Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 7, 2018

Sullivan’s Salvos     11/13/18

In this edition:

*Election Recap
*Election Thoughts
*Linn County
*Monday Morning Quarterbacks
*Did You Know?

*Election Recap
         Because you haven’t had enough politics yet (ha!) - let’s discuss the results from Tuesday! 

Iowa Governor: Republican incumbent Kim Reynolds doubled down on her disastrous privatization of Iowa Medicaid, and yet somehow it did not cost her. Democrat Fred Hubbell came close, but Reynolds will be Iowa’s Governor for the next 4 years. I won’t lie – this one hurts.

Other Statewide offices: Democrats had a strong group here, pushing Deidra DeJear for Secretary of State, Rob Sand for State Auditor, and Tim Gannon for Secretary of Agriculture. All the races were close, but unfortunately, only Sand was able to pull out a victory.

Iowa’s US House seats: In Iowa’s First District, Abby Finkenour defeated incumbent Rod Blum 50-47. We knew Iowa’s Third District was going to be close, and it did not disappoint. Cindy Axne defeated incumbent David Young 49-48. In Iowa’s Fourth District, racist Steve King fought off a tough challenge from JD Schloten to win 51-47. In our own Second District – the least dramatic – incumbent Congressman Dave Loebsack defeated Dr. Chistopher Peters by a 56-42 count.

US House seats nationally: As expected, Democrats reclaimed the US house. Was it a “wave”? I guess we all have our own definitions. But Democrats are now decisively in charge of one house of Congress.

US Senate seats nationally: The map was bad for Democrats, and it would have taken some minor miracles for them to get to 51 seats. Unfortunately, Democrats suffered some heartbreakingly close losses, and lost a couple of seats overall.

Iowa Senate: This was always going to be a reach. Much like the US Senate, the map gets much better for Iowa Dems in 2020. Meanwhile, there were some gains, some losses, and Democrats end up pretty much where they were before. Locally, Kevin Kinney held his seat. Joe Bolkcom rolled to victory, as did newcomer Zach Wahls. 

Iowa House: Woulda, coulda, shoulda… about 2000 more votes spread across various House races, and Dems control the House with 52 members. Instead, they will have to settle for a 46-54 deficit. (That is pending recounts.)

County offices: Democrats Pat Heiden and Janelle Rettig defeated Republican Phil Hemingway.

Other outcomes of note: Three red states voted to increase the minimum wage; it passed in all 3. Three red states voted to expand Medicaid; it passed in all 3. Three states voted on nonpartisan redistricting; it passed in two, with one too close to call. On a day where just a couple thousand votes decided the Florida Senate and Governor’s races, Floridians voted to return voting rights to 1.4 million felons (not including murderers and those convicted of sex crimes).

*Election Thoughts
         I am not prone to hyperbole when it comes to politics. I avoid words like “never,” “always,” and “ever”. But this year was different. I have said it before and I will say it again; the elections of 2018 were the most important elections in my lifetime.

         So how did we respond as Iowans and Americans? It was a mixed bag, I am afraid!

1.   For starters, congratulations and thanks to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office! Auditor Travis Weipert, Elections Deputy Carrie Nierling, and all the permanent and temporary staff did tremendous work!
2.   Same goes for the Eastside Dems organization! BRAVO!
3.   Turnout was unreal! In Johnson County, turnout approached Presidential numbers.
4.   Nationally and in Iowa, the number of close races was unbelievable! Race after race was decided by less than 2%. You have a lot of people elected without a strong “mandate”, if you will.
5.   Nationally, winning the House was really important.
6.   In Iowa, we needed to win either the House or the Governor, and we lost both. It will be interesting to see what institutions the Iowa GOP decides to attack the next two years.
7.   How in the world do Dems win ¾ House seats – one convincingly – and lose the Governorship? I still don’t understand it.
8.   Similarly, Democrats won nationally by over 9% - but lost Senate seats!
9.   It was the Year of the Woman! Female candidates did very well, regardless of party!
10.                I have heard some people say, “It doesn’t matter. Elections don’t change anything.” This is pure ignorance! More importantly, it is pure privilege! If you said this, odds are good you are an upper-middle-class white man.

*Linn County
Our neighbors to the north had a very interesting local election, and I am happy with the results.

Congratulations to Supervisors Ben Rogers, Stacey Walker, and Brent Oleson. I look forward to working with you all!

A sad note – because of the STUPID decision by Linn County voters to go from 5 Supervisors to 3, a really good man lost an important position.

Supervisor John Harris is a fine man, and a damn good Supervisor. He deserved better. Thanks for your service, John!

*Monday Morning Quarterbacks
         You know how this phrase got started…. It is easy to sit in judgment after the fact, and complain about what a quarterback (or coach) SHOULD have done. I am sometimes guilty of this; we all are.

But I see a big difference between a loyal fan questioning her team and a person who did nothing to support the cause. I may question something the Hawkeyes do, but my love of the Hawkeyes runs deep. I support them emotionally, financially, etc. and have my whole life. In my mind, I have paid my dues, and therefore earned the right to comment.

The elections are over, and it is time for the Monday Morning Quarterbacks of the political world to rear their ugly heads. Like the football variety, they seem to know what should have happened after the fact. 

Both Republicans and Democrats have plenty of these folks. They can tell you exactly what any given campaign SHOULD have done. 

So, my question to the MMQs: Did you make any calls? Did you knock any doors? Did you contribute any money? Did you write any letters? Did you pay your dues in any way?

The people who suffer most from the slings and arrows are the local political parties themselves. Apart from several temporary college-aged staff people, local political parties are made up of local people. They are volunteers. And yes, often they do not operate as well as they could. But you know what? Half the battle is showing up! Don’t like how your local party operates? Join it, and try to make some changes.

There is an old saying: “If you don’t vote, don’t complain”. I hate that cliché. Personally, I would amend that to, “If you don’t volunteer, don’t complain.” But in reality, neither saying is the law. As Americans, we are free to say just about anything we want. So get ready to listen to a whole bunch of people who should be quarterbacks and Presidents.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Beginning in January, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors will have a female majority for the first time in its’ history.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website- 

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