Wednesday, August 09, 2017

What Happened In Iowa's Special Election Yesterday?


Yep, in Iowa too

The good news Tuesday night was that Democrat Phil Miller beat Republican Travis Harris for a state House seat that includes Van Buren County, most of Jefferson County and a bit of Davis County (House District 82). The special election was called after Democrat Curt Hanson died in June. It's considered a swing district with 6,611 registered Republicans, 6,257 registered Democrats and 5,738 voters without partisan affiliation. The district went for Obama over Romney, narrowly, but this year swung heavily for Trump--by a whopping 21.3% margin. (Bernie beat Hillary in the district's caucuses last year and probably would have beaten Trump. In Jefferson County Bernie took 654 votes toTrump's 223. Cruz won the GOP caucus but Cruz and Trump combined only took 493 votes and even if you throw in 3rd-place Rubio's 104 votes, Bernie still got more votes than all of them together!)

Tuesday's results were 4,021 votes for Miller (53.8%), a veterinarian who serves on the Fairfield school board, and 3,324 votes for Harris (44.5%). The 82nd is the reddest Democratic-held House seat in Iowa, having swung swung from a tiny 50-48% Obama win to 57.8-36.4% Trump triumph, and the Republicans had every reason-- on paper at least-- to think they would recapture it this week.

Jefferson County-- with the 2 biggest cities in the district (Fairfield and Vedic City)-- was where Miller lives and why he won, having beaten Harris there 2,792 to 1,200, giving him the margin he needed to withstand the GOP advantages in Davis and Van Buren counties. Absentee ballots favored Miller and Miller's field and GOTV operations were much stronger than the Republicans'. The Republicans put their money into ads absurdly trying to make a connection between Miller... and Nancy Pelosi, which independent voters laughed off, and in carrying on about a school board vote Miller took to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that aligned with their identified gender.

Goal ThermometerThe state House district is in the heart of Iowa's only congressional district (IA-02) still held by a Democrat (Dave Loebsack). It is a major 2018 target for the Republican Party, which feels that Trump's 49.1% win over Hillary (45.0%)-- a pretty massive swing from Obama's 55.8-42.7% win over Romney in 2012-- indicates that they can beat Loebsack. The special election last night is very likely to take some wind out of those sails. But if you'd like to help Loebsack-- or any of the progressive and populist Democrats in districts Trump won-- Blue America has a nice new contribution page for that, which you can access by clicking on the ActBlue thermometer on the right. And, remember, the average swing away from Trump for Republican candidates in special elections so far this year has been 13 points-- which, if that is what happens in the 2018 midterms, predicts the biggest ass-whooping the GOP has gotten since their agenda brought on the Great Depression at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s.

Iowa's Senate Democratic Leader, Rob Hogg, was celebratory this morning and he sent out a list of upcoming events Iowa Democrats have scheduled for the next couple of weeks. Just in case you're visiting and want to meet some like-minded activist progressives...
Thursday, August 10, 4:30 to 8:00 p.m.--Sen. Pam Jochum's "Cruising to Victory" River Cruise Fundraiser, Catfish Charlie’s, Dubuque
Friday, August 11, 10:00 a.m.-- the national healthcare "Drive for our Lives" Bus Tour, comes to Mays Island, Cedar Rapids
Friday, August 11, 54:00 p.m.-- Iowa Democratic Wing Ding, Surf Ballroom, Clear Lake, hosted by Hogg and Sen Amanda Ragan with special guest Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a native-born Iowan
Saturday, August 19, 1:30 p.m.-- Cedar Rapids City Manager’s "1-Bag Challenge" Summer Cleanup Challenge, starting at 1:30 p.m. from the McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 1st St. SW.
Sunday, August 20, 1:00 p.m.-- Scott County Democrats’ Summer Picnic, starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Duck Creek Lodge, 3300 E. Locust Street, Davenport
Sunday, August 20, 5:00 p.m.-- Benton County Democrats’ Cookout and Fundraiser at Luzerne City Park, starting at 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 26, 4:30 p.m.-- Calhoun County Democrats’ Fundraiser, 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the Lohrville EMS Building
Sunday, August 27, noon to 2:00 p.m.-- Iowa River Forum in Hardin County at Pine Lake State Park, east of Eldora and south of Steamboat Rock, in the day-use shelter
Sunday, August 27, 4:00 p.m.-- Poweshiek County Democrats’ annual picnic, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Grinnell
Wednesday, September 6, 4:30 p.m.-- Rob Hogg Fall Fundraising Kickoff, at the Sag Wagon, 827 Shaver Road NE, in Cedar Rapids

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At 12:46 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Terrific news!

At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caucusing is so archaic. Why let a couple hundred partisans determine the candidates that thousands choose from for president? And, as we saw in the D caucuses in NV, easily manipulated to keep certain unwashed progressives out.

I guess that's why they still do them. Easy to predetermine the outcome.

If it weren't so tragic, this shithole would be hilarious.


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