Fred Hubbell is slated to officially announce his pick for his Lt. Governor running mate at Iowa Democrats’ state convention this Saturday. It’s the last piece of business for the statewide Democratic ticket, and speculation about who Hubbell may choose is running rampant in various political circles. And there may be one clue sitting online as to who could be on a possible short list.
As reader Taylor Gipple noticed, several website domains with potential Democratic ticket names were reserved on Monday, June 11. Here’s all the ones that Starting Line found on the ICANN domain registry look-up website:
These would all presumably be referencing Senator Liz Mathis, Senator Rita Hart, Senator Pam Jochum, ISEA President Tammy Wawro, Representative Chris Hall and former Representative Patti Ruff. Miller could be for several people, including retiring Representative Helen Miller. HubbellHart.com could also double as Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, but I think Starting Line has been the only one who’s really been suggesting that name.
Are these actually websites reserved by the campaign, though? It’s entirely possible that it’s not. Because the domain names were registered through a proxy businesses (as most are), you can’t tell from public records whether or not the same entity that owns FredHubbell.com also bought these. And there have been plenty of times where Republicans have purchased potential Democratic websites just to mess with them. The Hubbell campaign had no comment either way when asked by Starting Line.
So, it very well could just be some Republican or member of the public making guesses and picking up website names for fun.
But one thing seems interesting. There is not a HubbellPrichard.com domain name reserved, yet there is one for Ruff. Were you a Republican operative or keyed-in activist, why would you not reserve one for Representative Todd Prichard while you were also doing so for Hall and a lesser-known former legislator from Northeast Iowa?
[Update: I just noticed that the domain names with Mathis, Jochum, Hart, Wawro, Miller and Hall were all created Monday morning at the same time. The Ruff domain was created separately later that evening and possibly not by the same entity.]
Ruff’s name has, however, started to percolate up in certain, behind-the-scenes Democratic circles in the past few days. Ruff served two terms in the Iowa House, representing Clayton and Allamakee counties in the far northeast corner of the state. She was a leader on education issues, works at a grain elevator, is an outdoor sports/recreation enthusiast and served as the president of her local school board. She lost in the Republican wave in 2016, but was considered a very strong candidate in each of her runs. If Hubbell was looking for someone with a credible, rural profile, Ruff certainly fits that bill.
Still, who knows for sure? We’ll find out on Saturday.
by Pat Rynard