NARAL Pro-Choice American president Ilyse Hogue endorsed Democrat Fred Hubbell for next November’s election, calling him “the champion we need in the Iowa Governor’s Mansion.” With Republicans in control of the governor and both chambers of the state legislature, the Hawkeye State has become a flashpoint in the legal and political battle over abortion rights.
Iowa state law currently prohibits abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy. Incument Republican governor Kim Reynolds, whom Hubbell is hoping to defeat in the election, signed Senate File 359 into law last May. Known as the heartbeat bill because it would ban abortions once a heartbeat has been detected after about six weeks of pregnancy, it is considered one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
According to NPR, critics of the new law say it will prohibit abortions before some women might even know they are pregnant. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union both already announced their intentions to sue Governor Reynolds and the state. The law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
A recent court decision does not bode well for the future of the heartbeat law. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled 5-2 last Friday that women had a right to an abortion under the state’s constitution, striking down a 2017 law requiring a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion. “Autonomy and dominion over one’s body go to the very heart of what it means to be free. At stake in this case is the right to shape, for oneself, without unwarranted governmental intrusion, one’s own identity, destiny, and place in the world,” Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady wrote in the majority opinion. “Nothing could be more fundamental to the notion of liberty. We therefore hold, under the Iowa Constitution, that implicit in the concept of ordered liberty is the ability to decide whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.”
“Women deserve equal access to quality, affordable health care, and as governor, I am committed to making that a reality,” Hubbell said.
A look at what prospective Democratic presidential candidates are up to:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Ohio at the end of June for fundraising events in Cincinatti for Richard Cordray, the Democratic candidate in the Ohio governor’s race; and another event in Cleveland for Democratic senator Sherrod Brown.
- Biden also endorsed Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in her campaign to become the first Democratic governor of Georgia in 15 years, and the first African American woman to ever be elected governor. Abrams has also been endorsed by other 2020 contenders Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
- Biden also endorsed Jena Griswold, the Democratic nominee running for Colorado Secretary of State.
- Governor Jay Inslee traveled to Iowa in his capacity as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, where he joined the Iowa Democratic ticket Fred Hubbell and Rita Hart at a campaign event. He recorded an interview with Iowa Public Television in which he praised Hubbell as “the perfect candidate.” He will also be the featured speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Celebration in Des Moines on Saturday night. He will also be meeting with Democratic activists in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
- Senator Jeff Merkley did not rule out a possible presidential run during an interview with The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser: “I’m exploring the possibility.”
- Senator Cory Booker was the headliner at the Blue Commonwealth Gala in Richmond, Virginia, an annual event organized by the Democratic Party of Virginia. In addition to Booker, all Virginia Democratic statewide elected officials and former governor Terry McAuliffe – another possible 2020 contender – spoke at the event.
- Senator Kamala Harris sent out a fundraising email on behalf of Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, according to Kansas City Star reporter Lindsay Wise. Harris also praised McCaskill during her keynote address before the St. Louis County NAACP, which both senators attended. McCaskill is considered one of the most endangered Democratic senators of the current election cycle.
Iowa Democratic nominee Fred Hubbell announced his selection of State Sen. Rita Hart as his running mate for the gubernatorial race this fall. More context to his decision from the Des Moines Register:
Hart, who was elected to the Senate in 2012 and again in 2014, lives in Wheatland, which is on the eastern side of the state and has a population of about 730 people. She works with her husband, Paul, on the farm his family has owned for more than 100 years there.
Hart’s rural background is an asset for Hubbell, a Des Moines businessman, who will be working to persuade voters across the state that he understands their needs and is best equipped to address them in the governor’s office. Hubbell told the Register he set out to find a lieutenant governor whose background did not mirror his own.
“I like to surround myself with people that come at questions and issues and experiences in a much different way than I do,” Hubbell, 67, told the Register. “I think that makes the discussion richer, and you’re better able to get a better decision that way. So I was looking for somebody that’s very talented and capable, but not a lot like me. And I think I found her.”
As of this writing, Larry Sabato has the race as Leans Republican. The Cook Political Report has the race as a tossup.
Donald Trump chose Iowa governor Terry Branstad to be his ambassador to China, an offer that Branstad accepted. The vacancy for Iowa’s chief executive would be filled by Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds until the 2018 election. Branstad – who was already the state’s longest serving governor – was up for reelection, but now Democrats will have the opportunity to run against Reynolds. This would give Democrats an opportunity to win another governorship, in a state Trump won by a slightly larger margin than Texas.
The Democratic Governors Association went through the opposition research on Reynolds and forwarded this Politico story mentioning her as a potential U.S. Senate candidate in 2014. Depending on the political and economic winds in two years, as well as candidate recruitment, this could be a good opportunity for Democrats to get a win.