The Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention officially began at 9:00 AM this morning, but much of the real action took place in small conference rooms beforehand. The Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders factions competed for seats on the party’s State Central Committee.
At earlier district conventions in late April, Democratic delegates selected the at-large Congressional District members of the SCC. The Clinton-Sanders groups split those 16-16.
The chairs of the IDP’s various caucus committees, like the Latino Caucus, Stonewall Democrats Caucus and Veterans Caucus, also receive a vote on the SCC. Those were voted on this morning. Once again, the Sanders and Clinton groups organized their delegates to help elect supportive members in those meetings.
And once again, the breakdown came out to an exact split: 6 Clinton supporters and 6 Sanders supporters were elected as caucus chairs. That creates a 22-22 split overall. Five of the caucuses are newly-created, and won’t be fully incorporated into the SCC until a full vote from the convention later today. Those new caucuses are expected to be ratified.
However, in this morning’s elections, just as in the earlier SCC district elections, while these people were often aligned with one of the presidential candidates, it doesn’t mean they’re reflexively supportive of everything the Clinton or Sanders group wants to do.
And not all of the caucus chair races turned on strictly Clinton/Sanders lines. The Latino Caucus split more on age differences. Neither the Clinton or Sanders delegates voted as one, with the younger attendees voting for the younger candidate, who won. That apparently caused some fallout among several longtime Iowa Latino activists.
The big issue here is who is elected as the next IDP state chair in 2017. Andy McGuire is expected to not run for a second term, and with no one like Tom Harkin or Tom Vilsack still in statewide elected office to have a personal choice as next chair, it will likely be a wide-open battle. But it’s unlikely the SCC members will vote in a completely uniform bloc – several of them have been around long enough they’ll likely just vote for whoever they want.
There are still three more SCC voting members to select: two DNC members and one Affirmative Action chair. Those will be voted on by the full convention this afternoon. So while the Sanders/Clinton supporters are split evenly now, the odd number of remaining seats will produce a majority.
Below are the results of the caucus chair races. An asterisk indicates it’s a new caucus that still needs to be ratified by the convention.
Asian/Pacific Islander Caucus
Som Baccam (Clinton)
Jamie Woods (Clinton)
Katherine Crist (Clinton)
Tammy Wawro (Clinton)
Brenda Phongsavanh (Sanders)
Native American Caucus
Loutish Dumkrieger (Sanders)
Jason Frerichs (Sanders)
Colleen Caldwell (Sanders)
Jean Pardee (Sanders)
Stonewall Democrats Caucus
Devin Kelly (Clinton)
Caleb Humphrey (Sanders)
Melinda Jones (Clinton)
by Pat Rynard