Socialists file for governor, 3rd congressional district, ag secretary

Candidates from the Socialist Workers Party are filing the paperwork today to put their names on the November ballot for the Iowa governor’s race and for the third district congressional seat currently held by Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-Des Moines).  Read the news release belowl

Socialists to challenge Culver and Branstad, Boswell and Zaun

David Rosenfeld, Socialist Workers Party candidate for governor,  and Rebecca Williamson, SWP candidate for U.S. Representative, to file nominating petitions

“Workers must fight to defend ourselves in the
face of the economic depression,” Rosenfeld says

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Bubba for Bos

Former President Bill Clinton will be helping Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-Des Moines, Iowa) raise campaign cash this weekend.  Clinton will headline a $250-per-person fundraiser for Boswell Sunday in rural Norwalk at the home of a construction company owner.  It will be a two-hour tour as  Clinton’s scheduled to be in Iowa for just a couple of hours (Norwalk’s VERY close to the Des Moines Airport). 

There’s nothing on Boswell’s campaign website about the event which is closed to the public and the press.  As you may remember, Boswell endorsed Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for the White House in the middle of December, 2007 — just before Iowa’s Caucuses.

A week away

I’ve been away from the blog for a week.  A lot of political hay has been made in that time, from Tom Vilsack’s firing of a black USDA employee to campaign cash reports to a senate committee’s vote on Elena Kagan.

Here are some of the bales of political hay that I’ve missed, in no particular order:

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, the US Ag Secretary, has a starring role in this week’s DC tempest.  Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Todd Dorman has a link to the video of Vilsack’s apology for firing Shirley Sherrod.  Wonkette has been blogging about it.

Money, money, money.  Bleeding Heartland had a take on fundraising in the US Senate race and the five Iowa congressional races.  The Iowa Republican offered its analysis of the $$$ in the congressional races.  Blogger John Deeth did an analysis of fundraising in state legislative races.  The Des Moines Register’s Tom Beaumont reports on the fundraising in the Culver v Branstad race.  Hint:  the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations are spending mightily.  Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports potential ’12 presidential candidates are raising money, an indication of intentions down the road.

Senator Chuck Grassley voted no on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan when her nomination came up in the US Senate Judiciary Committee.  Roxanne Conlin, Grassley’s Democratic opponent, issued this statement:

(Des Moines)—Senator Grassley continued to obstruct progress today as he voted against the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Below is a statement from Democratic US Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin:
“Senator Grassley opposes Wall Street reform, he opposes extending unemployment benefits to thousands of jobless Iowans and now he opposes filling the Supreme Court vacancy despite decades of support for past nominations.  Senator Grassley’s failure to act on unemployment benefits is costing Iowans food and shelter.  He gave $700 billion to Wall Street but refused to hold them accountable and now he’s casting only his second vote against a Supreme Court nominee in his thirty years in the U.S. Senate.”

Grassley and Conlin, on what happens in Vegas & DC. 

The Iowa Taxpayers Association issued a news release with its take on the FY 2011 state budget the 2010 legislaure drafted.

The largest state employees’ union — AFSCME Council 61 — endorsed Governor Culver’s reelection bid.

Des Moines, IA – This Saturday, July 17th, at the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 PEOPLE Endorsement Conference, the PEOPLE Committee made the decision to endorse Chet Culver for Iowa’s Governor.
Governor Chet Culver received the nod from AFSCME due to his support of such programs as the State Employee Retirement Incentive Program (SEIRP) and efforts to reform state government through the massive reorganization that the state began this year.  Cuvler’s opponent, Terry Branstad, has a record that public employees remember that includes refusing to honor collective bargaining agreements bargained in good faith and contracting or attempting to contract out state services and jobs.  His current pledges concern AFSCME members as well, like his pledge to eliminate many of their jobs that are important to the operation of state government, and to drain the state treasury further by cutting corporate income taxes further at a time of tight budgets at all levels of government.

“Our members who worked under Terry Branstad remember the way in which he treated public employees during his rule, and our younger members are aware of his current pledges to cut them if he is elected.  With those options in front of AFSCME members, the choice was very clear to them,” said Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61. “We need to continue to move forward under Chet Culver, not backward under Terry Branstad.”

In Iowa, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees including law enforcement and correctional officers, home health care and child care providers, firefighters, mental health workers, professional school staff, emergency responders, and many other workers.

The three Democrats and two Republicans in Iowa’s congressional delegation  agree on something. 

Iowa Congressmen Seek Presidential Approval of Disaster Declaration Request
House Members Act to Spur Relief for Iowans Impacted by Severe Weather

Washington, D.C.- House Members of the Iowa Congressional delegation today sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he quickly approve Gov. Chet Culver’s request for a disaster declaration for Iowa counties that have recently suffered significant damage from a severe weather system that began on June 1, 2010 and continues today.  The storm system has produced high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding which have caused extensive damage throughout the state. Gov. Culver submitted his official request for a disaster declaration to President Obama on July 6.

Statements of Congressmen Braley, King, Boswell, Latham and Loebsack follow:

“In recent weeks and months, severe weather has taken a serious toll on communities across the state of Iowa,” said Braley. “It is critical now, just as it was following the floods of 2008, for the federal government to respond quickly and efficiently to give our communities the tools they need to recover. I look forward to working with President Obama, Governor Culver and my colleagues here in Washington to make sure Iowa’s small towns and families aren’t hung out to dry.”

 “Iowa has been hit hard by the severe weather systems that have moved through our state, and the people who have been affected expect a swift and efficient response,” said King. “In Cherokee County, for example, the waters exceeded the 1993 flood levels. There is no doubt that the request for federal help to these areas is appropriate and I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Culver, the members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation and President Obama to ensure that this assistance is approved quickly.”

“For the second time in two years, flood waters have ravaged homes, farmland and businesses across the state,” said Congressman Leonard Boswell. “I support Governor Culver’s request for presidential disaster declarations for several Iowa counties that have been impacted by the flooding. Many Iowans are still trying to recover and rebuild from the floods of 2008 and this summer’s weather has set them further behind. I encourage the President to issue these declarations in order to help Iowa’s families and small businesses get back on their feet.”

“The severe weather that has recently struck throughout Iowa requires a coordinated and efficient response,” said Congressman Latham. “Iowans are no strangers to severe weather and I have no doubt that the impacted communities will come back stronger than ever. However there is a legitimate need for federal help, and I’ll do everything I can to work with my colleagues to make sure that need is met.”

“Iowa has struggled since the Floods of 2008, and the current flooding is hurting our state’s ongoing recovery efforts,” said Loebsack. “I support this request to help affected residents, businesses, and farmers and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that this is handled in a timely manner. Iowans are in trouble and we must assure them that help is on the way.”

The text of the letter follows:

July 20, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President,

We respectfully request that you grant the request made July 6, 2010 by Iowa Governor Chet Culver for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Iowa as a result of damages from a severe weather system that produced high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes beginning June 1, 2010 and continuing. Governor Culver has determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is needed.

We thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.


Steve King
Leonard Boswell
Tom Latham
Bruce Braley
Dave Loebsack

Governor Culver says a lot of people have I-JOBS jobsDave Price of WHO-TV reports there’s no way of knowing how many I-JOBS jobs there are.

Are they drinking Bohea, Singlo, Congou, Souchon, or Hyson? (Those are the types of tea dumped during the original Boston Tea Party in 1773.)

Washington D.C.- Congressman Steve King (R-IA) today issued the following statement announcing his decision to join the newly-formed  House Tea Party Caucus. The House Tea Party Caucus, which will be chaired by Rep. Michele Bachmann, was approved by the House Administration Committee on Friday afternoon. The caucus will focus on injecting the American people’s desire for fiscal responsibility, fidelity to the United States Constitution, and limited government into policy formation.
“America’s Tea Party organizations believe that Washington’s policymakers are ignoring the public’s demand for a limited government that is fiscally sound and that adheres to the principles of the Constitution,” said King. “The forced passage of the unconstitutional Obamacare bill over the objections of the American people shows that this belief is well founded.  As the new majority-makers in American politics, the views of the Tea Parties deserve a Congressional forum.  Rep. Bachmann should be commended for making sure that Tea Party voices extend from town-hall meetings to the halls of Congress.”

Gingrich in Iowa (AUDIO)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in Urbandale, Iowa, this morning, serving as the “draw” for a breakfast fundraiser for a Republican congressional candidate.  That candidate is Brad Zaun, a state senator who is challenging Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell this year. 

The event is being staged in the Des Moines Christian School cafeteria.  Zaun just took the small stage on the north side of the room.  Flanked by an American flag to his right and the Iowa flag to his left, he is decrying the national debt.

“That is the reason why I’m running.  I’m scared to death…not to mention the take over of the health care system,” Zaun said, to applause.

At 8:17 a.m., Gingrich is introduced.  The crowd rises to applaud.   Gingrich joked about the number of Zaun family members Zaun had introduced, as they’re here this morning.  “I thought maybe we were at a family reunion,”  Gingrich said. 

(Listen to the Gingrich speech, plus Q&A with the crowd: GingrichZaun.)

“…It’s very important to recognize an amazing # of things are going to change based on what’s going to happen in November….We have now had two years….of a secular, socialist machine…and Brad represents one of the key people who can help turn this country around.

Of Obama’s 2008 campaign theme, Gingrich aid this:   “He wanted to change what we believe in.”

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Branstad reveals running mate choice Thursday

Terry Branstad, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor, is scheduled to reveal his choice for a lieutenant governor/running mate on Thursday morning at 9 o’clock in Ankeny, then he’ll be traveling around the state in a plane (weather permitting) to six other cities.  (Read more below.)

As you may know, Iowa’s governor and lieutenant governor began running together, as a team, in 1990.  In the election cycle before that, 1986, Republican Terry Branstad was re-elected to a second term as governor and Iowans elected Democrat Jo Ann Zimmerman as lieutenant governor. Zimmerman was the first woman elected as lieutenant governor of Iowa.  Since then, no man has been elected lieutenant governor and the major party tickets over a 12 year string were a male/female team until 2006, with the Nussle/Vander Plaats ticket.

*1990 Republican ticket: Terry Branstad/Joy Corning

1990 Democratic ticket:  Don Avenson/Jo Ann Zimmerman

*1994 Republican ticket:  Terry Branstad/Joy Corning

1994 Democratic ticket:  Bonnie Campbell/Leonard Boswell

*1998 Democratic ticket: Tom Vilsack/Sally Pedersen

1998 Republican ticket: Jim Lightfoot/Almo Hawkins

*2002 Democratic ticket:  Tom Vilsack/Sally Pedersen

2002 Republican ticket:  Doug Gross/Debi Durham

*2006 Democratic ticket:  Chet Culver/Patty Judge

2006 Republican ticket:  Jim Nussle/Bob Vander Plaats

2010 Democratic ticket:  Chet Culver/Patty Judge

2010 Republican ticket:  Terry Branstad/?

(* — denotes winning ticket)

Here’s the Branstad campaign press release:

(URBANDALE) – The Governor Branstad 2010 Campaign today announced the Thursday, June 24, 2010 schedule for a statewide tour with former Gov. Terry Branstad and his selection for lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor selection will be announced via our LieuTEXTant Governor Campaign prior to the tour. To sign up, please visit

The following press conferences are open to the media and public:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

9 a.m.                        Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Exec 1 Aviation
                                    3700 Convenience Boulevard
                                    Ankeny, IA
10:15 a.m.               Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Advanced Air Inc., Council Bluffs Airport
                                    16801 McCandless Lane
                                    Council Bluffs, IA                          

11:15 a.m.               Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Jet Sun Aviation
                                    5815 Mitchell St.
                                    Sioux City, IA

12:30 p.m.               Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    North Iowa Air Service , 2nd Floor Conference Room
                                    9184  2565th St.
                                    Clear Lake, IA
2 p.m.                        Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Dubuque Jet Center
                                    11000 Airport Road
                                    Dubuque, IA                                   

3 p.m.                        Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection
                                    Carver Aero
                                    9230 North Harrison St.
                                    Davenport, IA
4 p.m.                        Gov. Branstad announces his lieutenant governor selection       
                                    Landmark Aviation
                                    9430 Shepard Court SW
                                    Cedar Rapids, IA

Iowa Delegation splits 3-2 on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal

The U.S. House has voted to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the military only if they don’t “tell” anyone they’re gay or lesbian.  The three Iowa Democrats — Congressmen Bruce Braley of Waterloo, Dave Loebsack of Mt Vernon and Leonard Boswell of Des Moines — voted for the repeal of DADT.  The two Iowa Republicans — Congressmen Tom Latham of Ames and Steve King of Kiron — voted to keep the 1993 DADT policy in place.

Boswell is the only veteran among the five Iowans who currently serve in congress.  He issued the following statement:

Boswell Releases Statement on Support for the Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy in Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Leonard Boswell released this statement following his vote to repeal the Department of Defense’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy after the Department has completed their ongoing internal review; prepared policies and regulations, and repeal is consistent with the military’s standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruitment and retention.

“After serving 20 years in the military, including two tours of combat in Vietnam, I support the repeal of the ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ policy. During my Army career, I served alongside great men and women who, regardless of sexual orientation, were courageous military leaders that I trusted with my life and the lives of the troops under my command. The character and strength of a solider is reliant on their courage, loyalty, honor, and ability to do their job – not their sexuality.”

King (the Republican from Kiron in western Iowa) issued a statement earlier today on the topic.

King: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Repeal.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Steve King (R-IA) today released the following statement following his participation in a Capitol Hill press conference in which he urged Congress to reject efforts to repeal the legislative prohibition on military service by openly homosexual men and women. King was joined at the press conference by: U.S. Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA); Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council; Douglas Lee, Chaplain, (Brigadier General, Ret); Kevin Theriot, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund; and a delegation of Pastors and Rabbis representing congregations throughout America.

“One of the few things President Clinton got right was his decision to sign the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy into law,” said King. “To Clinton’s credit, he put the nation’s interests in military readiness and unit cohesion ahead of the political interests of so-called ‘gay-rights’ activists. Regrettably, it appears that the ruling troika of Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid and President Obama want to reverse these priorities.

“The nation’s military is currently fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is not the time to subject our fighting forces to a rushed and risky experiment in social engineering. As lawmakers, our responsibility to our troops could not be clearer: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Repeal.”

Gingrich defends subtitle of his book

“If it turns out, by the way, this is a secular-socialist machine, then using the words is simply clarity which may make some people uncomfortable, but — in fact — is factually defensible.” — Newt Gingrich, defending the subtitle of his new book “To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the guest on today’s edition of “The Exchange” on Iowa Public Radio.  Gingrich will be in Iowa later this week, keynoting an American Future Fund event in Davenport on Wednesday afternoon and a Polk County GOP dinner in Des Moines Wednesday evening.  He’s to be in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, too, to headline a fundraise for the Republican Party of Iowa. Gingrich is among a handful of Republicans who’re considered potential candidates for the G.O.P.’s 2012 presidential nomination and, as always, a trip to Iowa is seen as a “sign” of some sort.

Iowa Public Radio host Ben Kieffer asked Gingrich about a passage in his new book that has gotten attention.  “Mr. Gingrich, you refer in your new book to President Obama’s secular-socialist machine representing as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did,” Kieffer asked at about 16 minutes into the show if you click on the link above to list. “You’ve received a good deal of criticism for that comparison, even from some in your own party. Don’t you think it’s even, as FOX News’ Chris Wallace put it, wildly over the top to equate the Obama Administration with Nazi Germany?”

“I didn’t equate them,” Gingrich said.  “What I said was that just as it was a decisive threat to the survival of liberty as we have known it, I think the victory of a secular-socialist machine fundamentally changes America in ways that will make it unrecognizable to most Americans and I think that that’s just technically correct.”

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Boswell gets seat on Armed Services

A brief announcement just came from Congressman Leonard Boswell’s staff.  Boswell, a Democrat from Des Moines, will take a seat on the House Armed Services Committee.  There’s no explanation of why there’s an opening, or whether the committee’s roster was expanded (you may read the news release below).  Iowa will have two members on the panel.  Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Mt Vernon) is a member of the committee.  UPDATE:  There were a couple of vacant slots on the committee since the beginning of the year that were just filled this week.

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Leonard Boswell announced that he will assume a seat on the House Armed Services Committee after the House Democratic Caucus approved his request to serve on the committee.

“I am honored with the opportunity to serve on the Armed Services Committee where I can use my 20 years in the military to impact legislation that will support our troops and improve the lives of our men and women in uniform,” Boswell said. “As a member of this Committee, I will work to ensure that our service members and their families are looked after here and abroad; healthy and hurt; active and reserve.”

Boswell’s position on the Armed Services Committee is temporary through the end of the 111th Congress. He will keep his seats on the Committee on Agriculture and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Obama in Iowa City, the 2010 edition

Barack Obama in Iowa City, Iowa, on March 25, 2010:  “This is the place where change began.”

“…Yes we can,” the crowd chanted, interrupting Obama’s a few minutes into his speech.

Obama replied:  “Yes we did.”

Read the text of the president’s speech is below.  Watch the live stream on Iowa Public Television.  HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was at the microphone at exactly 1 p.m. in the Field House in Iowa City.

“My beloved Jayhawks were on their way to St. Louis and ran into Northern Iowa,” the former Kansas governor said, to open, referring to last weekend’s big NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game. “So when the president asked me to come here, I felt just a little bit bitter.”

There’s was a problem with the audio, so Sebelius talked about the Kansas/UNI game while the audio problem was resolved.  “It’s never about the pundits.  It’s never about the polls.  It’s what happens when you play the game,” she said, drawing a comparison with the health care debate.

Obama and his entourage landed at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids at about a quarter ’til one and drove south into Iowa City. Some protesters held signs along the road from the airport to Interstate 380.  One of the signs read simply: “Repeal.”

At 1:08 p.m., Sebelius uttered the “Yes, we can” phrase and she introduced Obama to the crowd.  He ran up a few steps, waved to people in the crowd and walked toward the lectern.

“Hello Iowa,” he yelled at 1:09 p.m.  “Are you fired up?  Ah, it is good to be back in Iowa.  I’ve got to take off my jacket while I’m in Iowa.”

As Obama started rolling up his sleeves, Obama told the crowd: ” I can feel spring coming.”   A few moments later, as Obama acknowledged people in the crowd, he referred to a former Iowa governor, telling the crowd:  “Tom Vilsack’s in the house.”  Obama also introduced the former University of Iowa football player who carries the “big briefcase” that goes wherever the president goes.

At 1:31 p.m., somebody in the crowd yelled out criticism of the plan, but it’s difficult to hear what was said in the cavernous gym.   Obama directly responded, calling the shouter a “young man” twice, then moving back to the text of his speech.   The speech ended at 1:38 p.m.

Here is the text of Obama’s speech:

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Iowa delegation splits, 3-2, on health care bill

The three Democrats in Iowa’s congressional delegation — Bruce Braley of Waterloo, Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon & Leonard Boswell of Des Moines — just voted for the senate bill.  The two Republicans in the congressional delegation — Tom Latham of Ames & Steve King of Kiron — voted against it.  Here’s the roll call on the 219-212 vote.

Four of the five congressmen from Iowa spoke with Radio Iowa this weekend about the vote.  Read the Radio Iowa story. Congressman Loebsack was the only one of the five who did not.  Loebsack’s spokeswoman said: “We are not planning on doing press calls.”

UPDATE:  Here are all the statements (after the jump) sent via email from members of congress, their challengers, the two political parties & other groups involved in the health care debate:

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