Iowa’s 2022 Campaigns Haven’t Truly Started

Small yet mighty turnout of Democrats at the July 17, 2021 Solon Beef Days parade in Johnson County.

The deputy chief of staff to Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks was recently bragging on Twitter, “When you got $1.17 million in the bank and no democrat opponent.” With it he posted an image of an apparently happy, but not smiling congresswoman.

Not so fast buckaroo! There will be opponents… and money.

If you’ve been following along, there are currently only two declared Democratic candidates for statewide office in Iowa: David Muhlbauer for U.S. Senate and Ras Smith for Governor. Others are kicking the tires on runs for congress, senate and governor, but until the districts are defined–hopefully in September–a lot is up in the air. For the time being Muhlbauer and Smith have the Democratic playing field to themselves. One hopes they are taking advantage of their early entry into the 2022 campaign.

If I were a Republican, I’d say the current districts, with a few tweaks to even out population growth, could serve. We became a Republican state with these districts. There is no evidence they want that or are planning anything but accepting the first map from the Legislative Services Agency. Republicans are also good at keeping secrets, so who knows? What they do shall be revealed.

To fill the absence of campaigns, I walk in parades where it makes sense, write letters to the editor and blog posts, and try to support the county party from a distance in my Republican pocket of Iowa’s most Democratic county. I donate a small, monthly amount to the Iowa Democratic Party and get no further than the state borders with my donations.

I could speculate about potential campaigns but what would be the point? After the drubbing we took in 2020, it seems best for Democrats to keep our powder dry until we know something. As we get through redistricting, and the rest of this post-pandemic summer, we’ll find out where we are heading. I’m okay with periodic gaps in the action.

This morning I opened my father’s King James Bible and found the well read passage from Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” We’ll be casting off the tweets of Miller-Meeks’ staff. Democrats have to work smarter because, as Alexander Pope put it in the 18th Century, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

Democrats can’t afford to be fools in 2022.

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