Saturday, August 17, 2019

I Never Pay Attention to Polls

I took a vow approximately 45 quad-shot skinny lattes ago not to pay attention give any actual credence to polling about any election that is more than a year away hasn't happened yet, but okay I get weak sometimes, and this new Fox News poll has caught my attention and not only because it's FOX NEWS, though that's a lot of it.

It's a poll testing potential general-election matchups for Twitterman. He trails Joe Biden by 12 percentage points (50% to 38%), Sen. Bernie Sanders by nine points (48% to 39%), Sen. Elizabeth Warren by seven (46% to 39%), and Sen. Kamala D. Harris by six (45 to 39). Trump's fat ass can't crack 40% against anybody.

But there's something else interesting: Although he gets 38 to 39% in all four matchups, his approval rating is actually 43%. "That means roughly 4 percent of registered voters say they approve of Trump but they’re not ready to vote for him" (Aaron Blake).

Some are calling it "Trump fatigue." People even slightly to the left of Louie Gohmert worry that people won't stay woke to all the outrages -- because when everything's an outrage, there is no outrage -- and hence will forget to vote next November. I don't think that's a legitimate worry.

The Fox News poll suggests that Trump fatigue may be working more directly on the minimum wage waitress who thought she'd "give Trump a chance" back in 2016. How did that work out for her? Maybe she doesn't actually hate immigrants and brown people, and how has the constant romper room hissy fits by the toddler in the White House actually improved her situation?

Everyone's not as dumb as Trump thinks we are.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

When Political Billboards Get Too Clever By Half

NC State Senator Erica D. Smith (Dist. 3 in the lowlands), one of at least three declared Democratic candidates who'll be in the 2020 primary to take on incumbent Republican US Senator Thom Tillis, is trying to make campaign hay ($$) out of this billboard that recently went up in Raleigh.

It's a curious message, psychologically elevating Smith to frontrunner status when she is a distant challenger to frontrunner Cal Cunningham, who has raised almost 3-quarters of a mil to her $85,000. Turns out that this billboard -- and several others just like it that are popping up in other states -- is a psychological ploy to give a boost to a Democratic candidate that the Republicans would prefer to run against.

According to Nathan L. Gonzales in Roll Call, "Smith was eager to use the billboard as evidence that she’s the most feared challenger to Republican incumbent Thom Tillis .... But Republicans were targeting Smith because they believe she’s the weaker potential general election foe, not because they’re afraid of her." Ouch.

And she took the bait, bragging about her fearsomeness on her Twitter feed.

'Course, when Cal Cunningham wins the primary, they'll use that same billboard message against him. Because that's as far as their imagination goes.

Big Trouble for Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates

Short, unkind story
The courts recently threw out Republican-drawn maps for the Virginia House of Delegates. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, with the Republican leaders in the Virginia House arguing vociferously that they had not racially gerrymandered the maps. Courts said, yes you did, and now you'll have new maps drawn by a special master. (The Virginia Senate maps were not part of the litigation.)

Virginia Democrats were already within two seats of controlling both the House and the Senate. They made huge gains in the last elections in 2017, and they intend to take both houses in the elections of  2019. Yeah, Virginia is for lovers.

Kirk Cox,
Speaker of the Virginia
House of Delegates
One of those Republican legislative leaders who went to the Supremes for reprieve, and who was going to be most devastated by remapping, happened to be Kirk Cox, the speaker of the House, "the most powerful Republican in Virginia" (WashPost). Cox's 66th House District suddenly went from R+25.5 to D+6.5. His former District had been 76 percent white. Now it's 58 percent, with 34 percent black citizens. Cox has 30,000 new constituents he doesn't know.

Good reading about Kirk Cox in the WashPost. Interesting politician, and a strong one. He's "a reserved Christian conservative steeped in the intricacies of policy and parliamentary procedure. He supports gun rights and opposes abortion. But he has mostly tried to keep a lid on social legislation that has caused problems for his party, most notably in 2012, with an uproar over a bill that would have required most women seeking an abortion to first undergo a vaginal ultrasound. He has had certain hot-button bills — from conservatives and liberals alike — killed in committees."

Not only moderate but courageous at times, and personable. He spent his working life as a teacher of social studies in middle schools. He taught -- successfully and with good vibes -- many African-American children of parents and aunts and uncles and cousins of some of those 30,000 new constituents. He relates well. According to Laura Vozella, he's showing up directly in the black neighborhoods he's now inherited, talking directly to black voters, and winning black votes. “It’s a challenge,” he said. “It’s also an opportunity. You have to look at it that way ... I always say, ‘I’d like to earn your vote.’ ”

Sheila Bynum-Coleman
The Democratic Challenger
Sheila Bynum-Coleman is a young (47) African-American woman who almost won a seat in the Virginia House in 2017. She came within 815 votes of beating a Republican incumbent in a different district (against whom she had also run in 2015 and got trounced). She's been remapped for 2019 into Cox's district, and she's coming on strong.

"Bynum-Coleman is a building contractor." I had to read that line twice, and then I went looking. She's indeed listed on the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation as a "single-family residential contractor" and as a member of the Virginia State Licensing Board for Contractors. That's pretty powerful in its own right. She's got to be tactically smart and knows what she's doing.

She has a political science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and tells an impassioned personal story -- "A son with a learning disability. A daughter who was shot. A cousin rejected by a landlord because she is married to another woman .... ‘We don’t rent to y’all,’ she says her cousin was told. 'Right here in Richmond, Virginia. How is that possible in 2019?' ”

Crystal Balling
If hardcore Trumpists in Cox's district are as insane about moderate Republicans as they are in North Carolina, and consequently have no enthusiasm for coming out to vote on November 5 for Cox...

And if the strong blue wave is still rolling in Virginia in 2019 like it was in 2017...

Then the remapping of Cox's District 66 will have been the fatal blow and the last straw.

But if Republican hardliners hang with him, and if the fabled blue wave of 2017 has fizzled in 2019, Cox can survive on his deep community commitments and his personality.

Cox is not the only Republican incumbent in both House and Senate who has strong Democratic challengers. Even if Cox can hold onto his seat, he may not hold onto the speakership.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Nine BIG Questions for NC House Speaker Tim Moore

Tim Moore

From ProgressNC:

As Republican leaders continue to stall and obstruct on their state budget standoff with Governor Roy Cooper, House Speaker Tim Moore has been hard to track down. Here are a number of questions we have for Moore, should he ever poke his head out to speak to voters on the budget:
1. Is it true that Gov. Cooper sent you a compromise budget proposal over a month ago that Republicans have refused to meet with the governor to discuss? 
2. 51 out of 55 House Democrats have promised to sustain Gov. Cooper’s budget veto. Even if all four of the remaining Democrats sided with the Republicans, you still don’t have enough votes to override the veto. Why are you still trying to override the veto if there’s no way for you to get enough votes to do so? 
3. It seems like Republicans have two options here: You can override Gov. Cooper’s budget veto, which you don’t have enough votes to do, or you can negotiate with Democratic leaders for a budget they can support, which you’re not doing. Why are you continuing to stall and obstruct? 
4. How long are you prepared to hold out before admitting you don’t have the votes and finally sitting down to negotiate with Democrats for a budget that works for everyone?

5. School is going to start in a few weeks for most students in North Carolina. School districts are being forced to set their fall budgets with no idea how much money they’ll be getting from the state. Teachers are being forced to buy classroom supplies without the pay raises they were promised. Why are you once again making things harder for our schools? 
6. Over 600,000 North Carolina would gain affordable health care access from Medicaid expansion. But every year we wait, there are an estimated 1,000 unnecessary deaths because people can’t afford life-saving treatment. How many people have to die before Republicans put people over politics and expand Medicaid? 
7. Tens of thousands of educators marched in Raleigh on May 1 with five simple requests for lawmakers. The Republican budget doesn’t meet any of them. How can you expect teachers to support you if you won’t even listen to them? 
8. When you adjust for inflation and enrollment, teacher pay and classroom funding is down compared to a decade ago. Politicians had to make a lot of hard budget decisions during the recession, but the recession is over. Why are Republicans forcing our schools to experience a permanent recession by refusing to restore education funding? 
9. You’ve described Medicaid expansion as “Medicaid for All” when you know full well that Medicaid expansion would bring healthcare only to people making less than 138% of the federal poverty level. How can you be trusted with your budget claims when your description of Medicaid expansion is so grossly exaggerated?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Only TV I'm Watching Is Candidate Propaganda

John Hickenlooper must be in a quandary (a quandary, incidentally, is an off-brand, 3-wheeled vehicle that tends to follow ruts). His campaign for president is going nowhere. People have been screaming at him to run for US Senate instead, because Republican incumbent Cory Gardner is ripe for the picking. Last Monday in the Colorado Springs Gazette, Hickenlooper signaled he's open to a proposition: "Hickenlooper Cracks Door Open To Challenging Cory Gardner."

Maybe Charles Schumer, who controls a whole bunch of bundled money earmarked for US Senate races, is blowing in his ear. Plus Hickenlooper's own internal polling, according to a leak in Politico, shows him pulling 60% of the vote in any primary. He was a popular governor (for reasons I'm not going to research, so don't even think of asking), and all signs now point to a Senate race. Au revoir, White House, and Godspeed!

But now comes the barrage of a new reality -- the "buzz saw" Hickenlooper faces from Democrats already running in the Senate primary. WashPost's headline on that topic three days ago delivered a double-ouch: "Hickenlooper's possible retreat to Senate race in Colorado could be rocky." A rocky retreat. Those people know how to draw blood! (The Colorado Senate race primary will flame out on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, on the same day that North Carolina will also be fulminating -- Thom Tillis's showdown with Republican challenger Tucker Garland and maybe Holly Grange's challenge to Republican frontrunner Dan Forest for the governship slot.)

Back last January, we wrote here -- waaaay in advance of anything concrete developing in the Senate race and when all kinds of people were getting mentioned as formidable candidates, some of whom had no intention whatsoever of running -- a list of potential Dem primary contenders, and Hickenlooper was at the top of it, along with Earl Perlmutter, Crisanta Duran, and Mike Johnston.

By May there were fully 10 declared candidates listed by, with several more rumored to be considering it. Mike Johnston was the only name from our January speculation to survive late winter/early spring. Here are the 10 from mid-May:
Climate activist Diana Bray
Economist Ellen Burnes
Former state Sen. Mike Johnston (scroll down)
Community organizer Lorena Garcia
Former House Majority Leader Alice Madden
Navy veteran Keith Pottratz
Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff
Professor Stephany Rose Spaulding
Former U.S. Attorney John Walsh
Scientist Trish Zornio
So I, being damn Dem curious, went looking at the crop. Politico said that Mike Johnston already has $2.6 million cash on hand, followed by former ambassador Dan Baer with $1 million. John Walsh and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff have war chests in the high-six figures. "They’ve already carved out endorsements and strategies to guide them over the coming months, whether Hickenlooper runs or not."

Andrew Romanoff hasn't made a video (at least, I can't find one) but I looked at Mike Johnston's, which proved to be a disappointing and static talking-head. Someone with over two-and-a-half mil ought to have a more professional production. I looked back at what we found out about him last January, and it's clear -- despite the time and effort put into that video -- he'll be a formidable challenger to Hickenlooper, probably aiming for similar or the same moderate voters:

I looked into money-chase runner-up Dan Baer and found a very accomplished production that tells a candidate's story well:

Dan Baer would be the first openly gay US Senator. In Colorado it could happen. Baer's career experience -- well documented in the video -- would make him strong on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a chair Cory Gardner already occupies. Footnote: Baer had been all-in for the 7th Colorado Congressional seat early in 2018. He got in early because the incumbent Democratic Rep Earl Perlmutter said he was going to quit the House and run for governor, and Baer raised a lot of money quickly. But in October 2017, Perlmutter suddenly reversed course and said he had decided to stay put in the House. In deference, Baer suspended his campaign that same month and let Perlmutter keep it. Now he's back for something bigger, and he looks pretty well put together.

I looked at John Walsh too, a former prosecutor who seems older than either Johnston or Baer above:

The Walsh production tells a story, a little ham-handedly at times, but he might be a contender too.

Alice Madden looks strongest among the many women running, if video presence is actually any tell. She's at least an experienced, tough office-holder who knows what a campaign has got to do, and I instantly liked her personality: She says, "From 'you can't do it' to 'it can't be done, I've heard it all and overcome worse." If Colorado women united behind her, she could beat all the men:

Climate activist Diana Bray's video is excellently done, tells a story of imminent hazard, but I don't see any mention of her in Colorado media to suggest she has a shot:

Friday, August 09, 2019

J.D. Scholten Taking on Iowa's Steve King Again in 2020

Steve King
You might think that because Republican representative Steve King, from Iowa's 4th Congressional District, has been ostracized by the Republican caucus in Washington for his outspoken racism, you'd think that the voters of the 4th District might want to replace him with someone who's welcomed in the club house and who can do good things for his district. Those voters will have the chance -- again -- next year with the Democrat J.D. Scholten, a former professional baseball player who ran against King in 2018 and came within 3.4% of beating him.

The Iowa 4th is heavily Republican, which is why a toxic spill like Steve King has been reelected over and over. There are some 70,000 more Republicans than Democrats in the district, but Scholten only lost to King in 2018 by 10,430 votes. Now, that's some margin-cutting!

After a career playing professional baseball in Canada for the Saskatoon Legends, in Sioux City for the Explorers, and finally in Europe, Scholten changed careers to work as a litigation para-legal specializing in intellectual property. For the 2018 campaign against King, Scholten travelled to every one of the 39 counties in the 4th district at least three times, putting over 35,000 miles on his personal vehicle and an additional 24,000 miles on the now-famous “Sioux City Sue” — his Winnebago RV which was actually made in the district.

His 2020 announcement video (below), released on Monday this week, has gotten a good deal of attention. And, yes, that's Kevin Costner doing the narration.


Thursday, August 08, 2019

Gov. Cooper Appoints Damon Circosta to the SBOE

Yesterday Governor Roy Cooper appointed Damon Circosta, executive director of the charitable A.J. Fletcher Foundation, to replace Bob Cordle on the North Carolina Board of Elections (SBOE). Circosta was officially an unaffiliated voter when Cooper previously appointed him in March 2018 to the 9-member SBOE, a board that was later dissolved because of legal action. Circosta changed his political affiliation to Democrat to be appointed yesterday.

Cue the Republican outrage. Sen. Ralph Hise, who knows plenty about partisan power grabs, whined that Cooper chose “power politics” over legitimacy and fairness by not appointing someone all parties respect. “Governor Cooper isn’t even pretending that he cares about good government. By appointing Damon Circosta to the Board today as the tie-breaking Democrat, he’s admitting that his previous appointment of Circosta as an ‘unaffiliated’ member was a sham.”

Circosta is a lawyer. Previously, he led the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, an organization dedicated to improving the electoral process. He serves as a professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. 

With the SBOE back at full membership, they will have to meet and elect a chair. Then on August 23rd, they will be voting on member Stella Anderson's motion to amend the certification process for electronic voting machines in the state.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Primarily Speaking, It Could Get Rough for Long-Time Democratic Office-Holders in 2020

I first read about Lindsey Boylan, Democratic candidate running in the New York 10th Congressional District, yesterday morning. She's one of several insurgent Democrats that the Washington Post gave some ink to. Then late yesterday, a video of hers showed up in my Twitter feed. I reposted that video here (see down-column), so astonished was I by the fire leaping out of her eyes.

Lindsey Boylan is a first time candidate though she's spent her adult life in public service -- first as an assistant to a city planner, then years managing operations and business development for the 10-acre Bryant Park "and several other major public spaces in the city." She took a detour through the Columbia Business School and worked in nailing down municipal finance for urban centers across the country, and then joined New York State's economic development arm and rose to chief of staff, directly overseeing regional economic development for all of New York State.

Seems like a pistol all her life. Meanwhile, amidst that drive and accomplishment, she had time to make a family -- husband and baby girl. She's got moral clarity, no lie.

(NOTE ON HER VIDEO PRESENCE: Boylan is arresting enough to pull off old-fashioned "talking head" messages, which have been increasingly replaced by flashy storytelling with lots of visual variety and surprises. I've become a connoisseur of candidate videos.)

I'm following her. She's the kind of Democratic candidate I want to see, the kind that Trump's America has inspired to stand up and make a declaration. Plus she's raising money like crazy -- already a quarter of a mil -- and she convinced Hillary Clinton campaign veteran (for digital media) Peter Daou to join her campaign.

She's running in the April 28th, 2020, Democratic primary against Democratic incumbent Jerry Nadler. Ouch. Nadler's an institution himself, currently chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee who'll preside over impeachment inquiries if it ever comes to that. If it ever comes. The fact that it hasn't come to that and with Nadler being so generously deferential to Nancy Pelosi (though he personally favors impeachment, they say) -- the dithering motivated Boylan and gave her race a not-so-subtle undertone of fury. She's the first credible primary contender Nadler has had in many years.

Nadler's been a Democratic lion of the house, and under normal circumstances we would regret seeing him taken out. These are not normal circumstances. Boylan's chances of doing the previously unthinkable seem pretty strong ... except there are also two other Democratic women already running, and a divided vote among Nadler's opposition will mean Nadler can hang on to his seat. The other two women -- Amanda Frankel and Holly Lynch -- have raised much less money, though I know nothing about their biographies and their potential to split significant votes with Boylan.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

You'll Always Be a Small Man, Donny

Lindsey Boylan, candidate for Congress (NY-10)

Teleprompter Trump

We're not sure who you are, but have you met Twitterman? Or MAGA rally man?

The flat affect and monotone suggest that you've been drugged and that you're having trouble reading the text that someone else wrote for you. Either that, or you can't even fake empathy. Some of your words just make our skin crawl--

"precious little children"

"praying and grieving"

"we will never forget"

"Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul."

Yes, I think we can see the evidence of that right in front of our eyes.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Provocateur and Cheer-Leader

Consciousness of Guilt

Trump Deletes Tweets Referring to Migrant ‘Invasion’

Samuel Robinson reports that tweets from President Trump that contain forms of the word “invasion” when referring to migrants at the Southern border are being deleted.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Stella Anderson's Plan To Harden NC's Elections Against Cyber Attacks Still Hangs in the Balance

Stella Anderson
Photo Brendan Hoekstra,
The Appalachian
Jordan Wilkie, writing in The Indy, understands the importance of this past week for the future of democracy in North Carolina. The resignation of state Board of Elections (SBOE) Chair Bob Cordle preserved Stella Anderson's initiative to make electronic voting equipment much less susceptible to foreign and domestic mischief. August 23rd will be D-Day for that proposal when the SBOE will vote on final approval.

Had Cordle remained chair through Thursday's special called meeting, Republican member David Black would have changed his earlier aye vote, and with the other Republican member, Ken Raymond, the three-man majority would have overruled Anderson and pushed through certification of machinery that produces only barcode paper receipts of how a voter voted.

Anderson saw that as unacceptable, and so do we.

Specifically, a rescind vote would have saved the bacon of one "controversial vendor" of touch-screen technology, Elections Systems and Software, or ESandS, the company that promises that their barcodes are accurate reflections of voter intent.

"Controversial vendor"? Jordan Wilkie is also a reporter for The Guardian, and his reporting on a federal lawsuit in Georgia challenging the constitutionality of that state's election process tracked the role of ESandS, which was supplying voting equipment for the 2018 close and contested election of Republican Brian Kemp in Georgia. Testimony in that case revealed that ESandS staffers built the 2018 Georgia ballot at their homes, without verifiable security. “You’re taking what the state has said is the roadmap to hack an election and they’re just letting it sit on people’s home computers with no evidence of any kind of security,” one of the plaintiffs said. “I mean, it’s truly insane. I cannot overstate how crazy that is.”

(You could spend all day following Google links about ESandS, "the largest voting machine company in the US," headquartered in Omaha.)

Wilkie gives Stella Anderson a laurel wreath for protecting our very democracy: "If Anderson’s motion passes [on August 23], it would be the first of its kind in the nation and would follow best-practice guidelines from election security experts. Not only would ESandS’s voting machines be removed from consideration, but it would make North Carolina an entirely hand-marked paper ballot state...."

Josh Lawson, who was the SBOE’s general counsel until June, has been speaking out on the issue too and totally agrees with Anderson: “My immediate and short-term concern is voter confidence,” Lawson says. “I think that the barcode ballot process does not support or instill voter confidence to the same degree as hand-marked paper ballots...."

Our "democracy watch" on this whole issue now turns to Governor Roy Cooper and his choice to replace Bob Cordle at the SBOE. Will that person be in place by August 23rd? And will that person vote affirmatively for Anderson's proposal to change certification requirements in North Carolina to ensure paper-ballot proof from electronic equipment?

Friday, August 02, 2019

Tim Moore Gets All Macho Over Closet Space Because Ray Russell Had an Opinion

This opening sentence in Colin Campbell's report from this morning's News and Observer says all you need to know about the Republican tyranny running the General Assembly in Raleigh: "Rep. Ray Russell, D-Watauga, has been told to vacate his office on the sixth floor of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) and move to a closet-like space that until recently housed a copy machine."

Speaker Tim Moore, R-Pettyville, claims Russell's office is needed for 25-year-old Jake Johnson, who is replacing Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania, who resigned last week after pleading guilty to cyberstalking his wife. "It’s unclear why Johnson wouldn’t use Henson’s former office on the LOB’s fifth floor, a space that was empty as of Thursday."

Ray Russell believes the move is pay-back for Russell's offering an amendment "to delete a provision in a bill that praises the UNC Board of Governors for allowing Advanced Placement test scores of 3 to count for college credit. Russell, an Appalachian State professor, spoke against the board’s decision; his amendment ultimately failed."

The shabby treatment of Russell is merely a reverse metric of how esteemed Russell currently is in his home district.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: SBOE Declines To Rescind Stella Anderson's Motion

Just now the remaining four members of the State Board of Elections deadlocked 2-2 on Republican David Black's motion to rescind the vote from Monday evening.

This means that Stella Anderson's original motion to modify the North Carolina certification program for electronic voting machines will go forward through a 15-day comment period, with final implementation of that modification to be voted on at an August 23 meeting.

Once again, the modification as proposed is this requirement:
"An electronically assisted ballot marking device or other ballot marking equipment shall produce human-readable marks on a paper ballot. The voter must be able to verify his or her intent as evidenced by the mark on the ballot. The mark shall be tabulated as the voter's selection."

Another Democrat Vying To Unseat George Holding in NC-2

Jason Butler
We took notice back on June 13 of retired Marine Scott Cooper as the first Democrat to announce a campaign to unseat incumbent Republican George Holding in the 2nd Congressional District of North Carolina.

There's a new and interesting Democratic candidate in that race as of today -- Methodist pastor Jason Butler of "the LBGTQ-friendly" Open Table United Methodist Church in Raleigh, which he founded not long after arriving in the city in 2016 from Milwaukee. The United Methodist Church is not gay-friendly, so Butler is something of a rebel and a cage-rattler. He sent this email to members of Open Table:

"As I look at the world, I see so much suffering and I get this deep sense that our society is losing its moral compass—kids are in cages, Latinx families are being torn apart, multitudes are living without access to health care, the LGBTQ community is under constant threat, income inequality is out of control, and our environment is dying. These are not just political issues—they are issues of morality and justice—of life and death."

The Open Table website is worth a look, particularly for a sense of the diverse community that Butler has managed to build in three years. Audio of Butler's sermons is also available there, and his sermon about the weaponizing of Sodom and Gomorrah made my visit worth the effort.

The primary comes early next year on March 3rd. This is one I'll be watching (and who knows what other Democrats may register and run -- we're good with the variety!).

Watching Theresa Greenfield in Iowa

Political storytelling via video production has come a long way very fast, and I've become a connoisseur of good Democratic candidate introductions. Theresa Greenfield is the Democrat challenging incumbent Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst in 2020.

When Ernst first ran in 2014, she produced her own viral video promise to use her hog castration skills to cut the pork in Washington, D.C. and "make 'em squeal." That line became so famous that her failure to stand up to Twitterman's use of professional lobbyists as acting cabinet secretaries and agency heads (what is the count up to now? 6? 8?) presents itself as a big, ripe target for Greenfield.

"The special interests and corporate lobbyists keep feasting like hogs at the trough," Greenfield says in the video above.

According to the Des Moines Register, "Iowa Democrats have faced criticism in recent years for failing to appeal to rural voters. In her bio-heavy announcement video, Greenfield made an immediate case to those voters." She's clad in jeans and plaid shirt throughout and argues a case for farm-girl authenticity.

Greenfield will have to compete in a crowded Democratic senatorial primary on June 2, 2020. Two other Democrats have already made announcements -- lawyer Kimberly Graham and businessman/failed congressional candidate in 2018 Eddie Mauro -- with additional others expected to step forward before all the dust settles.

Joni Ernst has plenty of money ($2.8 million banked) and high approval (57% positive), so it's going to take some heavy shoveling for any Democrat to muck out that barn.