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Capitol Notebook: Libertarian Party of Iowa files for major party status
Award created in outgoing Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s honor
Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau
Dec. 9, 2022 5:31 pm
The Libertarian Party of Iowa filed to regain major party status Friday.
Libertarian candidate for governor Rick Stewart and his running mate, Marco Battaglia, earned 2.4 percent of the vote Nov. 8 in the governor’s race, exceeding the 2 percent minimum required by state law to qualify as an official political party.
Stewart, of Cedar Rapids, won nearly 29,000 votes in his gubernatorial run, becoming the first third-party ticket in Iowa history to achieve the milestone in a gubernatorial race.
It's the first time Iowa's Libertarian Party has earned that distinction since 2018.
The Libertarian Party would be able to begin holding state-run primary elections and appear as an option on voter registration forms. Previously, Iowa officially recognized two political parties: Republicans and Democrats, with the Libertarian Party and Green Party as an option as Non-Party Political Organizations, not official parties.
To remain a political party, the party's candidates for president and governor must keep receiving at least 2 percent of the total votes cast in each general election. If a party's candidate does not receive 2 percent of the total votes cast, the party's status is canceled. To become a political party again, the entire process must be repeated, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office.
The Libertarian Party of Iowa gained political party status for the first time in 2016 when Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson earned 3.74 percent of the Iowa vote. But they lost that status in the next election when Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jake Porter failed to reach the 2 percent threshold in the 2018 governor’s race.
Stewart said Iowa voters were ready for change.
"There are almost 600,000 Iowa voters who refuse to join either the Democratic or the Republican parties,“ Stewart said in a statement. ”This is a victory for them and I look forward to seeing significant Libertarian results in future elections."
Award created in Iowa AG Tom Miller’s honor
The National Association of Attorneys General has created an award named for outgoing Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who also will leave office at end of year.
Miller, a Democrat and the longest-serving state attorney, was defeated by Republican Attorney General-elect Brenna Bird in the Nov. 8 election. Bird, the Guthrie County attorney, surpassed the 10-term incumbent by fewer than 2 percentage points.
The Miller-Wasden Unity Award honors state attorneys general who exemplify service and commitment to civility and bipartisanship, according to a news release.
“This is such a great honor, and doubly so to share it with my best friend among AGs,” Miller said in a statement.
Wasden, a Republican, worked with Miller on a range of issues, including on efforts to reduce smoking and hold tobacco companies accountable. He called Miller a “cerebral statesman who has the ability to bring people together.”
Miller ended his one-year term as NAAG president at the association’s Capital Forum in Washington, D.C., this week.
Ernst named Legislator of the Year by Wounded Warrior Project
Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst has been named Legislator of the Year by the Wounded Warrior Project.
Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, commanded National Guard troops in Iraq and is the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate. She was honored for her efforts spearheading bipartisan legislation to bring a Global War on Terrorism Memorial to the National Mall.
“As a combat veteran myself, I feel an incredible responsibility to ensure the United States lives up to the promises we made to our veterans. The Wound Warrior Project is an incredible partner in helping achieve this goal and a critical pillar for the veteran community,” Ernst said in a statement.
Kester named chief judge
Iowa Chief Justice Susan Christensen has appointed District Court Judge Adria Kester, of Ogden, as chief judge of the Second Judicial District.
Kester succeeds Chief Judge James M. Drew, who will retire Feb. 9.
Kester currently serves as assistant chief judge. She was appointed to the District Court in July of 2017.
As chief judge, Kester will supervise all judicial officers and court employees in the district as well as the performance of administrative and judicial business in the district, designate presiding judges and serve on the judicial council, which advises the Iowa Supreme Court on administrative matters affecting trial courts. In addition, she will continue to preside over cases.
The Second Judicial District is the largest geographic district in the state and consists of 22 counties: Boone, Bremer, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Marshall, Mitchell, Pocahontas, Sac, Story, Webster, Winnebago, Worth and Wright.