What Mike Carberry Could Bring To A Gubernatorial Race

Mike Carberry, a Johnson County Supervisor, said in a recent interview he was considering beginning an exploratory committee in a run for Governor. That admission sounds like he could be persuaded to run if he received sufficient encouragement. He said his interest in running is growing as a result of the prodding by others, most notably by former Bernie Sanders campaign leaders.

Carberry was an active leader in the Iowa Sanders’ movement, serving as a member of the Sanders’ Iowa Environmental Leadership Committee.

“Bernie Sanders believes that fossil fuel billionaires’ money in our political system poses the greatest threat to solving the climate crisis,” Carberry said in his endorsement of Sanders. “Bernie has the most comprehensive plan that both gets the money out of our political system and returns democracy back to the people while also completely addressing the devastating problem of climate change.”

Carberry also joined Sanders as he campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Iowa City just a few days before the November election. Carberry, Sanders, former Senator Tom Harkin and other local officials appeared on stage as they appealed to the crowd to cast their votes for Clinton.  “I ask you to ‘Feel the Bern’ and to fight like hell for Hillary Clinton,” Carberry said.

While Carberry doesn’t have statewide name recognition among the public, he is well known in the Democratic Party. He has served as Chair of the Johnson County Democrats and is a member of the Iowa Democratic State Central Committee. He was elected in 2014 to the Johnson County Supervisors and is serving his first term.

Before winning election to the Board of Supervisors, Carberry worked in the renewable energy and sustainability field, including as the Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Energy Association. He was also the Director of Green State Solutions, which organized voters around environmental issues. Mike is on the boards of both the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Iowa Wind Energy Association. Carberry says he is a proud tree-hugging member of the Republic of Johnson County.

Perhaps Carberry’s most noteworthy accomplishment as county supervisor was passing an increase in the Johnson County minimum wage. Johnson County was the first county to pass the increase followed by three other counties. However, that increase is about to be erased by the Republicans in the legislature with the passage of preemption law.

Carberry said his goals as Iowa Governor would be to push for rural development. That would include statewide internet access. He would push for a statewide minimum wage increase and continue to promote Iowa renewable energy sources. He added that we must address water quality issues. One of the solutions he suggests is the expansion of bio-digesters of manure as a source of renewable power. He wants to fully fund education saying our greatest state export is education.

He is hoping to gain the endorsement of the Sanders’ group “Our Revolution” if he decides to run. He’s committed to small donations and taking no Super PAC money.

Carberry could face some headwinds as a resident of Iowa City. Des Moines candidates sometimes have trouble winning over smaller towns, and many rural Iowans see Iowa City as a liberal bastion disconnected from the real world. That’s not an insurmountable obstacle, but one Carberry will need to address. He was born in Newhall, Iowa and spent part of his early life growing up in rural Iowa.

He plans to pursue the Governor’s race by meeting with Iowans and getting their input on his potential run. If Carberry runs his agenda would likely resonate with the large number of Sanders supporters in Iowa. It’s early, but a run for governor is going to require a great deal of funding and building up of his statewide name recognition.


by Rick Smith
Posted 3/30/17

5 Comments on "What Mike Carberry Could Bring To A Gubernatorial Race"

  • Mike would be a great candidate. Keep the picture of Mike with Bernie. That will help improve turnout. Or, you could just nominate Patti Judge for a shot at the Governor’s share. With the best chance in years, wouldn’t it be smart to pick a potential winner? Judge might actually carry a bunch of rural counties, taking them from the GOP base.

  • Serving one term as a county supervisor and being part of the state central committee does not make one “well known in the Democratic Party.”

    The more candidates we get, the more likely we are to end up with McGuire.

    • I really don’t think McGuire is well known in the state. She may be known to some of the wonks and county party central committee members that were involved in their central committee,caucuses and in the Hillary campaign. Thinking she is well known enough to a gov candidate is not accurate. If anything she is known for the debacle the 2016 Iowa caucuses created. Many active Dems weren’t happy with it. Many of us old timers weren’t happy with the treatment and sometimes disrespect we received from the HRC group. Those things are forgotten in 2 years.

    • I think that is true Jerry. So many activists are so wonkish they just think they can run for gov without much legislative experience. It takes legislative experience to be a governor the last successful Dem that I remember who wasn’t a legislator was Harold Hughes but he was one in a million. He had the right issues on his side when he ran for gov. Culver wasn’t a legislator either but at least he was near the legislature and new what was happening every day.

  • After reading the article, and the comments its clear to me that the only way democrats can gain control of the legislative branch’s,much less the governorship would be by default, caused by a total meltdown of the ultra-rightwing nuts now in control. Clinging to the status-quo of how we chose candidates deserving of a run, and the extreme ideas of inclusive everything rhetoric that won’t convince the fence sitting independent voters that we need in order to win back any control. A new paradigm of approach, and way of governance by democrats is needed, period!

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