were going to have a three-way
primary between 2008 nominee, Dr. Marianette Miller-Meeks, 2008 Senate
nominee Christopher Reed and 2008 Senate primary 3rd place finisher,
Steve Rathje. I just didn't know that any but Rathje made mad it
official. ... The die is cast -- look for a spirited primary campaign
in district two. I have recently been talking with my high school age
daughter about her American history class. She is studying the
Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. It is interesting that
the issues facing the founders: a Bill of Rights, the role of the
Judiciary, the scope and reach of the federal government and many
others -- are still facing us today. Knowing the individuals involved
-- I am looking forward to the debate.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Iowa Politics Insider: Rants launches new "99 ideas" Web site

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Politics Insider

Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Rants unveiled today a
Web site aimed at promoting the Sioux City state representative's
steady stream of policy solutions to issues big and small. The Sioux
City state representative's new site can be found at: 99ideas.org.
"Good campaigns are about more than just Candidate A or Candidate B.
Good campaigns are about issues facing us as Iowans, and more
importantly the ideas and solutions to address those issues," Rants
said. "This 99 Ideas page is the place where I will present new ideas
to improve Iowa." "Some ideas will be big - like my property tax
proposal. Some will be small - like creating IowaCompareCare.com to
help Iowans become better consumers of health care. No matter there
size - someone, somewhere in Iowa will be impacted for the better. In
full disclosure, not all of them are original. As I travel Iowa people
are always coming up to me and saying "Hey Chris, I've got an idea for
you..." Many of those ideas will join this list."

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The Iowa Republican: Branstad's baggage: Doug Gross

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

It is likely that sometime this month, probably after Des Moines
University's Board of Trustees meets, former Governor Terry Branstad
will enter the gubernatorial race. The instant Branstad enters the
race, he will be the clear frontrunner. However, the primary will be
no walk in the park. While Branstad will undoubtedly have advantages
like high name recognition and a campaign flush with financial
resources, he also has the most baggage of any candidate in the race.
Having previously served 16 years as governor, Branstad's record will
provide ample material for his opponents to exploit. His record,
however, cuts both ways. For all the bad stuff that we have already
started to hear, there are an equal amount of positive things to build
a campaign around. There is no doubt that Branstad will have to defend
his record, but a seasoned politician like him expects that.

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On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts: Potential challenger to Braley

Excerpted from this post at On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported yesterday there's a potential
challenger to U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa. Rod Blum, the chairman
and chief executive of Digital Canal Corp., a Dubuque-based software
company, told the newspaper he's been meeting with key Republicans in
the state and with the campaign arm for congressional Republicans.
Blum is former chair of the Dubuque County Republicans. He also writes
an Op-Ed column for the Dubuque paper, which says it will begin
running a substitute in November. Blum is expected to make an
announcement on whether he'll run toward the middle of the month. ...
Braley was re-elected easily in 2008, and until now there's been no
news of a potential challengers. No doubt, the congressman will take
seriously a bid by Blum or anybody else, but it's notable that his
chief of staff, Sarah Benzing, and press secretary, Jeff Giertz, have
both left Braley's office to work on Senate campaigns in New York and
Louisiana.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Don't underestimate Rick Santorum

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

A couple days ago, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post wrote about
Rick Santorum's upcoming trip to Iowa. Cillizza's article was
entitled, "Is Santorum Serious?" In it, he also asked the question of
whether the former senator is crazy. The answer is yes, he is serious,
and no, he's not crazy. Before Santorum made his way to the University
of Dubuque to give his speech at the American Future Fund's
Conservative Lecture Series last night, he first joined a small group
of people for dinner at a quaint restaurant near the Port of Dubuque.
The former senator was relaxed, and the conversation weaved between
topics as serious as the direction that President Obama is taking the
county, to less serious matters like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the
Iowa Hawkeyes trouncing of Penn State last week.

Iowa Independent: Iowa native, former Bush political director Sara Taylor signs on with Pawlenty

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has not confirmed that he will launch a
bid for president in 2012, but all signs point to 'yes.' His political
action committee is officially launching today, and it has hired an
Iowa native who was credited with building a winning strategy for
George W. Bush in the Hawkeye State before being implicated in a
scandal involving the firing of U.S. Attorneys, allegedly for
political reasons. Sara Taylor, daughter of an Iowa pipe fitter turned
state legislator, was just 24 in 1998 when she was tapped by Karl Rove
and Bush to lead their Iowa strategy. The strong foundation in Iowa
led to her being dispatched to Florida to help with the campaign's
controversial recount efforts, and then to an oversight position in
the Midwest political office led by Ken Mehlman.

Bleeding Heartland: Why marriage equality is here to stay

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The short of it is because Republicans have ZERO chance of taking back
the Senate anytime soon. I've felt since the ruling that it probably
would never get overturned. I got curious today and decided to
investigate further. So I started to think like a social conservative
(it was scary) and tried to find any feasible way for this to pass the
Lege in the near future. It will not pass in the 2010 session
according to both the House and Senate leadership. So the Repubs best
hope is for a successful election in 2010 to make it possible. It is
in the realm of possibility that Repubs take back the House. I really
don't think they will, but there are a lot of competitive races that
could flip in a good year for them. I could even see an amendment
passing that chamber in the next couple sessions with "six-pack" help.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Kiernan lied about top-tier US candidate to challenge Grassley

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Last week, Iowa Democratic Chairman Michael Kiernan said that Senator
Chuck Grassley will "be in the race of his life." Kiernan made the
comments on IPTV's Iowa Press program. He spent a considerable amount
of his time on the show driving speculation on the mystery Democrat.
Likewise, the news media quickly pounced on the idea of a serious
challenge to Grassley. There is just one problem - no such candidate
exists. Kiernan made it all up. Two sources have told
TheIowaRepublican.com that Kiernan admitted to concocting the mystery
candidate when top Democratic officials pressed their Party Chairman
on who this big name candidate was who would instill fear into
Grassley.

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Bleeding Heartland: The way forward on a public health insurance option

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

As expected, the Senate Finance Committee rejected two amendments
yesterday that would have added a public health insurance option to
the health care reform bill Chairman Max Baucus drafted with a big
assist from industry lobbyists. Five Democrats voted with all the
committee Republicans against Senator Jay Rockefeller's amendment,
which would have created a national public option tied to Medicare
rates. Three Democrats also joined Republicans to vote down Senator
Chuck Schumer's much weaker "national level playing field" public
option. CA Berkeley WV liveblogged yesterday's hearing for Congress
Matters. Senator Chuck Grassley sang the same old song about the
"government run plan" forcing private insurance companies out of
business.

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Price of Politics, Etc.: Culver talks with Tom Arnold about film mess

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

Actor Tom Arnold (and Iowa native) told Channel 13 news he took part
in a conference call Monday with Governor Chet Culver about the film
tax credit fiasco. Arnold said he talked about the frustration of a
couple "knuckleheads" from the film industry that caused the problems.
He also said he supports tax credits and thinks they have been very
beneficial to Iowa. He wants them restored. Arnold said he knows of a
dozen film projects that are now planning on filming outside of Iowa
because of the uncertain future of the tax credits. Channel 13's Sonya
Heitshusen talks exclusively with Arnold.

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FromDC2Iowa: Iowa subsidizes the movie industry -- A good idea?

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Movies Are Getting More Expensive, And It's Not Just the Ticket and
Popcorn Prices ... Now I don't mean to minimize the outrageous prices
we're charged for popcorn at the movies. And if you're curious as to
how much profit a movie theater can make from 11 cents worth of
popcorn see my earlier analysis ... But it turns out we're spending
millions of dollars of our own money making those movies. And since it
now turns out some of those millions are going to private cars for the
movie makers and iPhones for their kids, questions are being asked
about the wisdom and generosity of Iowans paying 50% of the cost of
movies made in this state -- by far the most generous program of any
U.S. state, even if it all went into movie costs.

Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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