It’s getting to the point that cheap tricks and voter suppression are the only tools that Republicans have to consistently win elections. Take the upcoming special election for the Iowa State Senate, for example. Democratic State Sen. Jeff Danielson resigned in mid-February, triggering a special election in the state’s 30th State Senate district. Newly elected Gov. Kim Reynolds decided to schedule it on March 19th, which just so happens to coincide with the University of Northern Iowa’s spring break.
Here’s a breakdown of just why she did that, via Bleeding Heartland:
Normally, governors are required to give at least 45 days’ notice of a special election to fill a seat in the Iowa House or Senate. But because this vacancy arose during the legislative session, state law says “the governor shall order such special election at the earliest practical time, giving at least eighteen days’ notice.” Reynolds could have set the vote for March 12, but she picked the following Tuesday.
UNI is a huge presence in the district, and Reynolds’ decision to schedule the election earlier than necessary will effectively stop many students from voting. That’s a huge blow to Democratic nominee Eric Giddens, who is a member of the Cedar Falls School Board and has made supporting public education one of his main campaign priorities.
But if Giddens does win, it will mean that the district will finally be represented by a real Democrat, as Danielson, who could have avoided this whole ordeal by resigning a week later, had been on bad terms with the party for years. And Black Hawk County has long voted for Democrats, including Hillary Clinton in 2016 and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Fred Hubbell.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania:
The next few months will be quite busy for campaign activists in PA, with races at all levels of government. The resignation of US Rep. Tom Marino triggered a special election in the state’s 12th House district, where Republicans will try to hold on to what is a pretty red seat. Marino won the district 66-34 just last November, but as we saw in Conor Lamb’s special election win in PA-18, anything can happen when there’s no incumbent in a low-turnout race.
Democrats have nominated Marc Friedenberg, the Penn State professor who was the party’s candidate last fall. Friedenberg spoke with Progressives Everywhere last winter and came off as a thoughtful progressive, and upon earning the nomination again, he’s come out in favor of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. His area of academic expertise has also made him a strong proponent of regulating Silicon Valley. The election is scheduled for May 21.
There will be several special elections in the legislature, as well, and they’re each crucial as Democrats work to position themselves to flip each chamber in 2020. Democrats have chosen retired Navy Officer Pam Iovino as their nominee in the race to represent State Senate District 37. This is a prime flip opportunity, as it sits in the slowly blueing western PA suburbs, smack in the district represented by Conor Lamb. The election is on April 2.
In the state House of Representatives, Democrats will be fighting to hold District 114, an Obama-Trump district that was left unoccupied by the death of Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich. In a true microcosm of the two parties, Democrats nominated a nurse, Bridget Malloy Kosierowski, whole Republicans are backing a dunce pizza-gater named Frank Scavo, whose main news source is InfoWars. The election is on March 12th.