From Cornell to Corelle

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Mt Vernon, Iowa) was a long-time political science professor at Cornell College before he was elected to congress in 2006.  A Loebsack aide tells James Q. Lynch of The Cedar Rapids Gazette that Loebsack isn’t interested in becoming the school’s next president.

U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Cumming, Iowa) is getting flack from the left. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) isn’t happy with Harkin who is now chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  Adam Green, who identifies himself as co-founder of the PCCC, emails the following:

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee will spend thousands of dollars this week on an online ad campaign in the states of at least 10 senators who should be for the public option but have refused to issue a statement so far, reaching at least 1 million people online.

First up: Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa — and we’ll soon be naming more. Jon Stewart lampooned Harkin last week for previously saying, “I’d say right now we have well over 55 votes for a public option, but we need 60” — while now shrugging his shoulders and saying not even 50 exist.

Harkin also claimed on MSNBC that nobody has fought harder for the public option than him. I’ve been a longtime Harkin fan, but at this point, that claim is laughable. I can name at least 30 senators who have fought harder than Harkin, with more likely to come.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats wins one aspect of the race with competitors former Governor Terry Branstad and Representative Rod Roberts.  Vander Plaats was first to file his nomination petitions, a few hours after the period for filing opened.

DES MOINES – State Rep. Jodi Tymeson, state chair of Bob Vander Plaats’ gubernatorial campaign, filed nomination papers with the Iowa Secretary of State’s office this morning to place the Sioux City businessman’s name on the ballot for the June 8 Republican primary election. Late today, an elections official said the petitions had been accepted for certification.

Today is the first day that candidates may submit nomination petitions to put their names on the ballot.  Vander Plaats’ petitions included 4,766 signatures and 28 qualified counties.  Gubernatorial candidates are required to receive signatures equal to 1 percent of their party’s vote total in the 2008 presidential election in at least 10 counties and 0.5 percent of their party’s statewide vote. Republican gubernatorial candidates must submit at least 3,412 signatures to secure a place on the ballot.

Vander Plaats, who has campaign appearances in Denison and Creston today, said in a prepared statement that Gov. Chet Culver’s mismanagement of the state budget and a string of other failures has “convinced Iowans to replace the first-term Democrat with a conservative Republican with a focused, aggressive agenda to open Iowa for business, create more quality private-sector jobs, make government more efficient and effective, reduce property taxes and create a culture of innovation and results in our public schools.”

He noted that many candidates submit their nomination petitions on the final possible day, which is March 19 this year.

“As I noted last week in challenging Terry Branstad and Rod Roberts to a series of debates, the outcome of a Republican primary has never been more important than it is this year. Republicans need a nominee who will step up and meet the challenges facing us. We chose to submit our petitions on the first eligible day so Iowans see I’m committed to this process and ready to lead,” Vander Plaats said. “I’m determined to be the nominee who leads a united Republican Party to victory in November.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rod Roberts has won the support of more of his colleagues.  A news release was issued Sunday, which you may read below.

The Roberts for Governor Campaign announced today that State Representatives Rich Anderson, Clel Baudler, and Gary Worthan have endorsed Rod Roberts’s campaign for governor.  Last week, the Roberts for Governor Campaign announced that State Representative Jason Schultz and former State Representative Dan Boddicker had endorsed the Roberts for Governor Campaign.

“I have served with Rod in the Iowa House for the past ten years. I have seen his leadership skills in action, and I know he is ready to lead our state,” said Baudler, a twelve-year state representative from Greenfield.

“Rod has political leadership experience that I trust. I know his character and wisdom. He has the administrative abilities and the executive leadership necessary to balance our state’s budget. I enthusiastically support his gubernatorial bid,” said Anderson, a six-year state representative from Clarinda.

“Rod is the most senior member of the House Republican leadership team, and he has a proven track record of fighting for conservative values. He will provide new leadership for our state government, and I am proud to support his campaign,” said Worthan, a three-year state representative from Storm Lake.

State Representative Roberts welcomed Anderson, Baudler, and Worthan to the campaign.

“I greatly appreciate the support from Rich, Clel, and Gary. They are strong conservative Republicans who share my vision for building a better Iowa,” said Roberts, an Assistant Minority Leader in the Iowa House. “I am happy that Rich, Clel, and Gary are supporting our campaign’s goal of bringing new leadership to the Governor’s Office.”

Republican David Jamison announced today that he’s running for state treasurer this year.  Jamison held a statehouse news conference.  Senator Kim Reynolds, a Republican from Osceola, will serve as his organizational director.  Jamison twice said he’d been endorsed by 2002 Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Gross, former Governor Terry Branstad’s former chief of staff.  Third district congressional candidate Brad Zaun attended the news conference, arriving slightly late, with a bag of popcorn which he munched on for only a few seconds before leading the crowd in clapping by letting loose with a couple of “Yeah, Woo!”  yelps.  Jamison has adopted the campaign theme of “Iowa First.”  He also has a blue and white color scheme, which sort of reminded me of the John McCain “Country First” posters of 2008.

It’s now shortly after six o’clock at the statehouse and I’ve seen a few china plates in some strange places over the past few hours.  The statehouse cafeteria “went green” today with real plates that are even thicker than Corelle, plastic glasses for beverages and real silverware.  They hired more people to do the dishwashing.  I’m not sure they’ve got the process down for collecting all the china, silverware & glasses that have been used, however. A plate and fork now sit on top of a trash can on the second floor of the statehouse, behind the House of Representatives chamber.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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