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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Hanson bests Burgmeier in HD90

By admin | 09.02.09 | 12:10 am

Democrat Curt Hanson has defeated Republican Stephen Burgmeier by 107 votes in Iowa House District 90, according to unofficial results released by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office Tuesday night.

Hanson will replace former state Rep. John Whitaker (D-Hillsboro), who was appointed to a position with the USDA. The balance of power in Iowa’s lower legislative chamber remains unchanged, with Democrats holding on to a somewhat volatile 56-44 majority.

Democrat Curt Hanson, right, defeated Republican Stephen Burgmeier in the special election to represent District 90 in the Iowa House.

Democrat Curt Hanson, right, defeated Republican Stephen Burgmeier in the special election to represent District 90 in the Iowa House.

Tuesday’s turnout was low compared to recent presidential elections but high for a special election, with 8,046 voters casting ballots in the district, which spans Jefferson County and parts of Wapello and Van Buren counties.

The race, which lasted just over one month, focused less on issues of local importance and more on trivia.

Both campaigns released television advertisements featuring cartoons.

The National Organization for Marriage bought more than $80,000 in ads to support Burgmeier, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage rights. Two other groups — Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Family Policy Center — seemed to play a central role in the Republican’s campaign, which spent more time criticizing Gov. Chet Culver and Democratic bigwigs than talking about Hanson.

For his part, Hanson received less help from third-party groups, but he enjoyed the undivided attention of the Democrats’ statewide organization. Party volunteers descended on the district from across the state, and surrogates — including U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin — made appearances on his behalf.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Michael Kiernan was quick to release a statement after the results were in. “Democrats have been successful in the last two election cycles and tonight because we have recruited great candidates, followed through on the promises we’ve made and are governing the state responsibly,” he said.

Republicans downplayed the result, implying that they never should have won the race anyway. “While we are disappointed, the fact that Republicans nearly won a solid Culver-Obama legislative district shows that Iowans are not pleased with the status quo and one-party rule in Des Moines,” said party chair Matt Strawn.

House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) sounded a similar note in his statement. “While we’re disappointed in the outcome of this race, it is not a surprise,” he said.

Iowa House District 90 (Source: www.legis.state.ia.us)

Iowa House District 90 (Source: www.legis.state.ia.us)

Hanson’s path to victory

In an election this close, almost any single factor could have made the difference.

Hanson built his margin of victory with absentee ballots and strong support in Jefferson County, where both he and Burgmeier live.

Of all 8,046 ballots cast, 4,805 came from Jefferson County. Hanson’s roughly 600-vote margin there was too much for Burgmeier to overcome, even after winning the more rural parts of Van Buren and Wapello counties that fall within the district.

For a race that was supposed to be decided by turnout alone, both sides exceeded expectations.  It is even possible that the Burgmeier campaign met its internal vote goal, only to find that its turnout projection was too low. (Otherwise, it would be hard to explain why he had [some] volunteers waving at cars on election day rather than making phone calls or knocking on doors…)

Hanson banked a lot of votes early, allowing his campaign to focus its time and resources on a narrowing universe of voters, maximizing efficiency.

It was a textbook Iowa Democratic campaign, designed to push Hanson across the goal line with little fanfare and a lot of direct contact with voters. And it worked.

Comments

  • desmoinesdem

    Surely the GOP must have had volunteers knocking on doors yesterday and making phone calls. Are you sure they were just waving at cars?

    • chasemartyn

      I don't mean to imply that all of Burgmeier's volunteers were doing visibility on election day, only that some were, and that a campaign in its right mind would probably only resort to sign-waving after every phone in the office was taken and every list was complete.

      I heard anecdotal reports of that during the day, and the Register's story actually reports that state Rep. Betty DeBoef was doing visibility.

      I don't mean to denigrate the Burgmeier operation too much, simply because they put up pretty good numbers. It was just one of my annoying side-comments :)

      I added [some] to that sentence to make it a little clearer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Eaves-Johnson/656760121 James Eaves-Johnson

    Gay-haters lose! I am not a very strong Democrat, but when Republicans burnish their gay-hating credentials in an election, I will stand solidly against them. This is excellent news!

  • http://www.facebook.com/slincoln W Scott Lincoln

    Gay-haters lose this battle, but apparently they are sending even more out-of-state mormon front-group money into the state to open up marriage equality hating offices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Eaves-Johnson/656760121 James Eaves-Johnson

    Gay-haters lose! I am not a very strong Democrat, but when Republicans burnish their gay-hating credentials in an election, I will stand solidly against them. This is excellent news!

  • http://www.facebook.com/slincoln W Scott Lincoln

    Gay-haters lose this battle, but apparently they are sending even more out-of-state mormon front-group money into the state to open up marriage equality hating offices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Eaves-Johnson/656760121 James Eaves-Johnson

    Gay-haters lose! I am not a very strong Democrat, but when Republicans burnish their gay-hating credentials in an election, I will stand solidly against them. This is excellent news!

  • http://www.facebook.com/slincoln W Scott Lincoln

    Gay-haters lose this battle, but apparently they are sending even more out-of-state mormon front-group money into the state to open up marriage equality hating offices.

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