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Posted July 13, 2016in Political Mercury

Reynolds and a roadster

  Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, a prominent voice on international trade in Iowa, immediately spied the export value of the mobile veterinary units at a Lake City manufacturer. She talked business and foreign markets, job growth and rural development, with ownership of management of Bowie International. But for a moment, Reynolds, who

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Posted July 06, 2016in Political Mercury

The towering competence of Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack is a George C. Marshall for our time

Vilsack, the highly effective U.S. secretary of agriculture and former two-term governor of Iowa, possesses a remarkable command of the labyrinth of programs and benefits that river out of the hulking USDA into our communities. Vilsack intellectually and administratively inhabits the intersection of Washington and Main Street in a way few

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Posted June 29, 2016in Political Mercury

The Butz of Trump’s commentary Donald Trump appears to have weathered what Butz could not — and then some. 

What’s the difference between Donald Trump and Earl Butz? Short answer: Trump’s comments about Mexicans and a Mexican-American judge and “my African American” are worse than Butz’s joke — or, for that matter, Trent Lott’s endorsement. Butz’s infamous 1976 racist joke was far less troubling. Then there is Lott’s retro-endorsement

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Posted June 22, 2016in Political Mercury

Western Iowa town to dog: Git, git outta town
City holds first-ever ‘vicious dog’ appeal hearing

    Like a marshal in a dusty Old West village, city officials  from the western Iowa town of Carroll issued a lawbreaker an ultimatum. Leave town in three days. Or else. The bad guy in this story: an 18-month-old Chesapeake Bay retriever named Lambeau (after the iconic Green Bay,

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Posted June 15, 2016in Political Mercury

Patty Judge says Trump will drag Grassley down

  In his nearly 60 years of public service — having first been elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1958 — U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley has run on tickets with many Republicans. Now his name is on the ballot under Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and that will prove devastating for

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Posted June 08, 2016in Political Mercury

In round after round, Bertrand pounds King back on heels

(Note: Douglas Burns wrote this column prior to Tuesday’s primary. It remains relevant for three reasons: First, Rick Bertrand could have pulled off an upset. Second, if Bertrand’s numbers are strong enough for financial supporters, he could mount an independent candidacy in the 4th District general election. And third, no

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Posted June 01, 2016in Political Mercury

Mowrer clear and convincing in Democratic debate

  Congressional candidate Jim Mowrer on May 26 showed a professional political bearing that escaped his two rivals for the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s 3rd District, a sweep of the rural Hawkeye State bookended by Des Moines and Council Bluffs. Mowrer, an Iraq War veteran who took on U.S. Rep. Steve King,

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Posted May 25, 2016in Political Mercury

Patty Judge: ‘Old Iowa women are tough’

Patty Judge wouldn’t reveal the internal poll numbers inspiring that twinkle in her eye. But the veteran Iowa politician, the former lieutenant governor and state secretary of agriculture, says she’s a highly secure presumptive nominee in a four-person Democratic primary June 7. What’s more, Judge says she’ll be a competitive force in

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Posted May 11, 2016in Political Mercury

10 reasons Trump should select Joni Ernst as running mate

Donald Trump, the bombastic billionaire who has defied convention, confounded expert prediction, and punctured the business of punditry to obsolescence, now has his self-described large hands gripping the Republican presidential nomination. His speech last Tuesday from Trump Tower in New York City amounted to a rhetorical basketball net cutting for this

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Posted May 04, 2016in Political Mercury

What Hillary Clinton thinks when she thinks about rural America

      Hillary Clinton covered a wide swath of issues — many dealing specifically with rural economic development, opportunities for Iowa small towns — in a 23-minute interview with Political Mercury on a summer Sunday afternoon in Carroll leading up to Iowa caucuses. Clinton, who logged more than a million miles of

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