We've been hearing a lot of predictions that outside groups would turn the Senate District 18 special election race into the latest battleground in the fight over gay marriage in Iowa.
Now, the first tangible evidence has landed in district mailboxes.
Here's a news release that arrived around midday:
National Organization for Marriage (NOM) Continues What it Started in 2010
NOM Launches Independent Expenditure Campaign in the 18th Senate District Race in Iowa
Des Moines, IA ---- The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today announced it is launching an Independent Expenditure campaign along with The Family Leader in the 18th Senate District race to support Cindy Golding. Golding, a strong traditional marriage advocate, is running against Democrat Liz Mathis, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage. NOM was a major player last year in the successful effort to remove three Supreme Court justices from office after they redefined marriage in Iowa.
“This is a pivotal election contest in our battle to allowing the people of Iowa the opportunity to vote to restore marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM. “A proposed constitutional amendment on defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman enjoys broad-based, bipartisan legislative and voter support, but is being prevented from coming to the floor of the Senate by Majority Leader Mike Gronstol. If Ms. Golding is successful in her election, we are hopeful that Senators will finally have the opportunity to vote on the marriage amendment, and we expect it to pass handily.”
NOM will be supporting Golding with a series of mailers and other activities in the 18th District. The first dropped today.
Paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, www.nationformarriage.org. Not authorized by any candidate or any candidate’s committee.
So it's on, apparently. But who's this "Gronstol?'"
Here is the mailer:
First, the mailer defines the candidates' positions on this issue in sharper focus than the candidates themselves have been willing to. Mathis says she supports the Iowa Supreme Court ruling striking down Iowa's statutory gay marriage ban, but hasn't publicly given her opinion on the drive for a constitutional ban. But if she supports the ruling, I doubt she supports the amendment.
Golding says she supports allowing Iowans to vote on a constitutional ban, but has not said whether she personally supports the amendment. I haven't heard either give their opinion on retention. They've both argued that it's the media, not voters in the district, that cares the most about the marriage debate. They're probably right.
And is the marriage issue really in the balance?
If Mathis wins, I think it's unlikely she would break Dem ranks to bring the amendment resolution to a vote, so it remains stuck. If Golding wins, it's still highly unlikely that the amendment will be brought up in a gridlocked 25-25 Senate, so it remains stuck. Either way, I think the issue stays in a holding pattern.But if you're NOM and Vander Plaats, sitting on a mountain of cash and righteous indignation, you might as well inflict some of it on Senate District 18, the only game around. I hope they send me several. I'll need something to light my tailgate charcoal Saturday.