Monday, August 31, 2009

Iowa Nielsen Market Rankings

Iowans had better start having babies. know, the ones who send you those letters to get you to keep track of what tv shows you watch...they just came out with their rankings of local tv stations across the country. There are 210 "market sizes" with 210 being the smallest. New York remains the nation's largest market with about 7.5 million households. The bigger the market size, the more households to watch tv, and the more tv stations can charge advertisers. (And the more stations can pay its employees!)

Iowa markets are losing ground, since the state's population isn't growing fast enough. Here's the full report:

Here's the Iowa situation:

Des Moines #72. Down one spot. Honolulu passed up the capitol city since last year.
Cedar Rapids/Waterloo #88. Stayed the same, despite the flooding situation.
Quad Cities #99. Down two spots. Charleston, S.C. and El Paso are now ahead of the QC.
Sioux City #148. Up one.
Ottumwa #200. Stayed the same.

So, Iowans, cue up Barry White.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Iowans Want Health Care Focused on Lower Costs

Now, I could say something about AARP stealing my corn idea at the Iowa State Fair. But I won't:)

AARP had fair goers drop a kernel into jars to determine their top priority for health care reform. And it looks like the price is right...or the price isn't right in this case(Incidentally, "The Price is Right. Vote for Dave" was my slogan when I ran for student council in fifth grade, but lost to my friend, Doug. Yes, I'm still bitter, Doug, wherever you are!)

Here's the release from AARP:

DES MOINES - Aug. 26, 2009 – Iowa State Fair-goers overwhelmingly cast their kernels for lowering health care costs as the top reason they support health care reform, according to a “corn kernel” straw poll AARP conducted in the Varied Industries building at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 13-23.

Fairgoers dropped corn kernels into pickle jars to vote for their top two concerns: lowering costs, improving access, reducing costs of prescription drugs and strengthening Medicare.

At the fair’s end on Sunday, the “lower costs” jar had almost as many kernels as the other jars combined with a total of 16,900 kernels counted, vs. 8,600 kernels in the reducing costs of prescription drugs; 5,900 kernels in the strengthening Medicare; and 4,000 kernels in the improving access jars.

“While not scientific, our corn poll confirms what we’ve been hearing from our members across the state and across the country, that controlling cost is the most urgent need in health care reform,” said AARP Iowa State Director Bruce Koeppl.

AARP estimates that approximately 17,700 fairgoers age 18 and over participated in the “what’s at the heart of health care reform for you” vote during the fair. AARP volunteer State President Tony Vola of Des Moines, who was among the more than 80 Iowa AARP volunteers who staffed the booth during the 11 days of the fair, said the most often heard comment was, “we’ve sure got to do something.” “There’s no doubt about it, there is very strong interest in health reform and the primary concern is all about lowering costs,” Vola added.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

King Won't Run for Governor; Doesn't Want Primary for Grassley

Iowa Congressman Steve King told me he heard from hundreds of Iowans who wanted him to run for governor and hundreds of others who wanted him to stay in the U.S. House of Representatives. King decided to stay in the house. King was my guest on my Internet radio show, "Purple Matters". Here are a few other highlights from our conversation:

He didn't say he did or didn't want former Governor Terry Branstad to run again. But he said "it would be an act of complete altruism" if Branstad did run again.

He said has no plans to challenge Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in a primary next year and he doesn't want anyone else to run against Grassley either. Some conservatives don't like it that Grassley voted for the bank bailout plan or that he is trying to work on a compromise with Democrats on a health care plan.

He doesn't want Republicans to work with Democrats on health care reform. When I told him, Congressman Tom Latham, another Republican, said Congress had to pass bipartisan reform, he said he would want to talk to Latham about it. He did not think Latham would want to compromise Republican principles on reform. He added that he seldom confers with Latham on votes before them in Congress.

Later in the show I talked with Jeff Patch, from the Center for Competitive Politics. His group has a problem with something both Iowa Democrats and Republicans did in the past week.

Here's an archived version of "Purple Matters" (Thursdays at 4pm central on

Purple Matters

My Purple Matters Internet radio show is on the air Thursday at 4pm central. Listen/watch at

What do you think about the topics we discuss? Leave your comments here and I'll read them throughout the show. See you at 4pm!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Behn for Governor: What about Branstad for Governor?

On the day Republican Jerry Behn, a state senator and farmer from Boone, announced he was running for governor, much of the talk still focused on the Republican who still hasn't announced his plans. Here's what Jerry Behn said when I asked how would it affect him if Terry Branstad got into the race:

"Not really at this point in time".

I talked to virtually every other candidate/"almost candidate"/candidate's campaign Tuesday to measure the Branstad factor. Would it affect the candidacy if Branstad runs?

Based on the conversations...I would characterize their responses this way:

Doesn't Matter:
State Rep. Chris Rants
Cedar Rapids businessman Christian Fong
Sioux City businessman Bob Vander Plaats

Rep. Rod Roberts
Sen. Paul McKinley (both say they would evaluate whether Branstad was affecting their campaign after he entered the race)

Former GOP Chairman Mike Mahaffey--said hasn't made up mind whether to run yet
Former Sen. Jeff Lamberti did not return a call for comment

Behn for Governor

Tuesday, Republican Jerry Behn, a four-term state senator and farmer from Boone, announced he was running for governor. Another candidate this cycle already chose the non-traditional route to announce. Christian Fong announced via Twitter. Tuesday, Behn skipped a press conference, too. Instead, he spent 1 on 1 time with Iowa reporters to say why he was running.

Highlights from my conversation:

First thought about running in 2004. Backed out when Congressman Jim Nussle got into the race.
Decided to run this time after Governor Culver announced he wanted $800 million for bonding plan for infrastructure projects.
Wants statewide vote on ban on same-sex marriage.
"Not really at this point in time"--his response if a Terry Branstad candidacy would affect him.

Said Culver should call special session to deal with budget.

Culver's spokesman, Troy Price, responded with this response:

"The books for the previous fiscal year don’t close until the end of August, and so we won’t know what the final numbers are for FY09 until late September. We must wait until the books are closed next month before knowing whether a special session is even necessary. Governor Culver knows how the state’s finances work, as should be expected of any candidate running for governor."

It's on!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Republican Party Wants Ethics Board to Check Out Anti-Branstad Fliers

The Republican Party of Iowa Executive Director Jeff Boeyink told me that on Monday he plans to ask the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board to check out the mysterious group behind some fliers harshly criticizing former Governor Terry Branstad. Boeyink told me he has never heard of the group, Iowans for Truth and Honest Government. The group urges Branstad not to run again with unflattering words and phrases about his days in Terrace Hill. Boeyink told me, "The governor is not even a declared candidate." He added, "It shows a lot of people are concerned about his potential candidacy."

What do you think of the flier? Is all fair in "life, love and politics"? Or does this go too far?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dodd's Former Iowa Staffer Goes on Fox

I'm curious what you think about this... Does the Democrat during this debate get double-teamed? I watched it on the Fox News Channel this afternoon because Taylor West has Des Moines connections. She served as Senator Chris Dodd's communications director for the 2008 caucuses. What do you think of the interview...not the subject matter, just how the host handles it?

Anti-Branstad Fliers Appear on Des Moines Cars

So what person or what group is behind this? The line at the bottom says it's paid for by a group called "Iowans for Truth and Honest Government". I have yet to find anyone, Republican or Democrat, who has heard of this group. And I can't find it listed on the website of the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board.

Some neighbors who live near Des Moines Unversity got this flier on her car this morning and some of us also received one of these on our cars on the WHO-TV parking lot. To say it's an unflattering view of former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is an understatement. (Sorry I can't get this flier bigger on here. You know my technical limitations. But you should be able to click on it to enlarge it. Hopefully!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Burt Avoids OWI Trial?

It appears embattled State Rep. Kerry Burt has avoided his OWI trial that was supposed to start next Monday. (Update: Burt pleaded guilty) Iowa House Democrats released this statement on Burt's behalf. It mentions nothing of Burt's repeated comments about drinking with Governor Chet Culver that night.


"I wish to apologize to my family, colleagues, constituents, and all who
share Iowa's roads for my poor judgment in drinking and driving. There
is no one but me to blame for my foolish decision. Everyone who knows
me recognizes that this action was completely out of character, and I
will not allow it to happen again.

In the hope of setting the record straight so that all of us may move
forward, I will relay what happened that morning: While driving on I-35
my tire blew out, which caused my vehicle to swerve and hit a barrier.
After determining that no one was hurt, I cautiously drove with flashers
on to the nearest exit, where I knew I would find a convenience store at
which to park and wait for a ride.

In the parking lot was Officer Phinney, who I approached to report the
incident. He suspected that I had been drinking, and - following proper
police procedure - tested and subsequently arrested me. The officer
treated me with courtesy and respect and I applaud him for doing his

Contrary to a particular media depiction, I do not consider myself above
the law or deserving of any preferential treatment. I made a terrible
mistake and rightfully am paying a price. I hope this statement clears
up any confusion that has surrounded this incident since I have no
further comment on it. Instead, I wish to focus my energies on putting
together solid legislation that benefits the state and community to
which I am devoted."

Culver Confused about Green Building

Iowa Governor Chet Culver seemed to be confused about whose green paid for the new green building he helped unveil yesterday and Republicans are all over him about it. First, here's the story my colleague at Channel 13 Dan Winters did on the original incident. By the way, it was Lee Enterprises' Charlotte Eby who corrected the governor on the scene yesterday.

Republicans and Republican organizations forwarded this "tweet" around all morning on Twitter:

IowaSRCRT @jboeyink34:Watch a local reporter educate Governor Culver on how new state office building is actually funded:
TimAPalmerThe Big Lug steps in a pile of his own ignorance at the Utilities groundbreaking. Governor, you need a bigger shovel!
IowaGOPRT @jboeyink34: Watch local reporter educate Governor Culver on how new state office building is actually funded:
McKinleyforIowaRT @jboeyink34: Watch a local reporter educate Gov. Culver on how new state office building is actually funded:

and the The Iowa Progress Project posted this:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mystery Candidate

Some Iowa Democrats are whispering about a "mystery candidate" who will take on Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley next year. Two Democrats have already announced plans to do that: former legislators Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen. But some activists are talking about another candidate who is a lot better known and potentially better financed than Krause/Fiegen. But who is this mystery candidate?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Many questions...

My wife and I are getting ready to head out Monday on my first-ever trip out of the country. We will fly to Paris for a few days, then take a train to Venice, where we'll spend about a week on a tour of Italy. Can't wait! So I doubt I will have much access to the blog for a while. I leave you with some questions that I have in my head, wondering how many, if any, will get answered by the time I get back in two weeks. Here we go...

Will Terry Branstad announce he will run again for Governor of Iowa?
Will any Republicans thinking about running decide against it, because of Branstad?
Will the Iowa State Fair break last year's attendance record, thanks to staycations?
Or will the crummy economy keep out-of-staters away and keep Iowans away from Des Moines?
Will a possible 2012 presidential candidate announce plans to visit the Iowa State Fair?
Will Waterloo State Rep. Kerry Burt get charged in the tuition scandal at the Price Lab at UNI?
Will he resign his position in the legislature?
Will any Democrats call for his resignation?
Will the Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan say anything about the Burt situation?
Will President Obama acknowledge he will raise taxes on the middle class to pay for his health care reform or will it turn out advisers just raised that possibility to make people feel better when he doesn't do that?
Will Congress reach some agreement on health care reform?
Will my Cardinals still be at the top of the standings?
Which will I like more...France or Italy:)

See you in two weeks.