Living in Society

Brief Political Briefing

Jackie Norris in Coralville, Iowa Feb. 1, 2018

Jackie Norris spoke on behalf of her husband, Iowa gubernatorial candidate John Norris, last night at the Johnson County Democrats central committee meeting.

In terms of political star quality, Norris’ light was brighter than anyone else in the room. A long-time and well known political operative, she served as Michelle Obama’s first White House chief of staff.

Her connections with the group were deep, revisiting the 1984 presidential campaign of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a host of others during her ten minute speech. I re-read our correspondence from 2008 for this post and was reminded how persistent, diligent and professional she was then and still is.  I’ve often thought she should be running for governor instead of her husband.

There were more political speeches than usual at the last central committee meeting before the group is re-elected at Monday’s Iowa caucus.

Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear spoke. She seemed credible and was very well-spoken. Already I like her better than perennial candidate Jim Mowrer who announced for Secretary of State first. She seemed so fresh, and alive last night. Just what Democrats need going into the midterms.

All three announced candidates for State Senate District 37 spoke to the group. Their names are Eric Dirth, Zach Wahls and Janice Weiner. As mentioned previously, I’m with Wahls, but Weiner gave the strongest speech in the room.

The question no one is asking about the Iowa Democratic gubernatorial race is will Fred Hubbell continue to donate to Iowa Democratic candidates if he loses the primary? In 2014, he was the largest single donor to Jack Hatch’s gubernatorial campaign at $75,000. During the last 16 years, he gave $550,885 to Democratic candidates, according the the campaign finance website Follow the Money. While I don’t hear people talking about this aspect of the Hubbell campaign, it’s an idea I’m putting out there. I suspect candidates are treading water on this. They want to win the primary but in a midterm cycle, general election campaign money will be more difficult to raise. Donors like Hubbell will be needed more than ever.

I continue to have laryngitis so I quarantined myself in the back of the room. By the end of the meeting, a number of people joined me in back. I guess that means politics is contagious.