Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 9, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     11/11/14

In this edition:

*Veteran’s Day
*Election Results
*Homeless Children’s Trust
*Did You Know?

*Veteran’s Day
         Happy Veteran’s Day on November 11. Thanks to all the men and women who have served our country. I appreciate your service, and wish you peace.

         Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 is sponsoring an Armistice Day Observance to be held on Tuesday, November 11th at the Clinton St. entrance to Old Capitol, Iowa City. Gather @ 10:30AM. Bells will be rung @ 11:00 AM, as they were rung around the world at the end of WWI in 1918 and on each November 11th for decades thereafter. Armistice Day is a day to promote peace and to remember the victims of war, both veterans and civilians. The event will feature Veterans for Peace from throughout the state of Iowa. The event is free, and the public is welcome. Co-sponsored by PEACE Iowa. For more information contact John Jadryev at 430-2019.

*Election Results
         The elections of 2014 are complete. Thanks to Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert, Elections Deputy Kingsley Botchway, and everyone in their office for all their hard work. My thoughts on several races appear below:

US Senate: Iowa has not had a new Senator in 32 years. This election was HUGE. Joni Ernst defeated Bruce Braley, 52-44, to become the first Iowa woman to hold Federal office. I tip my hat… while I disagree with Senator-elect Ernst on virtually every issue of any importance, I credit her with running an excellent campaign.

On the national scene, the GOP seized control of the US Senate. Will that matter? Time will tell.

US House: Congressman Loebsack is prohibited from ever emailing me again. EVER. (Just kidding.) The Congressman campaigns with a great deal of energy and a great deal of urgency, and it works. Loebsack defeated Marianette Miller Meeks for the third time, 53-47.

In District One, businessman Rod Blum defeated longtime Iowa House member Pat Murphy 51-49. As Congressman Braley’s current District, this has to be viewed as one of the Iowa Democratic Party’s biggest disappointments. Murphy only got 52.5% in his home county of Dubuque, which really sealed his fate.

In District Three, David Young defeated Staci Appel surprisingly easily, 53-43. And in District Four, Steve King won handily over Jim Mowrer.

Governor: Polls always showed Governor Branstad well ahead of challenger Jack Hatch, and that held true. I saw this firsthand while door knocking in Johnson County. There were a surprising number of voters supporting both Braley and Branstad. The Governor outpolled Hatch statewide, 59-37. I think the lack of a competitive Governor’s race had a bit of an effect on the rest of the state, and probably really helped Joni Ernst.

Secretary of State: I was hoping this would be a simple referendum on voting. Do we want to make it easier, or harder? Unfortunately, Iowans chose harder, with Pate winning 48-47. Now we have a HUGE voter ID fight on our hands.

Iowa Senate: Democrats entered Election Day with a 26-24 lead, and emerged with the same. Much of this is owed to local victor Kevin Kinney, who won District 39 by a 56-44 margin. I’m really excited about Senator-elect Kinney. Kevin is a really good guy who fits that District to a “T”. He worked his tail off, and it paid dividends.

I don’t mean to downplay the election of our first new Senator in 32 years, but one can argue that control of the Iowa Senate was the most important thing on the ballot last night. Lose just two, and we are looking at Wisconsin-style results. By maintaining the 26-24 edge, Democrats have a firewall.

Iowa House: The only contested seat in our area saw David Johnson challenging incumbent Bobby Kaufmann. Representative Kaufmann cruised to an easy victory.

Board of Supervisors: This election was pretty unique; there had not been an incumbent Republican in 50 years. John Etheredge was that Republican, facing fellow incumbent Janelle Rettig and her fellow Democratic nominee Mike Carberry.

There were some strange bedfellows here – I knew several people who voted Etheredge/Rettig and several others who voted Etheredge/Carberry. But in the end, sheer numbers won out, and the Democrats carried the day. Carberry was the top vote getter at 30,010 (57%); Rettig a close second at 29,376 (56%); and Etheredge outperformed the voter registration numbers and pulled in 20,276, 39% of the vote.

North Liberty: The North Liberty City Council brought this on themselves. In a town full of young mothers, they dismissed all the young mothers who applied for the open Council position. They ignored their gender and age imbalances. They said the only “experience” that matters is city government experience. It came across as arrogant and condescending. So the young mothers decided to take matters into their own hands and run for the open seats. One of them, Annie Pollock, stepped into the open council seat unchallenged.

In the Mayoral race, young mother Amy Nielsen challenged incumbent Gerry Kuhl. There were some fireworks here – Kuhl accused Nielsen of electioneering; others felt Kuhl was attempting to bully Nielsen. In the end, Nielsen pulled the upset, 55-45.

Solon: Kevin Samek had spent several years on the Solon Council previously – Steve Duncan had only lived in town 5 years, but had already served a partial term on the council. This flew under the radar, with Duncan winning handily.

LOST: I am philosophically opposed to any tax that hurts the poor more than the rich. If you want me to support such a tax, you need to spend most of the money in a progressive manner. The LOST proposal never met my standards. Some normally pro-government folks like me joined a bunch of people who are against ALL taxes, and the LOST was defeated, 54-46 in the urban voting bloc. Hills, Lone Tree, Solon, Swisher, and West Branch all passed the LOST.

Courthouse Annex: The jail was NOT on the ballot. Would that matter? A majority of voters still wanted an improved Courthouse facility, but this takes 60% to pass. It is quite ironic – on a night full of close results, the 58-42 margin was one of the biggest of the evening. But 58% is not enough. So the Courthouse failed.

Turnout: Johnson County had its second-largest midterm turnout ever, just behind 2010. But those are midterm turnout numbers; Democrats needed number closer to a Presidential year.

Moving forward – if someone figures out how to get Democratic voters to turn out every election, she will RULE THE WORLD!

National Thoughts: Scott Walker just became the favorite for the GOP Presidential nomination. Look for Tim Scott as a potential VP. On the Democratic side, it still appears to be all Hillary… perhaps the only bigger lock is Julian Castro for VP.

Final Impressions: The opposite party always does well in year 6 of any administration. And Democrats were defending some tough territory. So we knew this was going to be difficult.

I felt that Democrats ran away from the President and ran away from their base at their peril. Why not run a race of which you will be proud? That way, even if you lose, you can stand tall. Obamacare is a great accomplishment – stand behind it! Can it be better? Certainly. So stand behind the legislation, and be specific about the things you will change.

The media helped a LOT in this case – how many times did you hear about Obama’s “unpopularity”? In actuality, Obama has a higher approval rating than Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, of George W. Bush did at the same time in year 6 of their Presidencies. Additionally, his approval rating is double that of Congressional Dems, and four times that of Congressional Republicans! But that is not the narrative you heard.

But we move on. Win, lose, or draw, we always move on. So I am curious – what are your thoughts?

*Homeless Children’s Trust
The 2014 Homeless Children’s Trust Christmas Shopping & Party is coming up on December 6, and many donations are needed by Monday, December 1st.

         Among the items needed: Toys (ages 0-17); Stuffed Animals; Caps, Gloves, Mittens, and Scarves; Puzzles, Books and Games (ages 0-17); Toiletry items for teenagers.

You can drop items off at: Hills Banks in Coralville and on S. Gilbert St; Big K Mart, Senior Center, GEICO Insurance; KCJJ, KXIC, all Walgreen’s locations, all Core Fitness locations, and all HACAP Service Centers.


*DID YOU KNOW?  Johnson County’s largest turnout ever was the 2012 Presidential election, which saw 76,199 voters cast ballots, an 83% turnout. Those numbers were 73,231 and 80% in 2008.

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

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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