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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.

Boswell Wins 3rd District Democratic Primary

By admin | 06.03.08 | 11:49 pm

U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell fended off challenger Ed Fallon with a healthy margin of about 20 points June 3. He sealed his victory with a double-digit win in Polk County, which was perceived as Fallon’s stronghold.Fallon, who served seven terms in the Iowa House representing inner city Des Moines, sought to unseat Boswell, who will seek his seventh term in Congress. Fallon criticized Boswell for being too conservative for the district. A so-called Blue Dog Democrat, Boswell voted for the Iraq War and a controversial bankruptcy bill, and he supports trade agreements like NAFTA, which Fallon claimed were unfair to American workers.

Iowa Independent first reported Fallon’s intent to challenge Boswell in December. By January, when Fallon officially announced his candidacy, many saw potential for an upset because of the his unexpected success during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign. In that race, Fallon placed a close third, but he won more votes in the counties comprising Boswell’s congressional district than his opponents did because of a wide margin in Polk County.

But the three-way race in 2006 turned out to be no barometer for the two-way contest this year.

Boswell began with a vast campaign account and maintained his fundraising advantage until the end. He accepted money from political action committees (PACs), while Fallon did not. Fallon did receive support from online activists across the country. Democracy for America and the blog OpenLeft helped him raise over $75,000 online — likely the highest online fundraising total in Iowa history. Still, Fallon fell far short of the $700,000 fundraising goal he set for himself when he announced his candidacy.

Although Boswell did not campaign as actively as Fallon throughout the district, his staff worked diligently behind the scenes to encourage supporters to vote absentee. Fallon, who spent the majority of his money on a large staff of organizers, did worse than expected on this count. In rural Mahaska County, for instance, Boswell received 13 times more absentee ballots than Fallon (the margin was 131-10). In Iowa County on the district’s eastern edge, Boswell won the absentee vote 66-6.

Because of high personnel costs, Fallon’s campaign was unable to afford to advertise by mail or on television. Boswell, on the other hand, sent voters a slew of negative mailings, several attacking Fallon for endorsing Green Party “spoiler” candidate Ralph Nader in the 2000 election. He also used the “franking privilege” afforded members of Congress to send two positive mailings to his constituents for free. And in the final week of the campaign, Boswell received help from an unaffiliated political organization classified as a “527,” which sent mailings to voters that made exaggerated claims about Fallon’s supposed support for sex offenders and methamphetamine users.

Fallon did have one bright moment in the contest, when he received the endorsement of the Des Moines Register. Many expected that the endorsement, combined with what appeared on financial disclosure reports to be an aggressive effort to get out the vote, could springboard Fallon to victory.

But Fallon had trouble gaining traction from the beginning of his campaign. His criticisms of Boswell received generally little press coverage, perhaps because the same issues had been argued ad nauseam during the year-long Iowa caucuses, or perhaps because Fallon’s relationships with most members of the Democratic Party establishment across the state had become strained during his years in the state legislature. Fallon’s message was also drowned out by the ongoing presidential race, which consumed most of the space that newspapers and television newscasts devoted to political coverage. He received the most press attention of the campaign after Iowa Independent revealed complicated campaign finance questions related to his unregulated political advocacy organization, I’M For Iowa.

Fallon’s lack of positive media attention coupled with disappointing fundraising numbers prevented him from communicating his message to voters, but his resounding defeat indicates that even so-called “high information” voters, who were well informed about both candidates, broke in Boswell’s direction.

Boswell now faces a general election challenge from Republican Kim Schmett, a member of the conservative establishment who worked for former U.S. Rep. Greg Ganske in Washington, D.C. Schmett has raised just over $50,000 to date.

Comments

  • D3voter

    Bowell isn’t just too conservative for the district He’s too conservative for the Democratic Party
    I am a Democrat because I believe we all deserve access to healthcare, because too many people are ignored by our elected officials, and because any FEC report will tell you that money is drowning out the voices of voters
    I voted for Fallon because he’s not afraid to be a Democrat. 
    Being a Democrat isn’t always about voting the party line or always siding with the incumbent, it’s about voting for the person that is most aligned with the Democratic Platform.  Boswell has too consistently shown that his biggest concern is reelection, and not the issues that affect voters most.  And his win-at-all-costs attitude only proves the point. 

    He may have won the primary, but 40% of the district is going to need to be convinced that he’s a Democrat worthy of their vote in November.

  • D3voter

    Bowell isn't just too conservative for the district He's too conservative for the Democratic Party

    I am a Democrat because I believe we all deserve access to healthcare, because too many people are ignored by our elected officials, and because any FEC report will tell you that money is drowning out the voices of voters

    I voted for Fallon because he's not afraid to be a Democrat. 

    Being a Democrat isn't always about voting the party line or always siding with the incumbent, it's about voting for the person that is most aligned with the Democratic Platform.  Boswell has too consistently shown that his biggest concern is reelection, and not the issues that affect voters most.  And his win-at-all-costs attitude only proves the point. 

    He may have won the primary, but 40% of the district is going to need to be convinced that he's a Democrat worthy of their vote in November.

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