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3 Questions With Iowa Senate Candidate Dave Edwards

3 Questions With Iowa Senate Candidate Dave Edwards

Dave Edwards is the Republican candidate for Iowa Senate District 16, the vast majority of which covers Des Moines and then swings Southeast to include Pleasant Hill.

While there is no getting around the fact that this is a Democrat stronghold (they have double the number of registered voters), if any Republican can win this district it is most certainly Dave Edwards.  What makes this race one of the most fascinating in the state this year is that Mr. Edwards is a blue collar, union member who is bringing the fight to Democrats on their turf.  He is challenging an incumbent who has already been in the Iowa Senate for 18 years (and was in the Iowa House before that), and few would argue that this particular district is better off than it was two decades ago.

Besides knowing these neighborhoods well, I have seen Mr. Edwards speak on multiple occasions and can tell you first hand that his style and message will resonate.  He has displayed courage both by stepping up to run, and by being willing to talk about illegal immigration, which is such an obvious problem that most are scared to talk about.  Republicans who live in or near this district need to return the favor, and can do so by visiting his website (click here), and getting involved to any extent possible.

As you will see below, his answers are extremely thoughtful, spot-on, and the case he is making to traditional Democrats is very convincing.  The age-old notions of the Republican Party that persist in this part of Des Moines certainly present a challenge, but there is no reason that a message of less government, fewer taxes, and more liberty can’t take root in districts like SD 16.

Simply put, Dave Edwards is the right candidate at the right time to be this messenger.  Should he win, the more “buttoned-up” folks at the State House (including Republicans) would be wise to listen to him…but for now lets just hope the voters in his district are truly listening to him.

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1) Being a blue collar, union member Republican running in a heavily Democratic district makes you and your race one of the most unique in the state. Briefly tell us how your campaign is going, and if you are finding folks in your district receptive to the different political solutions you are offering? If so, which ones are resonating?

The campaign is going great. I have talked to literally thousands of people over the last year or so. In my job as a union laborer, I drive a truck all around the city during the day. I have the opportunity to interact with Republicans and Democrats alike. I have grown to understand that the issues we face, we face as Iowans, and not as Democrats or Republicans. The economic hardships that are facing the people of this state are affecting us all – not just one party or the other.

I am talking to all the voters in this district when we are door knocking. Naturally, when I knock on a democrat’s door, they are reluctant to talk to me when they find out I’m a republican. But as we talk, they begin to see that my message is not one of partisan politics. My goal is to be the voice of the working people of this state. I want to work to make Iowa a state where business can thrive and where our citizens can earn a living wage. The legislature shouldn’t be burdening the people of this state with more regulations, and definitely shouldn’t be adding any new taxes, when people can’t pay their bills or feed their families. These are messages that are resonating with the residents of my district.

 

2) As you are out door knocking and talking to voters, what are the top few issues weighing on the minds of the people in your district? And what are they saying they want done about them?

People in my district are definitely concerned about the economy and their job security. They want to be able to go to work every day, and at the end of the week, have something to show for it. My top priority as a senator will be to alleviate the tax burden on the working people and the businesses of this state.

Iowa is one of the 10 lowest-ranked states in Tax Foundation’s 2012 State Business Tax Climate Index. The ranking is arrived at by looking at all the taxes levied in a state. Iowa is known for high corporate tax rates, high property taxes, high individual income tax rates and high unemployment insurance tax rates – all of which are taken into account in arriving at this poor ranking. That is a very sad state of affairs. The fact that we need to offer tax incentives to get businesses to come to this state speaks volumes about Iowa’s tax climate. Let’s get rid of the incentives and lower Iowa’s total tax burden. If we improve the tax climate in Iowa, we create more jobs and people have more money to spend, thereby improving the quality of life for all Iowans.

Another issue on the minds of the people of my district is illegal immigration. They want the problem dealt with. I believe the existing immigration laws of this state and this nation should be enforced. The illegal workforce here is driving down wages, and placing an extraordinary burden on Iowa’s social safety net . Recently, I have been sharing my belief that the illegal immigrant population in this state is being held in bondage. They are forced to take low-wage jobs with unscrupulous employers who don’t care about the safety of their workers. Because of their low wages, they are forced to live in low-rent housing under sub-standard living conditions and because of their immigration status, they feel they do not have the freedom to report these conditions .This issue is pitting the working class citizens of this state against the immigrant population. But the real problem here is the government’s failure to enforce its own laws.

 

3) Assuming you are victorious in November and get sworn into the Iowa Senate, what are the three votes that you most look forward to casting, and why?

I have vowed to introduce a bill on day one of the session that will outlaw traffic enforcement cameras. We have got to put a stop to government intrusion into areas where it doesn’t belong, starting with traffic cameras. These cameras are an infringement of privacy and violate due-process laws. The citizens of this state have shown overwhelmingly that they are against these cameras. The fact is, they don’t improve safety. They are being used as a revenue source for municipalities.

Another vote I am looking forward to casting is one in favor of across-the-board property tax reform. This will be a good starting point towards making Iowa more attractive for business and giving our economy a much-needed jump-start.

Lastly, when the republicans gain control of the senate this fall, I really look forward to the opportunity to vote for a new senate majority leader to replace Michael Gronstal!

 

3 Questions With Iowa House Candidate Patti Branco

3 Questions With Iowa House Candidate Patti Branco

Patti Branco is the Republican candidate for Iowa House District 34, which covers the Southern portion of Des Moines.  She is running against long entrenched Democratic incumbent Bruce Hunter, in a district that has been traditionally tough for Republicans.

Bruce Hunter has “Labor Union Liberal” written all over him, as not only does he sit as the ranking member of the Labor Committee, his wife happens to be the State Political Director for the AFL-CIO.  His top three priorities, in his own words, are all union strengthening give aways–leaving absolutely no doubt on how he feels is the best way to grow the economy.

An example of the type of candidate we are talking about here is as follows, and I am not making this up.  Among his top priorities for next session are increasing the minimum wage, “investing in infrastructure”, ensuring that teachers are “well rewarded”, and codifying “better protection of workers rights”.  After doing these things his plan then is to “aggressively market Iowa’s (low) cost of doing business“.  You can’t make this stuff up, and it’s high time this antiquated nonsense is voted out of office.

Beyond this, he appears out of touch in other areas.  Apparently his district is the only one in the state that is unconcerned with soaring taxes, and he lists one of his missions as “to work to keep Iowa school’s the best in the nation”.  It seems he has not studied any education data since the mid-1990’s.

Mrs. Branco is a very strong candidate who brings a long and impressive business background to the table.  She has been working hard, remaining highly visible, and doing everything it takes to wage a successful campaign.  All Republicans, especially those of you in her district, should take the time to check out her website and resume, and get involved to help her effort.

The Conservative Reader: Iowa recently reached out to her for our continuing “3 Questions With” series.  Below is Mrs. Branco’s take on the HD 34 race and what she views as her top priorities should she win.

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1) You are running in a traditionally tough district for Republicans—how is the campaign going? And are you finding voters receptive to a change in ideology?

I feel good about the campaign.  I have a strong business background and quite a bit of nonprofit work on boards, but this is my first foray into the political arena.  I have had excellent mentors from the House and the Party sharing ideas and strategies that work, and I have several able and enthused volunteers.  We are door knocking daily, attending events and getting signs out in the in the district, making calls and raising money for a final mailing in October.

I am finding that some voters are going to pull the straight ticket, Democrat, but many others seem to be disillusioned and open to my message. At one door I was told…”I am firing every incumbent, so if you are not one, you have my vote”.  Others have indicated that maybe it’s time for change. I guess the final answer to the first question will be given on November 6th!

 

2) What would you characterize as the top two major differences in political philosophy between you and your opponent?  And how/why would your approach better serve the people of your district?

In a nutshell, I am conservative, and my opponent is liberal. I am for smaller government, lower taxes; I am for Veterans benefits,  I am pro-life,  I am for communication with the constituents to learn of their issues, and of the many doors I have knocked I find very little recognition or awareness of who the current 10 year incumbent is.  Let me say, without making disparaging comments, that I believe he is the opposite on most issues, and his voting record is public information.

The first thing I would do if elected is set up a data base so that I could reach out to my constituents, learn what is important to them and share what is happening in the halls of the Capitol.  I would be a full time pro business legislator, having no other full time career.  I am a people person, I love Iowa and I love America.

I have been endorsed by the Iowa Right to life Organization, the Family Leader and The National Federation of Independent Small Business Owners (NFIB).

 

3) Should you prevail and enter the Iowa House next year, what are the two or three votes that you most look forward to casting? And why?

A. Taxes! Real estate, property and corporate.  We have some of the highest taxes in those categories and if we want to continue to attract business to our state we need to reform the tax rates.  More businesses in Iowa means more jobs, a robust economy, increased net worth for families!  Lower taxes often means additional discretionary income.

B. I think Voter ID is an important issue and the fact that the ACLU and the courts are making it such a big obstacle course makes it even more suspect. Why would any law abiding citizen want to encourage voter fraud or prevent measures to eliminate votes from deceased voters, non-citizen voters or legal voters who manage to vote multiple times posing as others for the same ballot?

C. Education reform. Give tax paying parents more options. Give community leaders and local directors more control. If a teacher isn’t producing let parents choose the school they prefer. Demand accountability from teachers and from the educational boards of directors.

 

 

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 22)

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look At The Leaners (SD 22)

(Click for The Conservative Reader:Iowa’s complete overview of the 2012 Legislative Races)

The Candidates

Pat Ward (R) vs. Desmund Adams (D)

Pat Ward is an incumbent Senator from a different district, while Desmund Adams is an attorney who currently runs a executive search and public relations firm.

The District

Senate District 22 is comprised of both Polk and Dallas Counties.  The cities that make the district are Clive, Waukee, and the Western part of West Des Moines.  As you could likely guess this is pretty heavy Republican territory, though the actual registration advantage is smaller than one would think.  Registrations= R 15,374 – D 10,564 –  NP – 12,464 (R + 4,810).

The Race

Instead of staying put and running against Matt McCoy after map day, Ward chose to move west and was greeted by a challenge from the right by Waukee pastor Jeff Mullen.  The primary that unfolded between these two got truly out of hand, with Mullen crossing the line multiple times from tough attacks to outrageous defamation.  This forced Ward to respond heavy with radio advertising and deplete far more funds than I am sure she was hoping to.  The end result was that Mullen’s conduct backfired and he was defeated by 16 points.

The reasons for this seat landing in the leaner category instead of solid Republican are that (1) Ward just moved into the district, (2) she went through a bruising primary with a popular pastor, (3) at the last filing she had about $7,000 less than Adams, (4) the registration advantage is technically surmountable, and last but not least, (5) Adams is flat out a great candidate.  If he were running in an even district, I would bet money on Adams being able to win over voters and prevail.

I do think this seat will go Republican in the end.  The reasoning here is, (1) the math and the political leanings of the district , (2) if the Party thinks the seat is endangered they will spend big to keep it, (3) Ward will be able to kill Adams on his support of “stimulus” as a general governing tactic to deal with economic issues, and (4) Adams support of liberal social policy will hurt him badly in the Western part of the district (Mullen’s home base).

Though he is wisley making the pitch that “moderation needs a voice”, Adam’s positions do not seem to suggest that he is a moderate Democrat at all.  The reason I say “suggest” is that he only lists “beliefs” on his website (which include pro-choice and pro-gay marriage positions), and nothing specific on individual pieces of legislation or votes he would make.

What strikes me most about this race is that Desmund Adams, even in defeat, will be a major player for Democrats going forward–you have not heard the last of him.

Further Information

Pat Ward – wardforiowa.com

Desmund Adams – desmundadams.com

 

The Iowa Family PAC Endorses Patti Branco for State House in the November 6th Election

The Iowa Family PAC Endorses Patti Branco for State House in the November 6th Election

Below is the full text of a press release sent out by the Family Pac.  Branco is running in a very tough district in Des Moines where the number of registered Democrats is more than twice that of registered Republicans.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Iowa Family PAC announces its endorsement of Patti Branco, a pro-family, pro-constitutional candidate for the general election for House District 34.

The Iowa Family PAC is endorsing Branco because of her proven ability to lead and stand firm for constitutional, conservative, pro-family principles.

The qualifications for an endorsement from The Iowa Family PAC include the belief that society and government work best when citizens accept a high level of personal responsibility and that the only way our nation can reclaim a God-honoring culture is to defend strong families. Other key qualifications include the protection of life from conception to natural death and the belief that marriage is a permanent, lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. The Iowa Family PAC also only supports candidates who believe it is the duty of parents to overseethe education of their children and that an ethical, free enterprise system is consistent with the biblical notion of stewardship. Endorsed candidates will be expected to support and defend both the Iowa and U.S. Constitutions.

Chuck Hurley, Chair of The Iowa Family PAC, said, “The Iowa Family PAC is happy to endorse Patti Branco, a godly woman of faith, whose worldview is consistent with Judeo-Christian principles and who will boldly defend and honor issues relating to the family. Patti understands the values of her district and will work hard to champion pro-family values of Iowans in her district. We will be praying diligently between now and November 6th for Patti Branco and her family.”

Contact: Julie Summa

[email protected] ; 515-263-3495, ext.14 (office), 515-210-7475 (cell)

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About The Iowa Family PAC

The Iowa Family PAC is the official affiliated PAC of The FAMiLY LEADER. The Iowa Family PAC exists to elect pro-family lawmakers. It applies truth through direct intervention and support for the campaigns of bold, compassionate, pro-family candidates. Learn more about The Iowa Family PAC by going to www.thefamilyleader.com/inside-tfl/iowa-family-pac

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Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look at the 8 Leaners (SD 14)

Iowa Senate Races: A Closer Look at the 8 Leaners (SD 14)

(Click for The Conservative Reader: Iowa’s complete overview of this year’s legislative races)

The Candidates

Amy Sinclair(R) vs. Dick Schrad(D)

Amy Sinclair is a former Wayne County Supervisor, and Dick Schrad is the former Knoxville City Manager.

The District

The newly drawn Senate District 14 (map) is located dead center on Iowa’s Southern border.  It contains all of Clarke, Decatur, Lucas, and Wayne Counties, most of Marion County, and a small Southern portion of Jasper County.

The Race

This Senate seat was left open by the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Paul Mckinley.  Both candidates faced primary opponents and crushed them, and during her Republican primary Sinclair won the endorsement of Caffeinated Thoughts and its founder Shane Vander Hart.  The Republican advantage in this district has fluctuated down then up since map day and currently stands at Republicans +2,590 (R=13,327 D=10,737), with 12,873 non-party registrations.  Both candidates have big loans to their campaigns out and as of now there is no significant money advantage one way or the other.

I have this seat as leaning pretty strongly Republican.  I attended a two day Farm Bureau event with Mrs. Sinclair earlier this year and can attest to the fact that she is a very personable and knowledgeable candidate.  Based on this first-hand experience and the district make-up, I am comfortable with making the call that she will prevail over Mr. Schrad.

Further Information

Amy Sinclair Campaign Face Book Page =  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Sinclair/279841215392767

Dick Schrad Campaign Website  =  http://www.dickschrad4senate.com/

 

3 Questions With Iowa Senate Candidate Vicki Stogdill

3 Questions With Iowa Senate Candidate Vicki Stogdill

(This is the second installment of a continuing series posing 3 questions to Republican candidates statewide) 

Vicki Stogdill is running for the seat representing Senate District 18 in the Iowa Legislature.  She has been campaigning hard for months to give this traditionally Democratic territory a new voice at the State House.  Every race in the Iowa Senate this year is of utmost importance, and Stogdill’s effort to engage the voters of District 18 will reveal much about the Iowa electorate at large.  Voters both in and out of her district should take the time to check out her positions and background on her website, and to show her support in any way they can.  She brings to the table a long career in small business and a host of new ideas to strengthen Iowa’s communities and economy.

Recently, Vicki was kind enough to sit down with The Conservative Reader:Iowa to talk about her campaign and answer three questions that will have a direct impact both on her constituents and the state of Iowa.

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1.) Nearly 28% of the voters in your district are not registered with either political party, what two things would you like these folks to know about you and your candidacy before they vote in November?

A.  I ran as an Independent/NP candidate in 2008 – which demonstrates that I’m not afraid to stand up for principles before a party affiliation.  I won’t support a bill that’s not good for Iowa, regardless of party recommendations.   I want to foster greater cooperation between the two parties.  People are tired of the “partisanship” at our State Capitol, and I’d like to help minimize that.  Instead of the two parties going to their “opposing corners” in a disagreement, I will attempt to sit down and discuss where there are differences and find common ground, without compromising on principle.  I will put “people before politics.”

B.  I will self-impose term limits to allow more Iowans to have a chance to participate in the process.  I want to bring my business experience, creativity and problem-solving skills to the Iowa Capitol and have a positive influence on improving the future of our State.  Let’s bring fresh ideas and perspective to the discussion.

2.) Education is both an issue you are passionate about and one that will be front and center next session.  What major reforms need to be implemented to improve results state-wide (and in Des Moines especially), and why should voters resist the urge to not make these changes?

First of all, I don’t claim to have all the answers on how to “fix” Iowa’s Education system.  However, I believe one of the biggest keys to restoring our State to excellence in education is to restore more local control to school districts.  I am also a strong proponent of giving parents more choices in educating their children, and to having the dollars “follow the child” in those choices.

Iowa should repeal the “core curriculum” mandates and instead offer recommendations which would allow local school districts to decide how and what to teach again.  Locally elected school boards and administrators should make curriculum decisions based on the needs of their community, such as whether to enhance vocation programs for kids who do not choose a 4-year college after graduation, etc.  The Iowa Dept. of Education should be downsized to serve as an advisory support agency instead of an umbrella.  The State should continue to license and certify teachers.  School districts should conduct annual assessments (such as ITBS) and scores should be published locally for taxpayers to see what kind of results they are getting for their investment.  The State would only step in if a school district is consistently under-performing.

While technology and cutting edge learning must be a priority — we can’t lose sight of the “tried and true” teaching methods and foundational basics that have served us well in the past.  And throwing out “old” methods just because they’re old isn’t necessarily progress.  Teachers should have the ability to use their creativity again – to inspire kids to learn, with oversight from their local school administrators and school boards, instead of the State.  Iowa must stop trying to mold each child into a cookie-cutter curriculum and teaching methodology that obviously isn’t working. Iowa should continue to reject “No Child Left Behind” mandates.

In Des Moines our test scores and drop-out rates demonstrate that local voters need to recruit better local school board candidates and then “clean house” at the voting booth.  The results of our local schools are unacceptable at best, and it is not the job of the State to fix it – it is the responsibility of the community to demand it.  Local taxpayers must hold their local school boards and administrators accountable.  When searching for administrators, we should look first at the wealth of Iowa educators who are qualified to lead our schools – instead of conducting expensive searches to bring in out-of-state educators.   We have more than enough talented educators in Iowa who already know the landscape, challenges and history of our state.

A few other ideas that are worthy of consideration are to implement a dress code so students could focus on learning instead of fashion, which might also improve discipline and respect in our classrooms.  We must also realize that it’s not the job of schools to “socially engineer” our kids—that task is the duty and responsibility of parents.  In the Iowa Senate, I will work with educators, parents and the business community to arrive at recommendations which will prepare students for a career path after graduation.  Iowans deserve better than what we’re currently delivering in Education, and I will work tirelessly to achieve positive results for Iowa’s kids, parents and taxpayers.

3.)  Should you prevail in November and enter the Iowa Senate, what are the two or three votes you would most like to cast, and why?

While there are many bills I’m passionate about seeing passed – these three are among the most commonly suggested from my constituents, so they will be top priorities for me in the upcoming session:

A.  Voter ID – because NOT verifying the identity of voters is unconstitutional – and my vote is disenfranchised when fraud is allowed to potentially cancel it out.

B.   Property tax reform – on all classes of property.  For businesses, this will spur more expansion and investment which in turn will create more jobs when we stop penalizing the very engine of economic growth.  For homeowners it will mean leaving more money in the pockets of those who earned it. For farmers, it will mean using a funding formula that doesn’t penalize them for success.

C.   Education Reform, as discussed above.

2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers

2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers

The news last week that recently hired Yahoo News Washington DC Bureau Chief David Chalian was fired for a truly unbelievable “hot mic” moment was bad enough–but digging into his background re-enforces the mess that likely awaits Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan come debate time.

Chalian was fired for yucking it up with fellow reporters by saying that “They (Republicans) are not concerned at all.  They are happy to be having a party while black people are drowning (Hurricane Isaac).”  You can hear the “hot mic” comment here along with the, almost as disturbing, huge laughs this got from the reporters he was talking to.

In an earlier piece, I made the point that the folks selected to moderate the three Presidential debates and the one VP debate were very concerning–and possibly incapable of approaching this crucial role objectively.  This revelation regarding David Chalian should win over any of those who thought I was making too much of this story–here is why.

David Chalian’s Background

As noted by Tucker Carlson, Chalian was not a mere media foot soldier.  He had risen through the ranks to become Political Director at ABC news (2007-2010), Political Editor for PBS NewsHour (2010-2012), and had just been hired as the Washington DC Bureau Chief for Yahoo News (November 14, 2011-last week).  Not too shockingly, his professional accomplishments include an Emmy nomination for producing Charlie Gibson’s infamous Alaska interview with Sarah Palin in 2008.  There is simply no chance that his personal hyper-partisan and crass political viewpoint did not come up in the private job interviews he had with the network brass that eventually hired him.

Worse yet is that, recalling the four news organizations who are supplying the moderators, two of Mr. Chalian’s former employers will be controlling the conversation in what will be the most watched debates in political history.

First, you have the PBS NewsHour.   This is both where Chalian had worked until last November as Political Editor and the home of Jim Lehrer who will moderate the first debate.  Second, you have ABC News, where Chilian served as Political Director for three years.  This news room is providing Martha Radditz as the moderator for the Paul Ryan vs. Joe Biden debate.

This is not to say that these moderators share the same despicable view of Republicans that Chalian was revealed to have, but what it does point to is the internal culture that thrives in these organizations.  Simply put–there is a great chance that this bias not only exists in the other “journalists” who have climbed the totem pole at these networks, but that it will shine through one way or another in the upcoming debates.

Upon being hired by Yahoo News last year, Chilain did an interview in which he said working with Yahoo would provide, “an unparalleled opportunity to deliver high impact, high quality storytelling in what is shaping up to be a really consequential presidential election.”  Huh…I wonder what he meant by “high impact” storytelling?

 

((To read original story click here– “The 2012 Presidential Debates: When Moderators Aren’t Moderate” ))

 

 

The post 2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers appeared first on The Conservative Reader.


The 5 Legislative Races That Will Determine Iowa’s Political Future

The 5 Legislative Races That Will Determine Iowa’s Political Future

While the direction of the Country will be decided at the top of the ballot this November, the epic struggle for control of Iowa’s political landscape will be decided down ballot.

Of all the races taking place across the state, the long blocked agenda of Iowa Republicans is only two Senate seat gains away from being able to be implemented.  Since the Iowa House is in no danger of flipping—the fate of this agenda lies in the Iowa Senate’s 26 open seats.

While anything can happen in these legislative races between now and November, this following analysis reflects where they stand today.  Here is how we get from the 26 Senate seats up for grabs down to the 5 that will determine control of that chamber—and hence political control of Iowa for the next two years.

First things first: From 50 to 26 to 22

From 50 to 26— There are 50 seats in the Senate and all even numbered districts are on the ballot this year plus SD 49, which holds a race for a two year term before going back on the ballot in 2014.  This means that there will be 26 seats in play, with the Democrats starting with an advantage due to having 13 of the hold over seats to the Republicans 11.

From 26 to 22— Of the 26 races, Republicans have fielded a candidate in all of them while the Democrats have let four seats go unchallenged (SD 2, SD 10, SD 12, and SD 20).  This takes us from 26 possible races to 22 that will actually take place.

From 22 to 13— Of these 22 races, nine heavily favor* one party or the other.  Four favor the Republican candidate (SD 40, SD 28, SD 6, and SD 4); while 5 favor the Democrat candidate (SD 50, SD 34, SD 32, SD 18, and SD 16).

*Note: This analysis is largely based on the past history of communities making up the districts, registered voter advantages, and money raised and on hand for each candidate.  In all likely and leaner districts there are more than enough registered Independents to technically make up R and D registration advantages.

The Battle Field

From 13 to 5— This leaves 13 races left which will be heavily contested and which will draw the attention of, and funds from, the state political parties.  Of these, I see five leaning Republican and 3 leaning Democrat– for Republicans they are SD 46, SD 38, SD 24, SD 22, and SD 14, and for Democrats they are SD 44, SD 42, and SD 8.

Of note here is that, for the time being, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal is given SD 8 over Al Ringgenberg.  Also, the best shot for Republicans in these Democrat leaners are SD 42 and SD 8, while Democrats look to have the best chance in SD 46 and SD 38.

The Final 5

The remaining 5 races can truly go one way or the other and are absolutely critical for control of the Iowa Senate.  They are SD 49, SD 48, SD 36, SD 30, and SD 26.

Here is a recap of how we got there:

                                                                    Republicans          Democrats

                        Hold Over Seats                        11                         13         

                        Uncontested                               4                           0  

                         Likely R or D                             4                           5  

                         Lean R or D                               5                           3                                                     

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                                                                           24                         21

Going Forward

As you can see from above, assuming my “likely” and “lean” numbers hold true, Republicans are in great shape to take the Senate as they only need to win 1 of the “final 5” races to tie and only 2 of the 5 to gain outright control.  Conversely, Democrats would have to win 4 of the “final 5” for a tie and would need a clean sweep to retain control.

Two interesting facts here are that all the big action is in Eastern Iowa, which is home to all 5 of these decisive races, and that 4 of the 5 are contained in U.S Congressional District 1.  This is further good news for Republicans as Ben Lange is a great candidate who seems to be gaining steam against a sputtering Bruce Braley.

In the coming weeks The Conservative Reader: Iowa will be featuring interviews with Republican candidates from across the state.  Additionally, we will be taking in-depth looks at the 8 races which will be highly contested and the 5 that will be utterly critical for taking the Iowa Senate.

The voters in these 13 districts will ultimately answer the questions of how much property tax relief we receive, what reforms are made to our declining education system, and whether Iowa will set up health insurance exchanges for Obamacare.  One thing I have no question about is that these districts are where the battle for ideological control of Iowa will be won or lost.

 

 

 

2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers

The 2012 Presidential Debates: When Moderators Aren’t Moderate

Lost in the sea of coverage following Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, was the news that the moderators for the three Presidential debates, and one VP debate, were also selected.

There is a certain kind of news one receives that falls into the category of “this may or may not be bad—but it can’t be good”.  For Republicans, learning of the moderators that will be at the helm for these four debates certainly earns this distinction.

In order of appearance they are- Jim Lehrer (PBS News Hour), Martha Raddatz (VP Debate-ABC News), Candy Crowley (CNN), and Bob Schieffer (CBS News).

Since the Romney campaign had to sign off on each moderator, it is hard to imagine that they could not have demanded better (even given that the Obama camp also had to sign off on each).  By any measure, Jim Lehrer, Candy Crowley, and Bob Schieffer all lean to the left, and the networks that employ them all trail badly in the ratings to their direct competition.

Even if you were to say that these three were the fairest that both sides could agree to, giving a green light to Martha Raddatz for the VP debate was certainly inexplicable.  The reason for this being, she is a “foreign affairs correspondent” which is not Ryan’s forte, and in fact he was brought into the race for his economic mastery.  One has to wonder how much focus will be put on non-domestic topics just based on her area of expertise.  On the surface this seems a major concession to the Obama campaign, and one that needed not be given.

The reason these moderators are so important is three-fold.  First, with all the polls showing that the election has a likelihood of being razor-close, every small detail that goes into them has a chance to be huge.  Second, like was the case with the Republican Primary debates, these four showdowns will smash records for viewership and the audience will include millions of Independents sizing up the candidates for the first time.  Lastly, and most importantly, the questions asked of the candidates have the ability to dominate the crucial weeks of news cycles leading up to Election Day.

So What Should The Focus Be?

Poll after poll shows that for the American people ground zero in this election is the economy.  A Pew Research Poll taken from June 7-17 asked voters to name the top issue that they will be considering in the voting booth in November.  The top four answers were Jobs (35%), the Budget Deficit (23%), Health Care (19%), and Social Security (11%).

The danger in having biased moderators was on full display for the Republican Primary debate moderated by George Stephanopoulos, when, seemingly out of nowhere, he felt the need to drill down with Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum on the issue of female contraception.  This gave birth (no pun intended) to the Sandra Fluke phase of the campaign and a multi-week sidetrack by the media away from the serious issues of the day.  There is simply no doubt that, should they choose to, a moderator can actively push the focus to issues that are not widely being considered by voters—and into territory that favors one candidate or another.

As will be the case in October, it just so happens that the issues voters themselves say are paramount are the exact issues that President Obama is desperate to avoid talking about.  In theory this would make the debates a huge opportunity for Romney and Ryan to drive home their message—something tells me it won’t quite go down that way.

Perhaps I will be proven wrong, but will these moderators have the gumption to ask President Obama why a myriad of the promises he made while running in 2008 have been unachieved or even un-attempted?  Will they remind the American people that twice the President had budgets voted on by Congress, and he failed to receive one solitary vote for either of them?  Will they ask why he promised to cut the deficit in half but instead oversaw three years of trillion dollar plus deficits?  Or will they inquire why he has not laid a plan on the table for reforming entitlements, after saying himself this was crucial in 2008?

Republican Are Right to Be Nervously Skeptical

All things being equal, and according directly to the polls, the topics discussed during all four of the debates should almost exclusively be jobs, the deficit, the long term health of entitlement programs, and foreign policy.  What I fear instead is painful subjection to multiple questions on gay marriage, abortion, contraception, and student loan debt— knowing all the while the fruit is rusting on the vine.

It is true that the level of professionalism that the four moderators will show is yet to be determined, and perhaps at least three of them will be fair (I hold no hope for Bob Schieffer).  But given the track record of behavior the major media outlets have shown to Republicans in recent years, I’d say a mildly-crippling nervousness is more than justified.

After all, barring a phenomenal performance by both Republican candidates, one thing is certain—“it may or may not be bad…but it won’t be good”.

 

 

The post The 2012 Presidential Debates: When Moderators Aren’t Moderate appeared first on The Conservative Reader.


Policy Study Reveals Problems with Teen Unemployment in Iowa

Policy Study Reveals Problems with Teen Unemployment in Iowa

The following is an interesting study released recently, and the reaction by the GOP (written up by Jill J.).

In a policy study released by the Public Interest Institute at Iowa Wesleyan College, author Amy Frantz analyzed Iowa’s teen unemployment situation. The report notes Iowa’s unemployment rate for teens has remained consistently high over recent history. Two subgroups are analyzed within the data: teens ages 16-19 and high school graduates 18-20 years old.

The report notes that the unemployment rate for the 16-19 year old group was at a very high 12.3 % in 2002 and over the course of the last decade has remained at the high level, with the most recent report for 2011 showing that the unemployment rate for 16-19 year olds was 13.8%. This is much higher than the overall unemployment rate in Iowa which was just below 6% in 2011. Similarly, the 18-20 year old high school graduate group’s unemployment rate was 9.6% in 2002 and has risen higher, peaking in 2010 with a rate of 19.3% before coming down below 18% in 2011.

Not only are the unemployment rates higher, but an analysis of the number of hours worked for these two groups has seen a reduction in the last decade as well. The average number of hours worked per week for the 16-19 year olds in 2002 was 12.5 hours, but has dropped to 8.1 hours per week in 2011. Again, the 18-20 year old high school graduates faced a similar situation wherein their average hours worked in 2002 was 21.1 per week, falling to 16.7 hours per week in 2011.

The study references the rise in minimum wage as one of the driving forces behind the tremendously high teen unemployment rate. Iowa’s minimum wage was raised by the Iowa Legislature and Governor Culver in 2007 from $5.15 per hour to $6.20 per hour, and then in 2008 it was raised to $7.25. The federal minimum wage was also raised by the Democratically-controlled Congress, up to its current level of $7.25 an hour, matching Iowa’s rate. The study links this rise of the minimum wage to the increase in teen unemployment rate, noting that “teenagers are five times more likely to earn the minimum wage than adults. Thus the impact of an increase in the minimum wage would be felt dramatically by that segment of the workforce.” Those most hurt by a rise in minimum wage are often the youngest and most unskilled workers as businesses cannot afford to pay increased wages for individuals that might not have the necessary training or productivity to bring to the business.

Lastly, the study proposes an idea on how to lower the teen unemployment rate in Iowa. The study proposes to create a “sub-minimum” wage for teen workers in the state, which would allow businesses to pay certain teens an amount below the minimum wage that would apply to all other workers. The study concludes with the observation that “The benefit of having a higher minimum wage is cancelled out if teen workers are receiving fewer hours of work. And for those teens that want a job but cannot find one, their wages are $0.”

 

 

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