No gloating

It's nearly 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and I'm sitting in the Iowa House of Representatives where a handful of legislators are holding a sort of vigil.  (Read this post for the background.)  Rep. Polly Bukta, a Democrat from Clinton, says the failure of the prevailing wage bill is "a serious blow" to Democrats, but as she took her overnight post guarding the House voting machine from 7 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday and returning for an 8 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Saturday shift, Bukta reports none of the Republicans who are here on the same sort of vigil are "gloating."

"It's been a serious blow to our egos," Bukta said of the bill's failure and it's impact on House Democrats.  Butka stood at the House press bench and chatted with Des Moines Register reporter Jason Clayworth and yours truly about half an hour ago.

College Republicans from Iowa State University have been bringing in care packages for GOP legislators.  In addition to the Doritos and bottles of water, there was another helpful item:  a small, travel-sized antiperspirant.

As I type, Representative Ray Zirkelbach is sitting in the speaker's chair.  When I entered the House chamber at about 12:30 p.m., House Speaker Pat Murphy was sitting in another legislator's chair — near the back of the house floor — and Representative Rick Olson (the bill's floor manager) was sitting in the speaker's chair.  Murphy at this hour has retreated to his office and has not emerged to chat with Jason and I.  House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy and his adorable daughter (I can say this because she is adorable) had their coats on and were just leaving as I arrived.

"So what's it like in the Ozarks where I'm supposed to be?" Rep. Olson, who is strolling around the House floor, just said into his cell phone.  (Olson said this loudly enough for us to hear and he was laughing as he said it; it appears he's talking with his family who you would be correct in guessing are — in the Ozarks!) 

"I feel fine," Olson just told Clayworth and I at about 1:45 p.m. Saturday.  "I got to go home and sleep in my own bed." Olson lives in Des Moines, hence the proximity to the statehouse.

Can Democrats "turn" one of the five Democrats who voted no on the bill? "If we can garner a 51st vote before this weekend is over," Olson said.  "so be it…I have no idea.  That's above my pay grade." 

About three minutes into our conversation with Olson, Murphy emerged.  "As soon as you finish, can I have you in my office?" Murphy asked Olson.  Olson nodded in the affirnative.

As for what Olson's family is getting to do in the Ozarks while he's stuck in Des Moines, his telephone report from Missouri indicates there's shopping right now, to be following by a "chick flick later on."  Olson laments he is not in the position of his buddy, the next door neighbor in the Ozarks.  "He's sitting on the deck that adjoins mine drinking a Crown Royal, smoking a cigarette and holding my Jack Russell on his lap," according to Olson.  Olson is now in the speaker's office, along with Murphy and McCarthy.  I doubt there's any Crown Royal back there.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.