Iowa Democrats energized, throw a few elbows at each other –

Iowa Democrats energized, throw a few elbows at each other


December 2, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. | Print view

DES MOINES – Donors and activists spoke loud and clear: the Iowa Democrats are irritated.

The annual fundraiser of the Democratic Party of Iowa attracted approximately 3,000 last Monday to Des Moines. The State Party President, Troy Price, said that in the last decade, only the presidential caucus events in 2007 and 2015 were more successful in terms of attendance and fundraising.

Perhaps as significant as the money raised was the enthusiasm exhibited inside the Iowa Events Center.

The crowd was strident and vocal. When all the candidates for 2018 of the party – for governor, congressman and other state offices – were presented immediately, the ovation was resounding.

While the 2018 elections – and the Iowa Democrats' first opportunity to get off the mat after consecutive electoral coups – are still almost a year away, this event showed that at this point they are motivated.

"It was a great event, it was a great demonstration of the energy and enthusiasm that Democrats have out there," Price said a couple of days after the event during an interview in his office. "I think, in general, people came out of that room feeling that the Democratic Party is coming back, the Democratic Party is strong and the Democratic Party is on track for victory next year."

One-sided – the crowd, of course, does not guarantee the nightly success of the election 12 months later. But at least, the event was rebaduring for the Democrats who hoped to bottle up the energy that first soared last spring in the form of mbadive crowds in protests, marches, town halls and forums.

"People were depressed after the elections, they were angry after the first part of this year, and now they are on and activated in the fall of this year and in 2018," Price said. "I think they're going to keep seeing the energy grow."

A desire to stop the electoral wave in Iowa and Washington: Republicans have been the big winners in three of the last four elections, both in Iowa and in the nation – and an opportunity to break the GOP's hold on the state Capitol in 2018 they are feeding the Iowa Democrats these days, and what kept the decibel meter busy at last week's event.

Each of the seven Democratic gubernatorial candidates spoke, on what will likely be their last chance to address so many Democrats in one place until a possible main debate series sometime next year. Some of the campaigns took the opportunity, like others in the past, of Democratic fundraising, to show the strength of their organization so far.

The campaigns of Nate Boulton and Fred Hubbell dominated the scene. Although their campaigns were not the only ones making noise, they were definitely the loudest, and they bought the most tables at the event.

The Boulton team showed "Run with Nate" in lights, hit with their plastic thunder sticks and sang with moments in Boulton's speech.

Hubbell supporters came dressed in T-shirts and green lights, and they also had an illuminated display of Hubbell's name.

Andy McGuire's followers had also lit "Andy" signs, and Cathy Glbadon's supporters made choreographed chants during their remarks.

Some of the observations contained the first indications that elbows were launched in the main campaign. Boulton said he was the first to face the agenda of former Gov. Terry Branstad during the 2017 legislative session, and his union supporters held spoons during Hubbell's speech, an apparent reference to Hubbell's education in a wealthy Des Moines family. .

John Norris said during his speech that elementary school will not be earned by buying tables at fundraising events, a pretty clear reference to the Boulton and Hubbell campaigns.

There's a lot at stake for the Iowa Democrats in 2018, and there's a lot of energy in the game right now, as the night showed.

In many ways, the Democratic Party of Iowa was the biggest winner on Monday night. For the party, the next challenge awaits: converting that energy into electoral success.

"The energy that is right now is so raw and so real," said Price. "There is so much energy out there, we make sure to channel it as effectively as possible."

Erin Murphy covers the politics and government of Iowa. Her email address is

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