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This weeks Civic Skinny - Blouin vs. Culver - Vilsack vs. everyone [View All]

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Debi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-08-06 11:49 AM
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This weeks Civic Skinny - Blouin vs. Culver - Vilsack vs. everyone
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The finger pointing continues in the race to see which Democrat, Mike Blouin or Chet Culver, will run against likely Republican candidate Jim Nussle for Iowa governor. Last week a top state source told us that Blouin's only way back in the race would be to go negative, and lo and behold, his campaign did exactly that by pointing out that Culver had received $40,000 from a questionable source - Scott Ginsburg, who was fined $1 million for violating insider trading rules. Just one problem, though: Culver's group was able to, in the same 24-hour period, fight back by pointing out that Blouin had received a $25,000 contribution from Bernard L. Schwartz, whose company paid $20 million in connection with a federal probe into its dealings with the Chinese military. "Nice bomb," a Culver insider said. "Too bad it blew up in their face. Of course, if I was $500,000 behind in cash-on-hand and still couldn't figure out, as a Democrat, a straight answer on the abortion issue, I'd look at the numbers and say my best option was to run a desperate and negative effort to destroy the frontrunner, too." Our statehouse source from last week's issue pointed out again that these types of "games" will weaken the ticket in the fall.

In other news regarding the Democratic side of the gubernatorial race, a few statehouse leaders have begun to wonder out loud why staffers in the Secretary of State's office are showing up on Culver's campaign disclosure statement. A total of 24 reimbursements paid to Joni Klaassen, Scott Ourth and John Hedgecoth, all on the state payroll, were made by Culver's committee. "We know they have day jobs," a legislator said. "And working on Chet's campaign while being paid by Iowa taxpayers is not it." Hedgecoth was reprimanded for campaign violations in both 2003 and 2004.

Campaigns of other Democratic presidential hopefuls not named Tom Vilsack have been showing increasing distress over the Iowa Democratic Party's obvious pro-Vilsack tilt ever since former Vilsack aide Mike Milligan took over as executive director and Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson took over as state chair, a top national source told us. Even though party policies explicitly prohibit state party staff from taking sides in primaries or presidential caucuses, the latest report from Vilsack's Heartland PAC shows that it purchased a $2,500 laptop computer for Mike Milligan (doing business as Milligan Consulting). "How can John Edwards and Hilary Clinton or other prospective candidates expect a level playing field in Iowa, and why would they even bother attending our caucuses, if the party bigwigs won't play by the rules?"


A top statewide Republican said, "You could almost hear Dusky Terry's campaign for secretary of agriculture come to a screeching halt at the candidates' debate put on by WHO Radio at the Iowa Power Farm Show." Terry benefited heavily when his former boss, Gov. Vilsack, literally forced two other Democrats out of the race. But when Terry was asked about specific programs he'd start or eliminate, he could only say he has ideas, and "programs will be developed in the future." "People have been thinking this is the guy to beat," said one political operative at the debate. Now, we're told, Republicans are taking a harder look at how much to invest in the race. CV

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