Party Loyalty

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Michael Kiernan today delivered a message to Democrats — particularly union members — who are unhappy with a handful of House Democrats who blocked union-backed bills from advancing in the House this past spring. Kiernan is this weekend’s guest on the Iowa Public Television program, “Iowa Press.” Last spring, Iowa Federation of Labor chief Ken Sagar said he’d like to see labor-friendly candidates recruited to challenge moderate Democrats in primarie.

Here’s what Kiernan had to say during “Iowa Press.”

Henderson: “The head of the Iowa Federation of Labor on this program said that he was unhappy with some Democratic members of the legislature and he would like to see primaries challenging their reelection to the Iowa House. Is that something that you approve of?”

Kiernan: “No. Let me, I’m going to be very clear here today. First off, I grew up in an Irish-Catholic family, so my brothers and I used to beat each other all the time…but at the end of the day, we’re family. But I’m going to make something very clear here today: the Iowa Democratic Party does not support primary. We’re going to protect our incumbents and that’s our position. We’re going to protect our incumbents and if there are some that are unhappy about that, well then, that’s tough. But we are famil. We are going to stick together.”

Henderson: “Did Elesha Gayman, who is a state representative employed by the Iowa Federation of Labor, did she make a mistake in taking that job?”

Kiernan: “Look, see, I’ve heard, those facts are still coming in. You know, Representative Gayman has assured me that she’s not involved in any primaries. She’s assured me that ‘Operation WIN’ is about recruiting city council, county board of supervisor candidates that, indeed, it’s got nothing to do with primary opponenting her other members of the state house and if you look at it, nobody’s filed. Nobody’s entered any primaries statewide.”.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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