Moneyed Iowa Democrats take to television

Hubbell, Boulton and Glasson airing ads for governor

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell speaks Nov. 17, 2017, in Iowa City. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell speaks Nov. 17, 2017, in Iowa City. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Three is a crowd.

Fred Hubbell no longer has the television airwaves to himself in the primary race to be the Democratic candidate for Iowa governor.

Two more candidates, Nate Boulton and Cathy Glasson, too, have in recent days started airing campaign ads on TV.

Hubbell, a Des Moines businessman, has been airing campaign ads on TV since October. Until this past week, Hubbell was the only one of the field buying up TV slots.

Boulton, a state senator from Des Moines, joined the campaign ad fray last Tuesday. The 30-second spot, which is airing in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets, highlights his work in the state Senate as Democrats opposed Republican policies during the 2017 legislative session, with little luck.

The ad calls Boulton “a new voice” and says he “went toe to toe with Branstad and Reynolds,” referring to former Gov. Terry Branstad and his successor, Kim Reynolds.

Boulton jumped right back in with his second ad, which will begin running this week. His second ad highlights the myriad state legislators who are supporting his campaign.

“It is time for a new generation,” Iowa Sen. Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says in it.


Glasson’s first campaign ad began airing Thursday, also in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets. In the ad, Glasson, a nurse and union leader from Coralville, is shown in campaign speeches making her call for universal health care.

“I’ve listened to Iowans, and I believe Iowans and this country are ready to rise up for universal health care,” Glasson says in the ad.

The new ads were posted in the same week the public began to learn the details of the candidates’ fundraising efforts over the course of 2017.

Boulton said he has raised roughly $1.3 million, and Glasson received roughly $1.8 million solely from a national union that has endorsed her campaign.

Hubbell, meantime, reported raising more than $3 million.

And now those candidates are putting those resources to work. Name recognition will be play an important factor in the June 6 Democratic primary, and advertising on television is a surefire way to introduce a candidate to a large number of voters.

Lawmaker chosen as GOPAC adviser

Jack Whitver, president of the Iowa Senate and a Republican from Ankeny, has been named to the advisory board of GOPAC, a national group that identifies, recruits and prepares Republican candidates for higher office.

GOPAC announced the advisory board last week. On the board, Whitver joins legislative leaders from across the country.

election NOT Succession

Gov. Kim Reynolds is running for election to a four-year term after last year replacing former Gov. Terry Branstad, who was named U.S. ambassador to China.


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Successor incumbents are elected at a lower rate than elected incumbents, according to a report last week from “Governing” magazine.

Just 63 percent of successor incumbents have won since World War II, a lower success rate than elected incumbents, according to the report.

Fourteen successor incumbents lost in the general election, while nine were defeated in party primaries.

“A lot of people don’t see them as legitimate candidates,” Darryl Paulson, an emeritus government professor at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, told Governing. “We didn’t elect them; they were selected to fill the interim.”

Reynolds was Branstad’s lieutenant governor since 2011, but will have been governor for just roughly a year when voters cast ballots in this year’s Republican primary. Reynolds faces former Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett and Boone City Council member Steven Ray in the primary.

Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government His email address is



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