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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Iowa Defense Alliance: Senator Harkin dismisses the "small stuff"

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Defense Alliance

This morning I awoke to find that Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has once again demonstrated the elitism that he has cultivated during his career in the US Senate. In an interview on CBS this morning Senator Harkin defended the intensely unpopular health reform legislation moving through the US Congress. Even more disgusting was his defense of the use of taxpayer money to bribe skeptical Senators into supporting bad legislation. If there was ever a demonstration of the problems plaguing our government this was it. If you haven't had the opportunity to watch the interview please take the time to do so now. It was just days ago that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson capitulated in what has become widely known as the Cornhusker Kickback. This was a deal that provided the state of Nebraska with millions in taxpayer funded earmarks in exchange for his support of the Senate version of the health reform bill.

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Bleeding Heartland: New GOP robocall uses old GOP playbook

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Oh no! Representative Leonard Boswell must be quaking in his boots now that the National Republican Campaign Committee is running this robocall against him in Iowa's third district. ... For years, Republicans have trotted out versions of this script against Boswell: blah blah blah Nancy Pelosi blah blah blah liberal agenda blah blah blah Democrat Party. It hasn't resonated before, so why would it work now? Specifically, I don't think they will get far running against the stimulus package. Even in a weak economy, Boswell will be able to point to dozens of programs from the stimulus bill that benefited Iowa families.

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Iowa Independent: Narcisse exploring run for governor

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Former Des Moines School Board member and longtime activist Jonathan Narcisse told The Des Moines Register that he will explore a run for governor in 2010, although he hasn't decided if his campaign would be as a Democrat or independent. Narcisse's gubernatorial aspirations first popped up last month. During an interview with Dave Price of Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO-TV, Narcisse attacked both Democratic Gov. Chet Culver and many of his Republican rivals. However, he made it clear that while he was considering a run he had no intentions of making his plans public.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Politically Speaking: Behn out of Iowa governor race, four left

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

The outcome seemed apparent last week, and now it has happened. The
2010 gubernatorial candidate Web site for State Sen. Jerry Behn,
R-Boone, went blank last week, a seeming precursor that he would exit
the campaign. We've now got confirmation that Behn has given up his
governor aspirations and, on top of that, endorsed former Gov. Terry
Branstad. Behn was the guy among the remaining candidates who
campaigned the least, giving the impression he wouldn't ever be a
serious candidate. I didn't have the chance to cover Behn in 2009, but
did at my previous newspaper job, when Behn in the late 1990s was
elected to the Iowa Senate after a few terms as a Boone County
Supervisor. He was involved in the bi-weekly legislative forums held
by the Carroll Chamber of Commerce. Behn has definitely been a
reliable lawmaker in supporting the Republican caucus in the Senate.

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Iowa Independent: Speculation continues on Branstad running mate

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

Last week, during a stop in Cedar Rapids, former Gov. Terry Branstad
was asked about the likelihood that he could choose former rival
Christian Fong as his lieutenant governor. Branstad, who has been
traveling around the state holding events but has not yet officially
joined the race, said it was too early to be talking about picking a
running mate. ... To many, it seems strange that this early in the
process, with the Republican gubernatorial primary more than six
months away, to be discussing running mates. But rumors have been
swirling around a potential Branstad pick for months. In September,
one of his chief rivals, Bob Vander Plaats, took a shot at Branstad
when he said he was "not looking to balance the ticket with somebody
who is moderate or liberal," alluding to the choice of abortion-rights
supporter Joy Corning by Branstad in 1990. Branstad seemed to respond
during an October meeting with a group of social conservative leaders.
He said he planned to choose a younger conservative to run with him,
which led many to look at the 32-year-old Fong.

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Bleeding Heartland: Des Moines Rotary members blackball Planned Parenthood employee

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Des Moines Rotary voted down an applicant for the first time in the
chapter's history, Rekha Basu reported in her Des Moines Register
column on Friday. Susy Robinette is well-known in the community as a
former news anchor for Des Moines' NBC affiliate and a former
reporter, anchor and news director at the Fox affiliate here.
Apparently 11 members of the club rejected her application because she
is now the chief development officer at Planned Parenthood of the
Heartland (previously Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa). ...
Officials would not release the names of the members who voted against
Robinette, but Wielege said they are reviewing by-laws that allow 11
out of 334 members to block an application. If you know anyone in Des
Moines Rotary, you might want to mention that you were disappointed to
learn that a small minority of people who dislike Planned Parenthood's
mission took it out on Robinette.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Terry Branstad's accountability problem

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

For a guy who claims to be proud of his record, former governor Terry Branstad sure has a funny way of showing it. On one issue after another, Branstad takes credit for things he didn't do and evades responsibility for things he did. So, the governor who kept two sets of books boasts about enacting budget reforms that that other people pushed in response to his fiscal mismanagement. The governor who used state bonding more than once says that politicians who create debt should be voted out of office. Pressed on his record of expanding gambling in Iowa, Branstad has suggested he had little choice in the matter: "What was I supposed to do? Over 70% of the people wanted it even though I was personally opposed to it." Now Branstad is playing the same game on the Road Use Tax Fund and the idea of eliminating federal deductibility from Iowa's tax system.

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Politically Speaking: Gronstal: Gay marriage won't be debated in 2010

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

During a taping of the IPTV "Iowa Press" show today, Republican leaders in the two Iowa chambers said they'd push ways to overturn same-sex marriage, which became legal in April following an Iowa Supreme Court ruling. Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley, R-Chariton, said he'd attempt to air ways to get a state constitutional referendum on marriage before Iowans. At roughly the same time McKinley was recording the show, here in Sioux City Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, was previewing key issues for 2010. After he addressed fiscal matters for the entire length of his remarks, I asked if he would allow a Senate floor debate on marriage. Nope, he quickly answered. Why? "I'm not about to put discrimination into the state constitution," Gronstal said. So you agree with the court ruling? "Yes."

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Essential Estrogen: All I want for Christmas

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

If I could have a Christmas miracle it would be that the Iowa GOP would begin to listen to those of us who don't put social issues as the most important issue to be focused on in the next legislative session. So many of us are hurting. Our families are suffering. We are putting on a brave face. When others ask us if we have our Christmas shopping done we might smile and say, "not yet" or "yes, it's all done." because we have no money for gifts and know that our artificial Christmas tree is up and decorated but underneath is bare. Our families understand, it's not the first time we've stood together and encouraged one another. Money is so tight. Some of us have lost our jobs, unexpected bills, the costs of health care, taxes, student loans and the lists goes on and on. Do we care about social issues? Sure, but that is not what we want our leaders to focus on when we are facing this economic crisis.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Bertroche joins crowded 3rd District primary

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

... Dr. Patrick Bertroche will formally announce his campaign for
Iowa's 3rd Congressional District today, at 12 pm. He has sent his FEC
papers by Fed/Ex Tuesday, and the next logical step is to move forward
and announce his intention to run for the 3rd District House seat. He
will announce his candidacy at E. 14th & Euclid Ave., near where the
old Younkers store used to be, to illustrate the need for better
infrastructure and job growth that Iowa needs for a better economy.
Dr. Pat is passionate about Iowa, and will bring a depth of knowledge
and vast experience on all issues that affect Iowans, especially
Medicare reimbursement and job creation for the 3rd District of Iowa.
Dr. Pat plans to work closely with local and state officials to boost
small business growth and job creation.

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Bleeding Heartland: Gibbons shows it's who you know, not what you know

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

A lot of major Republican donors co-hosted a fundraiser last night for
Jim Gibbons' Congressional campaign in Iowa's third district. The big
names included Bruce Rastetter, Gary Kirke, Denny Elwell and John
Ruan, as well as Greg Ganske, who represented Iowa's fourth
Congressional district (including Polk County) from 1995 to 2003.
Apparently none of these people were put off by the ludicrous tax
holiday proposal Gibbons floated last week. ... I wonder how long it
will be before Zaun and Gibbons start attacking each other as well as
incumbent Leonard Boswell. Rival Republican candidate Dave Funk's been
passed over by the GOP bigwigs. I'm curious to see how much he can
raise from smaller donors who buy into his ill-informed comments on
energy policy and other matters. Will the "Tea Party" crowd get
involved on his behalf?

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Politically Speaking: Grassley: China, U.S. emissions should be equal

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said the United Nations Climate
Change Conference playing out in Copenhagen should result in a
level playing field that puts the U.S. on par with China. The world's
Top Three polluters of carbon dioxide, in order, are China, U.S. and
India. "(The goal should be) American and China being on the same
level playing field of reducing pollution. We should obviously expect
China, the Number One polluter, to be doing as much as we're doing.
And then that gives a level playing field for our economy, so we don't
lose more manufacturing to China," Grassley said. Grassley said he
couldn't specify a CO2 reduction number that should come out of the
conference. Environmentalists have pointed to the goal of reducing
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Iowa Progress: Bruce's backing band

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

With it becoming increasingly clear that both Terry Branstad and Jim Gibbons are Bruce Rastetter's boys in the GOP Primaries for Governor and in the 3rd District (and both receiving the requisite support from Bruce's little buddy, Nick Ryan), the question is how religious conservatives react to Gibbons and Branstad receiving the support of Iowa's big business GOP establishment. It's clear that the people backing Gibbons and Branstad are not real social conservatives and that issues like gay marriage are secondary to implementing goofy tax programs. This offers opportunities for opponents of both Gibbons and Branstad as George W. Bush Republicans enthralled with big business and government spending rather than committed to limited government and moral values. Clearly if Branstad or Gibbons have to pick between Wells Fargo and constitutional amendment to define marriage, they're picking the former.

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Krusty Konservative: Rants attacked in YouTube video

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

For most of this year, Christopher Rants has been the one candidate who has aggressively attacked his opponents. Last summer, he questioned Bob Vander Plaats tenure at Opportunity unlimited. This fall he has relentlessly attacked Terry Branstad. To date, nobody has returned fire on Rants. The only shot any candidate has fired at Rants was from the Vander Plaats campaign. In a press release, Vander Plaats called him Chris "Ready, Fire, Aim" Rants. Cute, but not effective. It was just a matter of time before Rants would push one of his opponents or allies to the brink. Yesterday, Kevin Hall of the Des Moines Examiner "stumbled" upon a new YouTube video. Let me tell you something, I've been blogging since February of 2006. I've never stumbled upon anything. Part of the reason is that I just don't have the time to look, but the other reason is that I don't need to look around for stuff because people make sure I see things. I'm sure this is the case from Mr. Hall.

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Iowa Independent: Grassley speaks out against loud TV ads

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

They may not agree on much (health care reform, climate change, housing terrorism suspects in Illinois) but Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley have found common ground on at least one issue -- loud television advertisements. Asked by reporters if he'd be willing to support a bill passed by the U.S. House Tuesday targeting loud television ads, Grassley said he would but hasn't seen the specific bill yet. "Since I control the channel switcher in my house, I get tired of my wife telling me to turn it down every time a commercial comes on," he said. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM Act, ends the practice of advertisers adjusting the volume of their television ads to be excessively and disproportionately loud during normal programming. The legislation passed the House by voice vote. Braley issued a release about the bill shortly after its passage, saying it would help prevent "noise pollution."

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Iowa Progress: Letting the people decide

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

The Washington D.C. City Council has voted to allow gays and lesbians to marry today. However, DC legislation can be overruled by Congress within 30 days due to its status as a Federal District. The question is how will Steve King react? King claimed his opposition to the Iowa Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage was because they were legislating from the bench. This is a case of legislating from the legislature. King, or Tom Latham for that matter, may not approve of the DC Council's decision but it is their business to overrule the elected representatives of the people of Washington D.C. If King is sincere in his belief that the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court is wrong, he'll back the DC City Council's decision. However, if he doesn't, all these claims about defending judicial minimalism and popular sovereignty will just seem like excuses for homophobia.

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God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll: Why health care reform will pass

Excerpted from this post at God, Politics and Rock 'n' Roll

A majority of Americans oppose the health care reform bill making its way through Congress, but Congress will pass a bill anyway. That's because Democrats will face a completely dispirited base if they don't act on a primary issue among Democratic voters. With no base support, a candidate has NO chance. With the base, a candidate at least has the POSSIBILITY of re-establishing public support.

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The Iowa Republican: Gibbons wins over GOP heavy hitters

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

This evening, Denny Elwell is hosting a holiday party for Jim Gibbons' campaign for Congress. Gibbons is one of four official candidates who is seeking the Republican nomination in Iowa's third congressional district. Along with Gibbons, State Senator Brad Zaun, retired airline pilot Dave Funk, and retired architect Mark Rees are all competing for the opportunity to take on Congressman Leonard Boswell in the 2010 general election. Elwell, a commercial real estate developer, is a well-connected donor who has given to a number of Republican candidates over the years. The Elwell event will provide the first glimpse of how well Gibbons can raise money for his campaign. With the crowded primary field, donor money will be at a premium.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Chet Culver: Iowa's one term wonder?

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

This oughta wake you up today: It's all George W. Bush's fault that
Chet Culver is our governor! After all, it was President Bush who
signed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) into law in 2002. Designed to
quell the 2000 election controversy from the infamous "hanging chads,"
Chet Culver found his office flush with cash...and how he spent this
money is highly instructive of the man that would one day become
Iowa's 41st Governor. The Inspector General conducted an audit of the
HAVA act and found multiple concerns regarding how Chet Culver managed
our tax dollars. ... Fast forward to 2009 and we find a state in need
of fiscal triage. Are you surprised? There are two stories being told
in Des Moines right now: 1) The Governor, now in full blown campaign
mode, would have you believe it's all George W. Bush's fault.

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Iowa Progress: Jim Gibbons and Wells Fargo

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

Jim Gibbons's campaign for Congress seems to be rooted in his job at
Wells Fargo that he held before moving to Des Moines to run. Despite
Gibbons's harebrained economic ideas, he still touts himself as a
businessman as one of the core reasons he's running for Congress.
However, Gibbons has said nothing about TARP and the bailouts of last
year that proved so unpopular among much of the GOP base which he is
trying to court. There's a good reason for this. As an employee of
Wells Fargo, Jim Gibbons worked for a corporation that received $25
billion of taxpayer money. That's $25 billion that went to keep Wells
Fargo solvent and from having to lay off employees, one of whom, of
course, was Jim Gibbons. Further, since it received the money, Wells
Fargo has been the last big bank to pay it back.

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The Iowa Republican: Third District congressional primary gets crowded

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Two years ago, Iowa Republicans struggled to find one candidate to
challenge Congressman Leonard Boswell in the general election despite
the fact that Boswell faced a primary challenge of his own. Now, as
many as five candidates are vying for the Republican nomination in
Iowa's third congressional district. The latest candidate to emerge is
Mark Rees. Rees, a retired architect, looks to be the moderate
candidate in the Republican primary. ... The addition of Rees to the
Republican field of candidates brings the number of candidates who
have filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election
Commission to four. Rees joins Dave Funk, Jim Gibbons, and Brad Zaun
as announced candidates, and Pat Bertroche has campaigned but not
filed with the FEC. The robust field of candidates provides
Republicans in the third district with a lot of choices when it comes
time to vote in the primary next June.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

FromDC2Iowa: Deficits, taxes, Culver and the highway lobby

Excerpted from this post at FromDC2Iowa

Support the Troopers: A Rational Approach to Taxation ... Governor
Chet Culver, looking down the well into a near-billion-dollar 2010
deficit, wants to take $46 million from Iowa's $1.144 billion Road Use
Tax Fund to keep the State's Highway Patrol on the roads. Few if any
industries have more power over states' legislatures than their
highway lobbies. Iowa's no exception. They are an important sub-set of
the industries that, together, have created America's auto-dependent
transportation system -- leaving us without the passenger rail
networks other nations have. Think about it: the oil companies and
their station owner-operators; the automobile manufacturers, unions,
and dealers; the cement, steel, heavy equipment, and highway
contractor companies; all the independent auto repair businesses; the
auto scrap steel firms -- it goes on and on. We've paved some 61,000
square miles of America for roads and parking lots. That's an area
that, if it were a state, would make it the 24th largest state in the
country. It approaches the equivalent of the amount of land planted in
wheat.

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Bleeding Heartland: Harkin may try to change "abusive" filibuster

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The Constitution does not contain a supermajority requirement for
ordinary legislation to pass the Senate, but the filibuster has
evolved into a means to kill any bill unless 60 senators support it.
The current use of the filibuster is not "traditional." This memo from
December 1964 shows that no one imagined Medicare would need more than
a simple majority in the Senate. There was no expectation that Lyndon
Johnson's reform efforts would fail if Medicare couldn't command a
filibuster-proof majority. Senator Tom Harkin tried to change Senate
rules on the filibuster in 1995, and the Burlington Hawk Eye reports
that he may try again, "Given what he sees as the abuse of power by a
couple members of his own party whom he said are threatening to join
the minority party if their every demand is not met." ... Harkin's
idea would preserve means for senators to slow down debate on a bill
without imposing a 60-vote threshold for all bills in the Senate.

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The Iowa Republican: Flaws begin to emerge in Branstad campaign

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

For most of this year, former Governor Terry Branstad has dominated
political news stories across the state. The speculation that began
this past summer about a run for a fifth term for Branstad came to
fruition this fall when he retired from Des Moines University to focus
on his campaign. As a potential candidate, Branstad enjoys what one
would expect from a former governor. Since June, Branstad has beaten
current Governor Chet Culver in head-to-head polls conducted by
TheIowaRepublican.com, the Iowa First Foundation, and The Des Moines
Register. In each of those polls, Branstad doesn't win by a narrow
margin; he crushes Governor Culver by 20 points. Much of the success
that Branstad enjoyed in the early polls can be attributed to two
things. First, Branstad has tremendous name recognition across the
state, even after being out of the political spotlight for the last
decade. Second, Iowans are frustrated with Governor Culver and have
concluded that he is not up to the task of leading the state through
these difficult economic times.

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Hawkeye GOP: HD37 -- The main event

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye GOP

Last fall in Linn County's House District 37, my friend Renee Schulte
defeated the incumbent, Art Staed by 13 votes. Given the razor thin
margin, everyone knew that this race would be targeted in 2010. Renee
has been working hard already. She has been out door-knocking and this
week -- until the blizzard interfered -- my crew and I were going to
do a lit drop for her. (My crew of Chung children think that lit drop
is a synonym for Dairy Queen.) Many of us have been speculating who
the Democrats would run to attempt to regain the seat. Well, today
according to the CR Gazette, there is at least on Democrat in the
running. The Gazette reports that Mark Seidl a Cedar Rapids attorney
will challenge Schulte for the seat.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

The Iowa Republican: Cownie eyeing higher office?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

So, a few weeks back, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie was one of a
handful of mayors invited to the White House for a jobs summit. Now, I
hear that Cownie is on his way to Copenhagen for the climate change
summit. I'd say, either this guy likes going to summits without
climbing mountains, or he has some aspirations for higher office. And
based on the subject matter of these little shindigs, I'm guessing
it's federal office. So what do you think he's eyeing? Is he the kind
of guy who will challenge a sitting Republican, or will he play it
safe and wait for Harkin to retire? Perhaps wait for a Boswell
retirement (or, if Boswell loses, challenge a one-term GOP incumbent)?
Or is he faking us all out and waiting for his post-Culver
gubernatorial opportunity? I think he's going to have to do a little
more to get his local house in order before anyone else in the state
will take him seriously.

Politically Speaking: King sees ACORN in acorn

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King couldn't believe what he saw
Monday during the annual White House Christmas party. Republican King
has been a big critic in trying to get the federal government to rein
in the activities of the Association of Community Organizations for
Reform Now, typically known not by that name but rather the acronym
ACORN. Republicans since early 2008 have been pushing a connection of
voter fraud by ACORN to President Obama, who once worked for the
association. When the association had a spate of negative publicity
when a worker gave tax advice to a duo posing as a prostitute and pimp
(and recorded the exchange for video). So King couldn't believe his
eyes when he saw the holiday cookies that were in the shape of an
acorn. "I didn't expect to see such stark symbolism," King said in an
e-mail to Fox News.

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Iowa Progress: What's good for the goose

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

Tom Fiegen today sent out an attack on Roxanne Conlin and what he
termed "her troubled candidacy." Fiegen stated that her candidacy was
tainted because of GOP attacks over the attorney's fees that Conlin
and 150 other lawyers received for their work for the State of Iowa in
a class action lawsuit against Microsoft. What's interesting about
Fiegen's attack is that he's using it not to attack Conlin personally
but saying it gives fuel to "the GOP attack machine." What Fiegen is
saying is that Conlin may have done nothing wrong but the Republicans
are attacking her for it and that makes her a weaker candidate. In
short, he's playing the electability card and claiming that this makes
him a better candidate as a result. This tries to turn the
conventional wisdom of the race on its head. Conlin has a statewide
profile as a former Democratic nominee for Governor and the first
female U.S. Attorney in Iowa history.

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Hawkeye Review: Tremors abound: Are we on the verge of a political "earthquake?"

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

History is a never ending river of events that flows each day through
and around our lives. Many of us participate, others choose to live
their lives in ignorance. Some swim upstream and others go with the
flow. In recent months, it's those individuals swimming upstream that
have captured the imaginations of a weary and increasingly fractured
electorate. You know the names; Palin, Beck, "Tea-Publicans." I have
two recommended reads for you this morning. First up, the Washington
Post: "For Conservatives, A Political Surge." Next, a post from Erick
Erickson, founder of the influential web site Redstate.com who pens:
"A Very Necessary Republican Civil War." Our republic has thrived with
a dominant, two-party political system going all the way back to our
founding. Yes, the names have changed, but it's now clear that we are
in the early stages of our next political earthquake, which may
transform our political system yet again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Two tax votes reveal Republican priorities

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The House of Representatives approved the Tax Extenders Act of 2009 on
Wednesday by a vote of 241 to 181. As you can see from the roll call,
all but ten Democrats voted for the bill, including Iowa's Bruce
Braley, Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell. All but two Republicans
voted against it, including Iowa's Tom Latham and Steve King. After
the jump I've posted more details about the business tax credits that
would be extended if this bill becomes law. On December 3, the House
passed the Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families Farmers and Small
Businesses Act, which caps the estate tax at 45 percent and exempts
estates worth up to $3.5 million (preserving this tax at 2009 levels).
Again, all of Iowa's Democrats voted for the bill. Iowa's Republicans
voted against it. If Congress had not acted, the estate tax would have
been repealed in 2010 and then would have reverted to its 2001 level
in 2011 (a 55 percent tax on estates valued above $1 million).

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Essential Estrogen: Another litmus test?

Excerpted from this post at Essential Estrogen

Joni Scotter of Marion is a member of the Iowa Republican Party's
State Central Committee. She has recently come under attack for
choosing to be a member of Terry Branstad's corridor campaign
committee. The by-laws of the Party do not say anything about members
working or volunteering for campaigns. Much like anything else, there
are those unwritten rules. It sounds like this might be one of them.
Personally, it doesn't make any difference to me. The people who
usually get elected to committees like the State Central Committee are
activists to start with. How is one expected to just sit and fold
their hands when an important race is going on. More of an issue of
Joni working to support a Republican is the fact that one of her
loudest complainers was just paid thousands of dollars to help elect a
Democrat! Who is really failing this litmus test?

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Politically Speaking: Smith in for GOP, May bowing out

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

We're seeing a period where candidates are settling on decisions to
run for the Iowa Legislature in 2010. A few days ago it was Sioux City
Democrat Rick Mullin announcing he'd run for the position to be
vacated when fellow city Dem Wes Whitead doesn't seek re-election in
Iowa House District 1. And Republican Jeremy Taylor of Sioux City will
almost certainly vie with Mullin for the spot in the general election.
Now, we learn from the Spencer Daily Reporter that Mike May, a
Republican from Spirit Lake, won't run for a fourth term to Iowa House
District 6. There's a Republican ready to fill the bill for the GOP,
as Okoboji banker Jeff Smith has declared his candidacy. In the piece,
May gives endorsement to Smith, like Whitead did for Mullin. Smith
wants to control "out of control" state spending.

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The Iowa Republican: Conlin proves she is good at spending other people's money

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

It should come as no surprise. A few weeks after announcing that she
is a candidate for the United States Senate, Roxanne Conlin is
standing beside Governor Chet Culver announcing that Iowa schools will
receive $60 million in vouchers for computers as part of the Microsoft
settlement that made her rich. In a way, Conlin is taking credit for
doling out money from the Microsoft settlement much like Senator Tom
Harkin takes credit for passing out money to school districts in the
form of Harkin Grants. What's ironic about Conlin's recent press
conference with Governor Culver is the fact that her case against
Microsoft has nothing to do with the $60 million that schools will
receive in vouchers. Microsoft made the exact same deal with 19 other
states before it settled with Iowa. So while this week's press
conference works nicely with Roxanne Conlin's Senate campaign, it
really has nothing to with her.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Herd on the Hill: Culver fails to understand Iowa's budget again

Excerpted from this post at Herd on the Hill

Governor Culver today claimed that he balanced the states budget
without using any of the one time bailout money received from the
federal government. This statement is completely and totally false as
illustrated by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency below.
Either Governor Culver does not know or he is intentionally misleading
the people of Iowa, either way it is unacceptable. Last year over $616
million in one time federal bailout money was used by Governor Culver
to balance Iowa's budget.

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John Deeth Blog: Boswell on GOP "Dem Retirement Assault List"

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

National Journal: "GOP strategists are putting extra pressure on more
than a dozen Dem lawmakers, hoping to convince them to retire rather
than face difficult re-elections." ... Hey, Repubs: I'm with ya on
this one, but let the record show I was doing it before you were....
Why, Deeth, why? 1) the war vote in 2002 2) chronically underperforms
the district 3) doomed to lose a redistricting matchup with Tom Latham
but most of all 4) despite a little bit better voting record (thanks,
Ed, for the push) he continues to self-ID as a Blue Dog. Quit the Blue
Dogs, Leonard, then call me.

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The Iowa Republican: Time to change and consolidate state government

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

While the economy continues to struggle, state lawmakers have a rare
and valuable opportunity for major change and reform within state
government. Governor Culver and Iowa Legislators must not pass up this
chance to completely change the way the State of Iowa does business.
There is no better time to evaluate and make state government better
for Iowa taxpayers. I recommend to Governor Culver and the Iowa
Legislature, take this time to make sweeping changes to state
government; consolidate duplicative departments, agencies, and
programs.

Bleeding Heartland: Braley wants "Buy American" provisions in jobs bill

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

President Barack Obama announced more details today about provisions
he wants in the jobs bill Congress will take up soon: "Obama proposed
new spending for highway and bridge construction, for small business
tax cuts and for retrofitting millions of homes to make them more
energy-efficient." ... Populist Caucus Chairman Bruce Braley (IA-01)
and House Trade Working Group Chairman Mike Michaud (ME-02) wrote to
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
today, urging them to make sure the jobs bill contains a strong "Buy
American" provision.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Revisionist history watch: Branstad budget edition

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

The editors of the conservative Fort Dodge Messenger are ecstatic
about Terry Branstad's gubernatorial campaign, and they got a little
carried away in this Sunday editorial ... Who are they kidding?
Branstad's sleight of hand on the budget was so notorious that as a
three-term incumbent, he almost lost the 1994 GOP primary to Fred
Grandy. That campaign centered on "the Mastercard governor" and his
record of fiscal mismanagement, including keeping two sets of books to
hide deficits. As State Representative Chris Rants has noted, Branstad
likes to take credit for budget reforms that were not his idea and
were intended to prevent future governors from repeating his mistakes.
That's to be expected from a politician, but I expect more
reality-based commentary from newspaper editors.

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The Iowa Republican: Culver's chief of staff ordered intimidation of Des Moines Register reporter

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Emails obtained by TheIowaRepublican.com between Governor Chet
Culver’s communications staff and two Des Moines Register reporters
show that the Governor's office threatened Des Moines Register
political reporter Jason Clayworth after he publishing unflattering
photos of Governor Culver while Culver participated in a triathlon.
Clayworth's blog appeared on the Des Moines Register's political page
for less than an hour on the afternoon of November 18th. ... The email
exchange clearly shows the Governor's office purposely intimidating a
reporter in hopes to get the story removed from the Register's
website. It is obvious that Clayworth took Seidler's threat to black
list him very seriously. If he would have refused to give into
Seidler's demands, Clayworth might have put his own job in jeopardy.
As a political reporter, it is imperative for him to have the ability
to ask the Governor's office for information and comment, Seidler's
threat essentially would have made it impossible for Clayworth to do
his job.

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Iowa Progress: Jim Gibbons pinned as a carpetbagger

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Progress

If you go on to Jim Gibbons's Facebook page, you find the seemingly
banal information that Jim Gibbons's hometown is Des Moines. The only
problem with it is that it isn't true. Jim Gibbons was born and raised
in Ames, not Des Moines. After ending his career as a coach at Iowa
State, Gibbons moved to Perry, where he lived until last month. Both
Perry and Ames are in the 4th Congressional District and it is
difficult to live in either of those places if one wants to establish
residency to run for Congress in Iowa's Third District. It seems clear
that despite his Facebook claim that Des Moines is his "hometown,"
Gibbons has just moved to Polk County in the past few weeks to run
against Leonard Boswell. He is a carpetbagger. There's nothing wrong
with being a carpetbagger though. No one could argue that someone from
Boone County would be unable to understand the problems facing Polk
County or Jasper County but it does show there's some catching up to
do and there's the potential that you are unfamiliar with key local
issues.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Hawkeye Review: Jim Anderson named new RPI executive director

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

The members of the State Central Committee voted today to accept the
recommendation of Chairman Strawn's selection of Jim Anderson to serve
as the new Executive Director for the Republican Party of Iowa. After
the vote this afternoon, Strawn had the following press release: "Iowa
Republicans are poised for sweeping gains in 2010 from Terrace Hill to
local offices. We are fortunate to have someone of Jim's talents
joining our effort to bring competent and principled government to the
people of Iowa." Anderson also had remarks at the ready.

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The Iowa Republican: Conlin's 'Crawford exception'

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

The focus of Roxanne Conlin's campaign for the United States Senate is
pretty simple. First, take on special interests groups and political
action committees that have too much influence in American politics.
Second, remind people that her opponent Senator Chuck Grassley has
held elected office for over fifty years. Those are the two issues
that create the foundation of Roxanne Conlin's campaign, and that
strategy makes a lot of sense. The current political environment
should make any incumbent nervous, let alone a U.S. Senator who is
finishing his fifth term. Conlin has also said that she will not take
contributions to her campaign from lobbyists and political action
committees. Truth be told, she doesn't need to accept contributions
through those sources because they are unlikely to give to a Grassley
challenger anyway.

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Bleeding Heartland: He'll have to do better than that

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Brad Zaun made the news yesterday when he officially entered the race
against Leonard Boswell in Iowa's third Congressional district, and
rival Republican candidate Jim Gibbons apparently wanted a little
attention too. So Gibbons put out a press release accusing Boswell of
not working hard enough. ... I wondered whether 17 voting days in two
months was an unusually light load for the House of Representatives,
so I contacted David Waldman, who runs the outstanding Congress
Matters blog. He told me that the 109th Congress, the last under GOP
control, "had roll call votes on just 7 days in Jan/Feb 2006." Waldman
also noted that there were eleven days of roll call voting during the
first two months of 2004, twelve days during the comparable period in
2002, ten days in 2000, nine days in 1998, and ten days in 1996. The
Republicans controlled the House calendar during all of those years.
Gibbons should step up his background research before making unfounded
attacks on Boswell's work ethic.

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Politically Speaking: Taylor to vie with Mullin in District 1

Excerpted from this post at Politically Speaking

On Monday we learned State Rep. Wes Whitead, D-Sioux City, will not
run for re-election in November 2010 to Iowa House District 1, and
that city longtime Democratic activist Rick Mullin will look to follow
Whitead in the position. Mullin has the endorsement of Whitead. In
writing the piece, I was placed a call to Sioux City teacher Jeremy
Taylor, who ran against Whitead in 2008 and narrowly lost. Taylor had
left the door open to another run, and I was surprised when he didn’t
call me back. Now I know why -- he is in Army basic training at Fort
Jackson, S.C., and will graduate in a week. Taylor then he heads out
for intelligence school training through May. Anyway, I have it from
two sources that Taylor will run. Kraig Paulsen, the Iowa House
Minority Leader heading the Republican caucus, today said "my
expectation is that Jeremy is going to run." Paulsen said Taylor will
be making a formal announcement on his House District 1 plans at some
point prior to the March filing deadline.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Bleeding Heartland: Senate district 41 will be a race to watch in 2010

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

With Democrats defending 19 of the 25 Iowa Senate districts on the ballot next fall, we don't have many opportunities to make gains in the upper chamber. However, I've long felt that Democrats should make a serious play for Senate district 41 in Scott County. Dave Hartsuch is far too conservative for a district that was long represented by Maggie Tinsman, whom Hartsuch defeated in the 2006 GOP primary. Historically, the Bettendorf area has been strongly Republican, but Democrats have made gains in recent years. Senate district 41 now has as many registered Democrats as Republicans. As I'd hoped, a Democratic candidate has stepped up to the plate, and Hartsuch will also have to fend off a primary challenge in the spring. ... In 2004, Dave Mulder defeated Senator Ken Veenstra in the Republican primary for Senate district 2. Mulder was socially conservative but emphasized education and economic development in his campaign. Veenstra was best-known for championing anti-gay legislation.

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Iowa Independent: Rants smacks Branstad's conservative credentials

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent

In an interview with the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, former Gov. Terry Branstad said those who say he's not conservative enough for the Republican Party "don't know me." One of Branstad's rivals for the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nomination was quick to respond, saying the former governor's critics know him all too well. "It was Terry Branstad on the other end of the phone when he called lobbying me to raise the cigarette tax when I was Speaker [of the Iowa House]," state Rep. Chris Rants said. "It was Terry Branstad wielding the veto pen when he gutted our education reform legislation because Republicans wouldn't go along with all the spending he wanted. It is Terry Branstad's signature on the largest tax increase in Iowa history." Branstad went on to complain about the "confrontational right," saying politicians can no longer disagree respectfully.

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Hawkeye Review: It's no laughing matter...

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Although I didn't support Governor Huckabee in the last Presidential cycle, there's no doubt he found political "traction" right here in the Hawkeye state and continued to grow his political brand and popularity during and since the run up to the nomination. Huck is personally likable, you can't deny that. Even if you don't agree with his policies, you probably laughed at his jokes. I know I did. Today, nobody is laughing. It appears Governor Huckabee has just scuttled his political career. No, not because he gave clemency to cop killer Maurice Clemmons, it's because he demonstrated a "pattern" of bad judgment over many years that can't be explained away by a press release or a mea culpa. The damage is done. I hope Huck enjoys continued success on his Fox show and in his own unique way, continues to help energize and shape a stronger Republican electorate in the coming months and years. If for reasons of personal ambition, Huck were to emerge back onto the political stage as a candidate for POTUS, then he also brings this tragic story back to the limelight where it will remain center stage for years to come.

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Krusty Konservative: Your trash is my treasure -- RPI ED candidate has a checkered past

Excerpted from this post at Krusty Konservative

Politics is a small, strange world. Politics is also a relationship business. It's not what you know, it's who you know. Sure, there are other professions in which that is the case, but politics is the ultimate networking game. How else can you explain that the guy rumored to be the next Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa was recently fired from the Republican National Committee for sticking his nose where it didn't belong? Well, if the chatter coming from a few members of the State Central Committee is correct, then the former Deputy Political Director at the RNC, Jim Anderson, is about to take over the reins at the Republican Party of Iowa. As Deputy Political Director at the RNC, Anderson served under Gentry Collins who is the RNC's Political Director. Collins, who worked for Romney before becoming a Regional Campaign Manager for McCain's general election campaign, hired Anderson to run the Victory program here in Iowa.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Iowa Republican: State of the race: How Fong's departure affects the rest of the field

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

When Christian Fong suspended his campaign for governor, the
Republican primary field shrunk to a four man contest. Yes, five
candidates still remain, but State Senator Jerry Behn isn't a serious
candidate like the other four are. Behn has only attended a handful of
events in central Iowa and has been absent from the campaign trail for
most of the fall. Still, while he may not have a legitimate shot at
winning the nomination, he can influence the race by his presence and
what he says when he does show up at events or forums. As the end of
the year approaches and people are preparing for the holidays, the
gubernatorial candidates are in a mad dash to raise money before the
end-of-the-year filing deadline. Candidates will have to report how
much money they have raised in 2009 on January 19, 2010. On that
Tuesday, we will have a better idea of how these candidates stack up
against one another.

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Hawkeye GOP: Primary leadership

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye GOP

There has certainly been a great deal of discussion about litmus tests
and Party Leaders supporting (or not supporting) Republican
Candidates. Here in Iowa, the Pocahontas County Central Committee is
working on amending their constitution to direct the committee to: ...
reject a nominee we find too liberal ... The Constitution and Bylaws
of the Republican Party of Iowa do not prohibit members of the State
Central Committee from endorsing or even even serving on the staff of
campaigns during primary elections. Just as I want to keep the RNC out
of our local primaries, I also want to keep RPI out of our primaries.
I resigned my position on the SCC to keep my promise to my district. I
did not want my support for Christian Fong to become a conflict of
interest. Even though, Fong has dropped out of the race I have no
regrets about keeping my word. In September, I went to the District
Executive Committee meeting that elected my successor on the SCC. I
thought that all three candidates had promised to follow my lead and
remain neutral in primaries.

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Bleeding Heartland: Paul McKinley's miracle cure for special-needs children

Excerpted from this post at Bleeding Heartland

Just teach them how to read in kindergarten and first grade. Then they
won't be "identified" by the state as having special needs. No,
really, that's what Iowa Senate Republican leader Paul McKinley said
in a meeting on Tuesday with journalists from the Des Moines Register.
... I'm astounded that McKinley seems to believe special-needs
children simply weren't taught to read well enough. Many kids with
special needs can read. Some kids on the autism spectrum are even
advanced readers, or are gifted in some other area ("twice
exceptional" children). Reading doesn't make their learning
disabilities or other difficulties disappear. If McKinley thinks the
state of Iowa artificially inflates the number of special-needs
children to secure more funding, how does he imagine parents fit in
with this scheme? I have friends raising children on the autism
spectrum, as well as friends whose children have genetic defects, were
exposed to drugs in utero or were abused and neglected as infants.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

John Deeth Blog: Afghanistan: Obama has told us before

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth Blog

He told us before, you know. Waaaay back in 2002, state senator Barack
Obama told us that Iraq was the wrong war and Afghanistan was the war
we needed to fight. No one imagined that seven years later, President
Obama would be in a position to turn that policy statement into
action. But that's what's going to be announced tonight, and despite
the years of advance notice, those of us on the left are feeling let
down. The 2008 general election turned on economic issues, but back in
2007, when no one but Longtime Party Activists In Iowa -- you know,
the kind of people reading this post -- was paying attention, it was
about the war. The peace movement was key to Obama's caucus win.
Hillary Clinton gave him the opening. Focused on general election
politics and presuming a slam-dunk primary win whenever she chose to
run for president, she chose to "look tough" in the fall of 2002 and
voted for Bush's Iraq war.

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Hawkeye Review: A class act ... and the future of the Iowa GOP

Excerpted from this post at Hawkeye Review

Gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong suspended his campaign this
morning. You can read the press release on his campaign web page
here. Fong is a highly accomplished individual. Personally,
professionally and now politically. How is that you say? He just
"suspended" his campaign. I think there's a strong chance that years
from now, many will look back on this day and acknowledge it was the
right tactical move to make. Even those who don't currently support
Christian Fong have openly admitted "Fong is the future of our party
in Iowa." I heard this statement again only hours ago from a key
Branstad supporter here in the state. I've intentionally held back on
posting this to observe some reaction. My phone has been ringing and
I've heard nothing but complimentary feedback.

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The Iowa Republican: Republicans have Culver on the ropes, but can they deliver the knockout punch?

Excerpted from this post at The Iowa Republican

Despite the reality of the world around him, Governor Chet Culver
always seems to find a way to be optimistic when talking about the
condition of the state or his campaign. When the state ended the FY
2009 budget year with a $161 million deficit, Culver remained calm and
refused to call a special session to deal with the unbalanced budget.
Instead, Culver opted to transfer $45.3 million from the state's
economic emergency fund and withheld paying $30 million in corporate
tax refunds until the next fiscal year to balance last year's budget.
When the Revenue Estimating Conference met at the end of the fiscal
year in July, Governor Culver ignored the warning signs in hopes that
revenues would rebound in the second half of the year. They didn't,
and since Governor Culver once again failed to call back the
legislature to deal with the state's overspending, he was forced to
implement a reckless ten-percent across-the-board budget cut.

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Price of Politics, Etc.: Zaun to announce for Congress Thursday

Excerpted from this post at Price of Politics, Etc.

Add another name to the race for Congress. Republican State Senator
Brad Zaun will announce Thursday that he wants to take on 3rd District
Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell. Zaun told me last month he was
thinking about running. Now, he's ready to say he's doing more than
just thinking. He will announce at 10am at Sellers Hardware in Des
Moines. Zaun worked there when he was growing up (his mother owns it
now). He later operated Zaun's Hardware in Urbandale as he started
transitioning into politics. The primary race is getting a bit crowded
now. Former National Guard pilot Dave Funk announced first. Then
former Iowa State wrestler and coach Jim Gibbons got in. Republicans
now have a three-way battle for the nomination.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Battleground Iowa: Election Day showdown: Griess v. Vlassis

Excerpted from this post at Battleground Iowa

In case you didn't know, today is actually an election day. That's
right, there are several municipal run-off elections taking place
today, including one that could potentially unseat a living legend of
the Des Moines City Council, Tom Vlassis. And by "living legend," I
mean living legend of incompetence. Political newcomer, Halley Griess,
23, scored a huge upset last month when he garnered enough votes to
prevent Vlassis from reaching the majority he needed to assure
retention of his council seat. And why was this young man able to do
this? Umm, probably because Vlassis was up to his eyeballs in one of
Iowa's biggest political scandals, CIETC. While Vlassis was not
criminally convicted, he was a member of the CIETC board that was
supposed to be overseeing and approving the organization's actions...
and he failed miserably. As Griess rightfully continues to point out,
rather than do his job as a member of the CIETC board, Vlassis
testified before the state legislature that he was a "rubber stamp,"
approving what Archie Brooks and Ramona Cunningham asked him to.
They're now in jail.

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Coralville Courier: Reed and Miller-Meeks are busy, what about Rathje?

Excerpted from this post at Coralville Courier

GOP primary race to face liberal Dave Loebsack, current U.S.
Congressman representing Iowa's Second District. ... Solon native and
Cedar Rapids businessman Christopher Reed officially announced his
candidacy to face Dave "Pelosi Parrot" Loebshack on November 5th. Reed
is holding an event this weekend featuring Former Presidential
Candidate Duncan Hunter Sr. ... It seems Cedar Rapids businessman
Steve Rathje has a desire to hold office, but doesn't want to do the
work necessary to get elected. He made it known he was running some
time ago but he has no events scheduled and the most recent activity
on his campaign website is a news piece from May. Rathje finished
third in the three man 2008 GOP Senate primary and was a no-show for
the only televised debate among candidates.

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Popular Progressive: Krause, Fiegan, and Conlin: Grassley challengers

Excerpted from this post at Popular Progressive

To the point that Roxanne Conlin entered the race to be the Democratic
U.S. Senate candidate, scarcely a peep had been made by the state's
newspapers about the two other candidates running for the Democratic
nomination. Bob Krause and Tom Fiegan have been pounding the pavement
furiously trying to shore up support ahead of the June primary for
months. To be sure, neither Fiegan nor Krause are as well-known
candidates as Conlin who is best known for being defeated in her run
for Governor in 1982. And neither are women, which brings excitement
to a core constituency, particularly as Iowans have not seen fit to
elect a qualified female to Congress -- ever. And, if you saw Rekha
Basu's column in the Des Moines Register, Conlin has a compelling
personal story. Still, since there is so much time to learn about each
of the candidates and how they would represent Iowans, it is worth the
investment.

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Mike Schramm
Andy Szal

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