Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson was elected chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party Saturday. Pederson says her top goal is to ensure that all the people who were involved in the Democratic Party in the 2004 election remain “engaged and active” in the party. Pederson takes the party reigns amidst an intra-party feud. Backers of John Kerry have complained that money from the Democratic National Committee was misdirected to legislative races in Iowa by Jean Hessburg, former Iowa Democratic Party executive director who resigned last month. Pederson says there’s an audit underway, but it’s time to move on. She says party leaders like herself are focused on building the party, from the grassroots up, to win the next election. In the 2004 election, John Kerry got about 100-thousand more votes in Iowa than Al Gore did in 2000, but republicans had a better voter turn-out effort and President Bush carried the state by 10-thousand votes over Kerry. “We’ve got to look at the election results, county-by-county, precinct-by-precinct, and make some determinations about where we need to change our strategy,” Pederson says. Pederson, who is in her second term as Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor, said in November that she would not run for governor in 2006. Pederson did not hold political office before 1998. She left her job as food editor at Meredith Corporation to become a full-time mother to her autistic son and became active in community and civic groups.
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