Iowa Statewide elections, 2006

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This article discusses the elections for Iowa's statewide offices in 2006. It has been updated to reflect the results of the primary on June 6, 2006.


Governor - Open Seat

  • Incumbent: Tom Vilsack (D) - Leaving office after two terms.
  • General Election
    • Democrat - Chet Culver (D) - Secretary of State (cw)
    • Republican - Jim Nussle (R) - Congressman (cw)
    • Green - Wendy S. Barth (G)
    • Libertarian - Kevin Litten (Lib)
    • Socialist Workers - Mary J. Martin (SW)
    • Results: Culver won, 54-44.
    • Outlook: Culver won a tough 3-way primary. Culver has publically pledged to raise Iowa's minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour. He supports a $100 million program to invest in renewable energy. He has also proposed investing some of Iowa's public employees retirement fund in new businesses within Iowa. Nussle said that he would sign a near-total ban on abortions.
    • A secret plan? During their final debate, Nussle said "There's a secret plan out there to either reinstate TouchPlay (a video-slot machine), or, for that matter, for a secret settlment." Culver flatly denied this absurd allegation. Source: Des Moines Register", Oct. 22, 2006.
    • Debates: Culver and Nussle will have three debates: Oct. 2 in Cedar Rapids, Oct. 16 in Davenport and Oct. 21 in Des Moines.
  • Primary Election
    • Democratic Candidates:
      • Mike Blouin State Director of Economic Development and Fmr. US Rep. (cw) 34% in primary
      • Chet Culver Secretary of State (cw) Won primary with 39%
      • Ed Fallon State Rep. (cw) 26% in primary
      • Sal Mohamed Engineer (cw) 1% in primary
    • Republican Candidates:
    • Primary Analysis: Culver won by building on his name ID, and running a positive TV campaign. He got 10% margins in the state's rural counties, but didn't do as well in the cities. Culver won in Waterloo, but Blouin dominated Iowa City and Dubuque, and Fallon won Ames and greater Des Moines (where Blouin finished third). Blouin wasn't able to convert his endorsements into a statewide ground game, and he blundered in the final week by using paid phone canvasers who spoke English with heavy accents.
    • Primary Outlook:
      • On the Democratic side, Blouin has been endorsed by 60 of 74 Democratic state legislators, as well as many county officials and labor groups. He also has the not-very-secret support of outgoing Governor Vilsack. His pro-life views, however, are controversial, but he has promised not to support any change to current state law. Culver is very well known, and he has raised the most money, but he raised eyebrows by calling for Iowa to reinstate the death penalty. Fallon is the most progressive candidate; although some are mad that he supported Nader in 2000.
      • On the Republican side, Nussle has good name recognition and fundraising, but he was tarnished by the DeLay corruption scandal, and his personal life has been messy. In late Jan. 2006, Nussle lost a big financial backer, William Krause, because he called for removing all of the state's new video lottery machines.
      • On March 2, Blouin announced that Dr. Andrea McGuire would be his running mate. She is a pro-choice medical doctor from Des Moines.
      • On February 22, Bob Vander Plaats withdrew from the Governor's race to endorse Nussle and become his running mate. Vander Plaats is very popular among social conservatives.
      • On February 21, the Iowa Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Nussle, alleging that he used funds from his Congressional campaign committee to support his bid for Governor without proper disclosure. On March 30, the IECDB voted to conduct an investigation.
        • IDP Files Ethics Complaint - external link
      • On February 15, Patty Judge withdrew from the Democratic primary and endorsed Chet Culver. In turn, Culver said that Judge would be his Lt. Gov.
      • Endorsements (as of May 28, 2006):
        • Blouin - Iowa Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), SEIU Local 199, IBEW, AFSCME, RWDSU Local 110, CWA, Steelworkers, Teamsters, CR/IC, SE Iowa, Tri-City, Dubuque and Waterloo Building Trades Councils, and Iowa Atty. Gen. Tom Miller, Des Moines Register.
        • Culver - Des Moines Building Trades Council, Machinists, United Transportaion Union, UAW, Planned Parenthood, Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Patty Judge.
        • Fallon - DFA, Iowa City Press-Citizen.
      • Live blog of the ISU candidate forum on April 3rd - Drew Miller
    • This will be a very close race all the way to the finish.

Secretary of Agriculture - Open Seat

  • Incumbent: Patty Judge (D) - Leaving office to run for Lt. Gov.
  • Democrat Denise OBrien (D) - farmer and executive director of the Women Food and Agriculture Network.
  • Republican Bill Northey (R)
  • Results: Northey won, 51-49.
  • Outlook: The main issue is local control of large hog confinements, which are a growing blight in nearly every county. Out-of-state meat packers and their allies in the Farm Bureau have usually gotten their way on this issue, but public sentiment is turning against them. O'Brien favors local control, while Northey supports the current scheme of loose state-level regulation. O'Brien lost local support because of a fund raising event she held at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. The Farm Bureau also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on last-minute negative ads that sunk O'Brien's campaign. Northey has invested over $750,000 in Brazilian soybean production. O'Brien has been endorsed by Emily's List. Republican candidate Karey Claghorn withdrew and endorsed Bill Northey, who won the primary.
  • Other primary candidates - Dusky Terry (D), Mark Leonard (R).
  • Summary of the issues: A Debate over Livestock, Rural Life - Des Moines Register, August 21, 2006.

Secretary of State - Open Seat

  • Incumbent: Chet Culver (D) - Leaving office to run for Governor.
  • Democratic Candidate: Michael A. Mauro (D) - Polk County Auditor
  • Republican Candidate: Mary Ann Hanusa (R)
  • Results: Mauro won, 54-46.
  • Outlook: Likely Democratic, although Mauro has been indirectly involved in the CIETC scandal. Chuck Allison defeated Robert Dopf in the Republican primary, but then withdrew on July 26th, probably because of a nasty lawsuit from a former business partner.
  • External Articles:
    • Pate eyeing Sec. of State race

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