Iowa Democratic Party chairman Michael Kiernan is delivering a message to Democrats unhappy with a handful of Democrats in the Iowa House who blocked union-backed bills this past spring. Last spring the head of the Iowa Federation of Labor said he hoped labor-friendly candidates would emerge to challenge those six moderate Democrats in primaries next June, but party chairman Kiernan says no to that idea.
“I’m going to be very clear here today,” Kiernan said on IPTV’s “Iowa Press” program. “First off, let me tell you: I grew up in an Irish-Catholic family, so my brothers and I used to beat each other up all the time, but…at the end of the day, we’re family…The Iowa Democratic Party does not support ‘primarying.’ We’re going to protect our incumbents.”
Governor Culver earned the ire of labor leaders in 2008 when he vetoed a bill long-sought by unions. This past spring six Democrats in the Iowa House refused to vote in favor of four bills that were priorities for the labor movement, but Kiernan says the Democratic Party will back all six in their bids for reelection in 2010.
“If there are some that are unhappy about that, well then, that’s tough,” Kiernan said. “But we are family and we’re going to stick together.”
A state representative from eastern Iowa is being paid over $20,000 by the Iowa Federation of Labor to recruit labor-friendly candidates around the state, but Representative Elesha Gayman, a Democrat from Davenport, told The Des Moines Register she’s not recruiting Democrats to challenge her six colleagues in the House and Kiernan said yesterday that appears to be the case.
“You know, Representative Gayman has assured me that she’s not involved in any primaries. She’s assured me that ‘Operation WIN’ is about recruiting city council, county board of supervisor candidates, that indeed it’s got nothing to do with primarying…other members of the state house,” Kiernan said on IPTV. “And if you look at it, nobody has filed. Nobody has entered any primaries statewide.”
Operation “Working Iowa Neighbors” or WIN is advertising for a coordinator who will start in March of 2010 to organize rallies, “truth squads” and other events that promote labor issues and labor-friendly candidates for “local, city, school board and county level positions.”