With just three and a half weeks remaining in the Democratic primary, the candidates are criss-crossing the state and blanketing the airwaves and mailboxes with ads. They’re also rolling out endorsements from late-deciding leaders to project momentum. Here’s a look at some of the key developments from this week and what’s ahead.
The First Gubernatorial Debate
Make sure to block off some time this Sunday evening for the Democrats’ first gubernatorial debate. All six candidates gather in Davenport for a debate sponsored by KWQC and the Quad Cities Times – it starts at 6:00 PM and you can watch the live-stream on their website.
While the Democratic field has participated in countless forums around the state, this should be the first time where there’s a little more actual interaction between the candidates. We have yet to see any of the Democrats press each other in a serious way on various policy positions or aspects of their candidacies. Watch to see which candidates decide to mix it up with frontrunner Hubbell – and how Hubbell responds.
Fred Hubbell Gets His First Labor Endorsement
The Carpenters Union is putting its support behind Hubbell’s candidacy in the Democratic primary. They have about 4,500 members across Iowa. Hubbell’s campaign noted that his “commitment to restore collective bargaining rights and workers compensation” was a key factor in their endorsement. It’s notable that they’re the first union to endorse Hubbell in the race; nearly every other major union has supported Boulton, while Glasson has her own SEIU with her. It comes a few days after a poll showed Hubbell with a significant lead in the primary.
Labor Preparing Ads For Boulton
It looks like labor unions are going to start helping out Boulton on the airwaves. As Starting Line explained before, the Republicans took the legislative session so late this year that it pushed the 30-day PAC/lobbyist donation ban right through primary day. So, the labor PACs that contributed substantial funds to Boulton and Glasson before this year’s session haven’t – and won’t – be able to donate again before the primary. That’s complicated things, and Boulton didn’t have TV ads running this week.
However, unions can still spend in support of a candidate, they just can’t coordinate their actions and have to do it through independent expenditure committees. It appears the Central Iowa Building Trades is getting ready to do just that. A 30-second ad in support of Boulton, which uses footage from Boulton’s official ads, is online now. You can use publicly-available clips, and it’s not hard to figure out what message the campaign wants out there after watching how they’ve campaigned for a year.
Kim Reynolds Rolls Out New Ad On Education
The governor’s campaign has a new TV ad out that highlights how she eventually graduated from college in 2016 after a long hiatus. It’s another in a series of efforts where Reynolds rather effectively pitches her own personal story to voters, weaving in a few sound bites on actual policy. Compare that to most of the ads Democrats have run, which are heavy on policy and light on personality. Those, for the moment anyway, are targeted to primary-going Democrats, who perhaps may respond more strongly to such issue-focused messages. But whichever Democrat wins the primary will have to face off against an incumbent governor who is making likability a key factor in her race. It worked for Joni Ernst; there’s no reason it won’t for Reynolds.
Mt. Pleasant ICE Raid
The largest immigration raid in Iowa since Postville happened this week in Mt. Pleasant when ICE officials rounded up several dozen men at their workplace. They detained 32 people, splitting up families, shaking the community and leading to condemnations from candidates and organizations. Here’s what Cathy Glasson said in a statement sent out by her campaign on the matter:
“Yesterday’s ICE raids are a tragic reminder of why we need candidates and elected officials on the front lines fighting for our aspiring citizens. This raid will devastate dozens of families, have detrimental impacts on the Mount Pleasant community, and foster fear among our entire immigrant population. Our immigrant communities are an integral part of Iowa and we cannot allow them be ripped out of the cities and towns they lead and help prosper. As we approach the ten year anniversary of Iowa’s infamous Postville raids, it’s time to admit that party politics have failed our undocumented community. It’s time for candidates and elected officials to end the talk, end the compromise, we must act to stop the tearing apart of Iowa families. I’ve always supported an open and compassionate path to citizenship, stood shoulder to shoulder with our immigrant communities and allies at the the rallies against SF481, and as Governor will fight to ensure ICE stays out of our communities. Iowa’s elected officials and public employees don’t work for ICE. Our police don’t work for ICE. It’s not the job of police in Iowa to enforce immigration rules. Their job is to keep our communities safe, to serve us and protect us—all of us.”
And John Norris put this out:
What happened in Mount Pleasant yesterday is heartbreaking. We need to stop the cold hearted abuse of hard working families contributing to our communities and economy. This is not who we are or who we want to be.https://t.co/6WCnq6Pdjb via @gazettedotcom
— Norris for the People (@JohnNorrisIA) May 10, 2018
J.D. Scholten is looking to project momentum heading into the final stretch of the three-way Democratic primary in Iowa’s 4th District. Earlier this week, he announced the endorsements of a large slate of Sioux City leaders and activist, including Representatives Chris Hall and Tim Kacena, Mayor Bob Scott, Councilmembers Rhonda Capron and Alex Watters, Jeremy Dumkrieger, Rita DeJong, Jean Carlson, Gretchen Gondek, Sandi O’Brien, Al Sturgeon, Jackie Stellish, Todd Wendt and Jim Wharton. He also got the endorsement of Representative Todd Prichard and the Central Iowa Building Trades.
Not to be outdone, John Paschen rolled out his own group of home base endorsers from Story County. That included Senator Herman Quirmbach, Representatives Beth Wessel-Kroeschell and Lisa Heddens, Ralph Rosenberg, Charles Bruner, Johnie Hammond, Lauris Olson, Jessica Reynolds and Lewis Rosser. Paschen himself is on a two-week trip to Zimbabwe to help out in local medical clinics. He’ll need to win a large percentage of the Story County vote, which does turn out in a large numbers for primaries, to have a shot at winning.
In the other races, Pete D’Alessandro received the endorsement of the Communications Workers of America this week for this 3rd District bid. Eddie Mauro got a labor union too; the Central Iowa Building Trades endorsed him this week, as did Senator Tony Bisignano.
And Thomas Heckroth got the backing of 350 Action for his 1st District campaign. The environmental group endorsed Heckroth for his opposition to the fossil fuel industry and for opposing pipelines.
Candidates Push Early Voting
Early voting for the primary began on Monday, a later start than usual thanks to Republicans’ new restrictions on voting rights. Nate Boulton brought a large crowd of people out on Monday morning to be the first to vote at the Polk County Auditor’s office. His campaign also organized several other early vote drives around the state on the same day.
— Nate Boulton (@NateBoulton) May 7, 2018
Andy McGuire brought some family members and supporters out to vote, too.
My daughter, @Megs_McG, joined me in Early Voting this morning! It is clear that Iowa needs a new #iagov. I hope I can earn your support and your vote because I know we can do better. pic.twitter.com/ju9BlOA8d2
— Dr. Andy McGuire (@mcguireforgov) May 7, 2018
Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear also rallied her supporters over the noontime hour that day to go vote early.
The majority of absentee ballot requests in Polk County have come out of the highly competitive supervisor race between Senator Matt McCoy and Supervisor Johnny Mauro.
3,032 Polk Co. voters have requested Democratic early ballots. 65% are from voters in Supervisor District #5. 73 Polk Co. voters have requested Republican early ballots, 37% are from Supervisor District #2. Contested races increase turnout as primary turnout is candidate driven.
— Jamie Fitzgerald (@Polkauditorfitz) May 9, 2018
Candidate Events To Attend
John Norris is barnstorming the state in the final month, even sending out postcards to voters listing all his Iowa’s Future Forum events for people to come to. Here’s his upcoming ones:
Friday, May 11th, 7:00PM
Swan Lake State Park Education Center, Wapiti Room
22676 Swan Lake Drive Carroll, IA
Saturday, May 12th, 9:00AM
Council Bluffs Public Library, Meeting Room A
400 Willow Ave, Council Bluffs, IA
Saturday, May 12th, 1:30PM
Southwestern Community College, Allied Health Sciences Building, Room 900
1501 W Townline St Creston, IA
Thursday, May 17th, 7:00PM
First Street Community Center, Uptown Theater
221 First Street NE, Mount Vernon, IA
Friday, May 18th, 7:00PM
Lakeview Community Center
10 N Lakeview Dr Clear Lake, IA
Sunday, May 20th, 1:00PM
Iowa Central Community College, Triton Cafe, Board Room
1 Triton Circle, Fort Dodge, IA 50501
Sunday, May 20th, 5:00PM
Spencer Public School Central Office, Conference Room B23
E 7th St A, Spencer, IA
Tuesday, May 22nd, 7:00PM
Hotel Ottumwa, Mahaska Room
107 2nd Street East, Ottumwa, IA
Nate Boulton also has a series of meet-and-greets called Fight For Our Future. Here’s his upcoming ones:
Saturday, May 12, 12:00 p.m. – Fort Dodge
Location: Bloomers on Central
Address: 900 Central Ave # 10, Fort Dodge, IA 50501
Sunday, May 15, 5:30 – Ottumwa 5:30 p.m.
Location: Top Hat Coffee Shop
Address: 228 E Main St, Ottumwa, IA 52501
Thursday, May 17, 7:00 p.m. – Vinton
Location: Frank G Ray House
Address: 912 1st Ave, Vinton, IA 52349
Friday, May 18, 6:30 p.m. – Clinton
Location: Gils Ballroom
Address: 2750 27th Avenue South, Clinton, IA 52732
Saturday, May 19, 3:30 p.m. – Dubuque
Location: Mario’s Restaurant (Downstairs room)
Address: 1298 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001
Saturday, May 19, 6:00 p.m. – Waterloo
Sunday, May 20, 2:30 p.m. – Carroll
Location: The Family Table
Address: 1525 Radiant Rd, Carroll, IA 51401
Sunday, May 20, 5:30 p.m. – Council Bluffs
Address: 114 W Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
And Andy McGuire has a series of meet-and-greets planned out as well. Here’s where you can see here out on the campaign trail:
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Elly’s Tea and Coffee
208 W 2nd St, Muscatine, Iowa 52761
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
710 N Front St #1, Burlington, Iowa 52601
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
109 S Market St, Oskaloosa, Iowa 52577
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
5210 Tamara Point, Panora, Iowa 50216
IOWA CITY, IA
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Hamburg Inn #2
214 N Linn St, Iowa City, Iowa 52245
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
955 Washington St #105, Dubuque, Iowa 52001
5:30 PM –7:30 PM
Adriano’s Brick Oven
1739 18 N Walnut St, Glenwood, Iowa 51534
by Pat Rynard