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October 26th, 2010

Sorenson Still Standing After Appel and the Register Make It Personal

There is no doubt that the most hotly contested legislative campaign in the state is in State Senate District 37.  State Senator Staci Appel, who is being challenged by State Representative Kent Sorenson, currently holds the seat.

The difference between Sorenson and Appel couldn’t be more apparent.  One only needs to look at the type of vehicles they drive to see the difference.  Sorenson drives a blue Toyota FJ Cruiser.  It has rubber floors and a basic interior.  It rolls on four stock black steel wheels.  Like Sorenson, it looks like its ready to charge any obstacle its path.

Appel drives a beige colored Cadillac Escalade.  It’s interior includes heated leather seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, and plush carpet.  As is the case with Sorenson’s FJ Cruiser, Appel’s Escalade also sports black wheels.  Not the basic ones like Sorenson’s, but aftermarket low-profile wheels that most Iowans wouldn’t be caught dead putting on their four-wheel drive SUV because they are so impractical.

Their vehicles are as different as their politics and backgrounds.  Sorenson is an unapologetic conservative who has carried water for conservative causes during his two years as a State Representative.  Appel is an unabashed liberal.  She has voted against displaying the American Flag in classrooms and supported a bill that would eliminate the Electoral College.  The latter was an initiative of left-wing billionaire activist George Soros.

Another obvious difference is how the two candidates campaign.  Recently the Des Moines Register did a frontpage exposé on Sorenson for being wise enough to purchase the web address,  Sorenson turned the site over to a friend who has sinse used it to illustrate the differences between the two candidates.

The site takes no cheap shots at Appel – it’s just her voting record.  It’s telling that she is howling about being held accountable for the votes she’s taken.  To make matters worse, not only did the Register devote space on its front page for such a non-story, they proved to be willing to help Appel attack her opponent.

I laughed out loud when Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register wrote, “Questions about campaign tactics in the Iowa Senate District 37 race led The Des Moines Register to look more deeply into both candidates’ histories.”  It’s highly doubtful that Jacobs and the Register’s investigative team went to work finding dirt on Sorenson.

What is more likely is that Statci Appel, or someone from the Democratic Party, provided the Register with their dossier about Sorenson’s past.  It wouldn’t be the first time that such a thing has happened.  In 2008, the Register took the legislative Democrat’s opposition research and published it.

What is even more sad is that this “dirt” on Kent Sorenson consists of things that either happened decades ago, or are directly related to one of his children developing a serious illness that caused great financial strain on his family.

What I find so distasteful about the Register’s behavior is that they seem perfectly willing to tell half the story as long as it advances the agenda of its editorial board.  If Sorenson owning the web domain name “” is worthy of a front-page story because they consider it to be negative campaigning, what about the personal attacks that Appel is using in her television ads?  If the Register is willing to write a hit piece on the type of person that Sorenson was 16 years ago, what about also writing a story about the man that he’s become?  How about denouncing an ad that calls him a “deadbeat dad” despite the fact that his own wife and children rave about what a great father he is?  How about denouncing an ad that claims he supports spousal and child abuse?

Kent Sorenson is a personal friend of mine.  His checkered past is something that he’s never run from.  In fact, he openly talks about his past.  If you read the Register’s hit piece, you would probably think that Sorenson is some drag on society.  If that was the case, how did he manage to own a cleaning company that cleaned businesses after hours?  The truth is that his clients trusted him and his company enough to give them a set of keys.

It’s also important to note that Sorenson didn’t move into his community and try to be someone he’s not.  He lives in and represents the same area where he was born, raised, and got into trouble.  If he was such a drag on society, why did his community chose to elect him to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2008?  It’s because they know and trust him enough to represent them in Des Moines.

Shouldn’t we celebrate those who have overcome adversity and become productive members of their community instead of shackling them with their past indiscretions from 20 years ago?  Obviously, such a story doesn’t sell enough newspapers.

It’s also disappointing that more people have not come to the defense of Sorenson.  For the past two years, Sorenson has carried a lot of water at the Statehouse for conservative organizations like the Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC).  He was there for them when they needed him, but where are they when he needs help?  The same goes for Bob Vander Plaats, who Sorenson supported in the GOP gubernatorial primary.  Sadly, IFPC probably can’t be of much assistance to Sorenson because most of its staff has either quit or was fired in recent weeks after Vander Plaats came on board as the new CEO of IFPC’s parent organization.

Sorenson has seen Sen. Staci Appel make the difficulties that his family has overcome the focus of her re-election campaign.  It’s telling when a politician is willing to personally destroy her opponent for another term in office.

Despite what the Register says, Sorenson has run a positive campaign.  He has compared and contrasted their positions on issues, but he has never personally attacked Staci Appel.  Sorenson recently began running the television ads below.  Please help Kent keep these ads on the air by making a contribution to his campaign.  We need more people like Kent representing the people of Iowa, not less.

Photo by Dave Davidson

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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