Iowa’s 2018 Governor Race

Terrace Hill, Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons

It seems too early to be talking about the 2018 Governor’s race. However, people are politically active and there is a gaggle of candidates.

I have no preference today and assume they are all serious about their campaigns. Here’s my first look at the race.

I favor Corbett over Reynolds on the Republican side because I know and worked with him during my transportation career. I heard him speak in 2015 at the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Cedar Rapids. He did some good things after the 2008 flood devastated downtown Cedar Rapids. Because he’s still got an R behind his name, that pretty much disqualifies him for me in the general election.

On the Democratic side I’m not sure who’s who. Here’s the ones that are running or considering a run in no particular order.

I know the two women best.

This is Andy McGuire’s second bite at the gubernatorial apple (2006 being the other). Her recent tenure as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party should disqualify her for two reasons: over reliance on national campaigns for funding IDP operations, and for running an imperceptible 2016 campaign in my precinct and the ones around me where Trump won. She seems a bit tone deaf to be running again.

I like Cathy Glasson from past associations, mostly with John Edwards’ 2008 campaign. She is like most SEIU leaders I’ve met in that when she gets behind something she puts her all into it. When she says something, she means it and her policies have a lot to like. Mostly she is about the struggle working people face — with a asterisk next to “working people” indicating “strong union” in the definition. I imagine she was pissed when Governor Chet Culver would not support the union agenda. Women I know tell me they don’t see any Democratic women being able to win as governor. I don’t know, but I like her.

There’s also some men.

John Norris has the resume to be governor, but I’d rather his spouse Jackie were the nominee. I suspect his political chops will play well in the areas Chet Culver won.

Jon Niederbach’s campaign tagline is “Bold New Leadership Not Beholden To Any Special Interest.” He’s been president of the Des Moines School Board, and a former board member of Proteus, an organization that provides medical services to migrant workers. Proteus gave me a lot of insight when I was on the county board of health. I’m not sure people outside Des Moines have heard of him, so he will need to work hard on a steep hill to gain name recognition.

A number of Iowa legislators support State Senator Nate Boulton in the primary. First elected to the legislature in 2016, he’s a political newcomer who gained prominence in the first session of the 87th Iowa General Assembly. He argued diligently for Democratic positions and the governor’s office needs that kind of person. Just because he’s popular among legislators, doesn’t mean he’s ready for prime time.

Todd Prichard is from my home town and is now a state representative from Charles City. He announced for governor May 16, then last week headed for Bulgaria in the National Guard. Other than his military service, I’m not sure what distinguishes him from the pack.

Fred Hubbell is a retired business executive whose family founded Equitable of Iowa. If any among the candidates is a household name, he is. The Hubbell family donated Terrace Hill to be the governor’s mansion, and his family have been significant donors to numerous causes, including the 2008 flood recovery, United Way, Planned Parenthood, and the Iowa Democratic Party among others. He announced last week and hasn’t held political office. Hubbell is expected to have few financial hurdles in the governor’s race. Rep. Mary Mascher’s endorsement of Hubbell means a lot.

Finally, former Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn is exploring a run for governor. He lives in Ames and little has been posted in media about the progress of his candidacy. Wilburn’s name recognition is less than Niederbach.

A lot is at stake for Democrats in the 2018 governor’s race. Here’s what Johnson County’s Sue Dvorsky had to say:

“We will be a dangerous group of people with nothing to lose. We will be unleashed,” Dvorsky told the Des Moines Register. “We’re gonna win this time, or we’re going down for 40 years.”

Truer words Ms. Dvorsky has never spoken.

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