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May 2nd, 2014

Who Knows, Maybe Donald Sterling Could Run for Governor of Iowa as a Democrat

Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was fined $2.5 million dollars and was suspended from the NBA for life this week.  The punishments levied by the NBA because an audio tape of Sterling making insensitive and raciest remarks were given to TMZ, which made them public.  When the other 29 owners of NBA franchises meet, they can choose to impose an even stricter punishment on Sterling.  If three-quarters of the owners agree, they can force Sterling to sell the team he has owned since 1981.

The NBA reminded us this week that there is no room in America for racism, but I have to wonder if things would be different if Sterling called Iowa home.  There is no room for racism in Iowa either, but Iowa Democrats seem to be more tolerant of individuals who say insensitive things – just look at their nominee for governor, State Senator Jack Hatch.

In the spring of 2009, just months after this website made it debut, State Senator Jack Hatch lost his temper on the floor of the Iowa House of Representatives and used the “n” word Hatch was upset with the Democrat leadership in the Iowa Senate over a revision to a heath care bill he helped create.  Hatch sought out State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, who is black, and said, “They’re treating us like n*****s, like masters and slaves.”

Yes, Hatch quickly apologized, and said that there was no malice in what he said.  But as Linda Carter-Lewis, the president of the Des Moines chapter of the NAACP said after Hatch’s apology, “Words, once spoken, cannot be retracted or erased.  Senator Hatch will suffer the consequences for his actions.”

So what consequences has Hatch had to endure?  Besides dealing with public embarrassment, nothing.  Heck, he’s not even being challenged for the Democrat nomination for governor.

So let me get this straight.

Donald Sterling is banished from the NBA, fined $2.5 million dollars, and will very likely be forced to sell his team because he was upset that his mistress was posting pictures of herself and black people on Instagram.  It’s important to note that Sterling never once even used the n-word in his recorded conversation.

Paula Deen, a well-known cooking celebrity, saw her media empire food crumble, when she admitted that she had used the n-word at her restaurant in a deposition in 2013.  Deen’s restaurants suffered, her endorsement deals with Walmart and other companies were revoked, and her Food Network show was canceled.

Jack Hatch drops the n-word in the Iowa State House, and five years later, he is the Democrat nominee for governor.

For all of you Iowans who are ashamed (that’s you Des Moines Register Editorial Board) that Iowa has never elected a woman governor or to federal office, you should be equally ashamed that the Democrat Party in Iowa has all but nominated a candidate who has a history of using the n-word.  Perhaps Mr. Sterling would be wise to relocate to Iowa as his raciest views would cause little problem in the current Democratic Party in this state.

Incoming! Take Cover!

Political primaries are not for the faint of heart.  With only a month to go before primary day, candidates and outside groups are starting to beat people up.  Trust me, it’s nothing personal, it’s just how the game is played.

I got a good laugh the other day when a couple of friends posted on Facebook and Twitter about 3rd District Congressional Candidate Monte Shaw’s “negative” attacks on Robert Cramer and Secretary of State Matt Schultz.  All Shaw’s campaign did is email out some press clippings.  It was all positive stuff about Shaw, and all negative about Cramer and Schultz.  Folks, that’s just what campaigns do.

In the U.S. Senate primary, Mark Jacobs is under fire from a special interest group that is running ads against him for remarks he made about cap and trade in 2007 and 2009.  Jacobs has responded with an ad of his own.

Here’s the deal, it’s going to get a lot worse before the primary.  And while I don’t really enjoy negative primary ads, I do prefer that our candidates get vetted in the primary.  We all saw what happened in the 2010 primary in the 3rd Congressional District.  The primary candidates all needled each other, but nobody ever really took a shot at their opponent.  The result? Democrat Leonard Boswell decapitated Brad Zaun at start of the general election.  It was bloody, painful, and sadly preventable.

The vetting process isn’t often pretty to watch, but it is necessary.  Just remember, we just have to endure it for 30 days, because after the primary our focus better be on the Democrats.

Rick Perry Wise to Endorse Whitaker

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Whitaker was endorsed by Texas Governor Rick Perry this week.  The endorsement didn’t make many waves because Whitaker isn’t a top tier candidate in the race and Perry didn’t do all that well in Iowa.  Still, I think it was wise for Perry to back the guy who served as his state chairman in the 2012 caucuses.  Loyalty is important in politics, and Whitaker was a good ambassador for Perry during the caucuses.  I think that Perry is starting to figure out our  “quirky” process.

May take on the 3rd District Congressional Primary

Get ready for a special nominating convention!  As Brad Zaun and Matt Schultz fall back to the rest of the pack, Monte Shaw and Robert Cramer are running credible campaigns.  Even David Young is getting attention for his new television ad.  It all makes for the perfect scenario for no candidate to meet the 35 percent threshold in the primary.

I could see a scenario where the top four finishers all get twenty-some percent.  I still believe Zaun with his Polk County base is the frontrunner, but it’s hard to see him surpassing the 35 percent threshold.  I think primary results could look something like this.

Zaun – 25 percent
Schultz – 20 percent
Shaw – 19 percent
Cramer 19 percent
Young – 15 percent
Grandanette – 2 percent

It’s just a guess.  And what that means at convention, I don’t know.  I think the top four candidates would all be viable options for delegates.  If there is a significant gap between first and second place, the top finisher in the primary will be the strong favorite to be nominated.  If not, it’s a jump ball.

Democrats for Clovis

The Iowa Democratic Party released a video attacking Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Cloivs yesterday.  The ad features Clovis from recent debates talking about conservative issues.  What the Democrats think is god awful, Clovis and most Republicans think is awesome.

The Clovis campaign is encouraging it’s supporters to help spread the video.  I have to admit, it’s the best Clovis video to date.  I’d encourage people to share it too.

 Monte Shaw – No Dirty Laundry

Shaw’s latest TV ad contains a subtle jab at his opponents.  The ad features Shaw’s wife Tina, and shows him trying to fold laundry in the background.  At the end of the ad Shaw’s wife says, “If Monte takes care of our country, like he takes care of our family, we are all in good hands.”  Shaw then approves the message before a female voice over adds, “Monte Shaw, no dirty laundry.”

Shaw is obviously taking a jab at Secretary of State Matt Schultz, who has been criticized recently for letting an aide collect his full salary for eight months after his position was terminated.  Shaw could also be referring to Brad Zaun, who had a number of negative things come out about him in the 2010 general election.

Robert Cramer – Standing for Ethics Mailer Violates the Law

Cramer continues to fill up my mailbox with impressive looking persuasion mail.  Seriously, his stuff has been great.  The latest mailer came yesterday and was a pledge to, “Clean up Washington.”  The mailer also contained the great seal of the state of Iowa.  If you look closely at the seal, you can faintly read a watermark that covers the seal which reads, “choose your state.”  So, it’s likely that Cramer’s mail vender lifted the artwork without permission.  I’m probably one of the few people that would ever notice that on the mailing.

Iowa also has strict rules about using the state’s seal.

“The Great Seal cannot be used without the permission of the governor. The state seal is retained in the custody of and under the control of the governor, who uses the seal for official documents and functions.”

It’s a safe bet that the Governor wasn’t asked if the seal could be used for some campaign mail. This isn’t a big deal, but it’s funny considering that it was used on a mailer about ethics.

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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