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January 17th, 2014

Brenna Findley for Something: The Weekly Round Up

It’s no secret that Governor Branstad’s legal counsel, Brenna Findley, is being encouraged to run for either Iowa’s open Third Congressional District or the open Secretary of State’s office.  I’ve heard less about Findley running for Secretary of State, but she has been meeting people about a congressional run in the Third District.

Findley has $22,839.28 remaining in her campaign account from her 2010 race for Attorney General.  She could use that money to run for a state office, but can’t use it to run for congress.  Running for Congress or Secretary of State would be far more difficult for Findley than her 2010 campaign was because she would have to win a primary.

Running against a former Secretary of State in Paul Pate would not be an easy task for Findley.  In her 2010 campaign, Attorney General Tom Miller painted Findley as a political operative with no real-world courtroom experience, basically making the case that she was not qualified for the position.  That is the same argument that Pate is already using against Democrat Secretary of State candidate Brad Anderson.

I also don’t know how Findley would be able to challenge Pate since he’s already held the job.  I think people would also find it odd that Branstad’s legal counsel who ran for Attorney General before is now seeking the Secretary of State’s office instead of challenging Miller again.

If Findley chooses to run for Congress, she would be entering a very crowded primary.  She would be unique in that she would be the only female candidate.  However, in 2010, when both Matt Schultz and Findley were running against incumbent Democrat statewide officeholder, Schultz got more votes than she did in every county in the Third Congressional District except for Guthrie County.  Schultz received 128,187 votes in the district, while Findley got only 120,616.  Schultz bested her by 1,001 votes in Dallas County and 3,105 votes in Polk County.

While Schultz and Findley didn’t faceoff against each other in 2010, the vote totals should give Findley some pause.  It’s also important to remember that Schultz won his race by spending just $70,000 with no real outside assistant.  With a lot of outside assistance Findley spent $1.3 million on her race against Miller and probably had another million spent on her behalf beating up Miller, and the race wasn’t even close.

It’s understandable why Findley and others are interested in these races, but it’s difficult seeing a pathway to victory if you ask me.

David Fischer Runs for State Senate – Resigns as Iowa GOP Co-Chair

David Fischer has resigned his position as the Co-Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa to run for the Iowa Senate in District 15.  Crystal Bruntz, a human resources executive with Kum & Go also announced yesterday that she will also seek the seat that is currently occupied by Democrat Senator Dennis Black.

The candidacies of both Fischer and Bruntz are welcomed news for Republicans.  Winning the seat would boost the chances of Republicans gaining control of the Iowa Senate.  I don’t know Bruntz, but she seems, on paper, to be a good recruit.  Fischer will be a formidable candidate and should be considered as the clear frontrunner for the primary.

Fischer is smart, hardworking, passionate, and politically connected.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fischer in the Iowa Senate next year, and despite what some might say, that would be a very good thing.

Miller-Meeks: Enemy #1 for the Des Moines Register?

The Des Moines Register always laments that Iowa has never elected a female governor or federal office holder, but then it goes out of its way to bash Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.  I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case if Miller-Meeks were a Democrat.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Register tried to make hay over a comment that Miller-Meeks made last October about people on food assistance buying Mt. Dew.  If that wasn’t bad enough, they printed the following headline when Miller-Meeks stepped down from her position as Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

“Head of Iowa Department of Public Health abruptly resigns”

There was nothing “abrupt” about Miller-Meeks’ resignation, especially to those who know her well.  The Register’s use of the word “abrupt” insinuated that Miller-Meeks was leaving her post because of scandal or perhaps that the Governor was asking her to leave. The Register then published a negative op-ed about Miller-Meeks, saying that that future heads of the Iowa Department of Public Health need to be a “voice of the public,” again insinuating that Miller-Meeks did a poor job because her priorities didn’t match the newspaper’s.

That’s an awful lot of attention to give a department head who, to this day, has still not officially announced her intentions to run for political office, and more attention than the Register gave her when she ran for Congress in 2008 and 2010.  But the Register wasn’t finished.  It also published a press release from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs that basically said that the chances the she will win her congressional race are low because major party nominees who run a third time don’t have a good winning percentage.

I was also sent the press release and chose not to publish it because our good (and probably liberal) friends to the north didn’t take into account the fact that the Congressional District that Miller-Meeks would be running in in 2014 is nothing like the one in which she sought election in 2008 and 2010.  So, while this will be her third attempt at running for Congress, this is the first time she will be running in the newly reconfigured 2nd Congressional District.

Help Kim Schmett Get Out Of Debt So He Can Run for Congress Again

Kim Schmett, the Republican nominee for Congress in Iowa’s Third Congressional District in 2008, is planning to run for the seat again.  Before that happens, Schmett wants to pay off the $11,660.59 in campaign debt he still owes.  Schmett owes money to Des Moines political consultant David Kochel, OnMessage, Inc. (his media vendor), and OP Printing, which is the printing business owned by Iowans for Tax Relief.

To help raise money to pay off Schmett’s debts, former Iowa Congressman Jim Ross Lightfoot is headlining a fundraiser for him at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines on January 23rd.

Update: Kim called me this morning and told me that he has no intentions on running for Congress in 2014, and was not even considering it.


Balloon Boy for Governor

Jonathan Narcisse, who is best known for his wedding hot air balloon crash, is apparently going to run for governor again, but this time as a Democrat.  He ran for governor in 2010 as an independent and garnered 20,859 votes, or 0.0184 percent of the vote.  Narcisse has been a frequent guest on Jan Mickelson’s radio program on WHO Radio to talk about his potential campaign.

Some Democrats think Jack Hatch is a joke of a gubernatorial candidate.  Now they get to choose between him and Narcisse.  Wow.  The race could be fun to watch from a distance, but it will give Iowa Democrats who want to win in November some serious heartburn.

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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