Greetings from Swingtown! Iowa is one of those few states on that electoral map usually colored white, yellow, gray, or purple. Thanks to that distinction we get way more attention than we probably need but what the heck, if it means the President of the United States holds his last campaign stop ever right here in Des Moines, we will take it.
A few election day observations from the tall corn state below the fold...
Obama's Final Campaign Stop:
This has already been written about but here are a couple of the details from someone who got to attend...
- Crowd size was stated at around 20,000 people on a chilly late Iowa evening....compare that to the mere 4,400 who attended a Romney rally inside on Sunday and it appears there is an enthusiasm gap for Mittens here in Iowa.
- Lots and lots of kids attended the rally. Lots of diversity.
- Yes, Barack did tear up.
- Very cool background for the speech, right behind Barack was his original Iowa campaign HQ.
What's At Stake Here In Iowa?
- Presidential swing vote....duh.
- 4 Congressional races with our fingers crossed that we may be able to rid the world of the cretinous Steve King and replace him with Christie Vilsack. Worst case scenario, a split of two Dems and two Repubs going to the House of Reps....best case 4 Dems + our Dem Senator Harkin = Poor Chuckie Grassley is the last Repub from Iowa in D.C.
- HUGE state legislative election. Our state senate is currently in control of Democrats by the thinnest of margins (26-24). In this election there are 11 Repubs not up for election, 4 unchallenged Repubs, 13 Dems not up for election, and 1 unchallenged Dem. That leaves 31 seats up for grabs with 3 challenged Repub incumbents, 8 challenged Dem incumbents, 9 seats with no incumbent, and one district with two incumbents thrown together after redistricting. Why is our state senate so important? Because our house of reps is controlled by the Republicans and probably will be with a shrinking majority and our governor is a Republican who has mentioned his admiration for Scott Walker and Chris Christie and would love to gut our public employee unions. This will be a huge election for labor in this state!
- We also have judicial retention elections in Iowa for our Supreme Court justices. Several years ago our state supreme court ruled that gay marriage had to be legal in Iowa based on our constitution. Since then a well funded group of evangelical crazies led by an attention seeking jerk by the name of Bob Vanderplaats has been working in each judicial retention election to remove supreme court judges who voted in favor of that ruling. In 2010 they removed several of those justices including the chief justice and are gunning for more this year. Of course it doesn't change the fact that gay marriage will still be legal in the state but logic and reason has never been a strong point for our fundies.
There is our state in a nutshell. Today is a gray, chilly, rainy day but then 42% of Iowa voters have already cast their ballots thanks to our generous early voting rules. Stay tuned for updates this evening!