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Civic Skinny

Sue Dvorsky leaving; Bobby Kaufmann’s record

12/5/2012

Sue Dvorsky is stepping down as chair of the state Democratic Party, Cityview has learned, and executive director Norm Sterzenbach is leaving as well. Party leaders will meet next weekend to pick the next chair, but in all likelihood the chairmanship will revert to being a non-salaried post. There’s some resentment in the party that Dvorsky takes a salary, reportedly $50,000, which her predecessors didn’t do.                

There aren’t a lot of names being bandied about as possible chairs — it’s kind of a thankless job — but Cedar Rapids legislator Tyler Olson apparently is interested, though he didn’t respond to a Cityview email. That would mean, though, that he probably couldn’t run for governor in 2012 — his is one of the handful of names regularly mentioned — but that might not be a bad thing for him. If Terry Branstad runs again — and he sure looks and acts as if he’s running — he’ll be hard to beat unless your name is Vilsack or Braley. And there’s no indication anyone with that name is running.                

(At the Polk County GOP fundraiser the other day, the Governor “made it pretty obvious that he intends to run again in 2014,” The Iowa Republican, a blog, reported. At one point, Branstad joked, “This is only my 18th year as governor. I’m just getting started.” At least the blog said it was a joke.)                 

So Olson, who is 36 years old and a lawyer and businessman, could stay in the legislature, where he was just elected — unopposed — to a fourth term. He could chair the party, build a base and enter the 2018 race as a still-young, more-experienced and better-connected candidate against Kim Reynolds or whoever is still in the GOP waiting line. And Jack Hatch or Chet Culver — yeah, those guys apparently are serious — could take on Branstad in two years. Lotsa luck on that.                 

On the other hand, it’s really dumb to be writing about the 2018 election, let alone the 2014 election. Skinny apologizes. …                 

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Who has the best record in the Legislature? Well, it depends on what kind of record. If it’s an arrest record, the title clearly goes to newly elected Republican Bobby Kaufmann from Wilton in Cedar County. According to Iowa Courts Online, Kaufmann has 17 arrest records, mainly for traffic and automobile violations, but earlier this year he pleaded guilty to a charge of public intoxication after being arrested in Iowa City. He told the Muscatine Journal that he completed his probation and the arrest has been “removed from my record.” (“No one’s perfect,” he added.) Indeed, it’s not on Iowa Courts Online.                

Kaufmann, who is 27, was first stopped when he was 17 for failure to obey a stop sign in Muscatine. He’s also been picked up four times for speeding, eight times for registration violations and three times for “failure to maintain safety belts.”                 

Kaufmann easily beat Democrat Dick Schwab in the newly drawn 73rd district, which includes Cedar County and six precincts in Johnson County and one in Muscatine County. The arrest record was raised by Schwab, but it didn’t seem to bother the voters. Kaufmann succeeds his father, Jeff, who left the Legislature after four terms to run for — and win — a seat on the Cedar County Board of Supervisors. Bobby Kaufmann, who is a farmer and small businessman, clerked for his father in the Legislature for several years, so he knows his way around the Capitol. …               

What with all the GPS devices and MapQuest users, the demand for state highway maps is declining, the Legislative Services Agency says. The Iowa Department of Transportation printed 1.5 million state road maps in fiscal 2112, down from 1.8 million in 2008. The Legislature has cut the funding for maps again, so the number could drop to around 600,000 this year. …                 

Deal of the week: Groupon is offering, for $89, a coupon that entitles you and a friend to take a three-hour “multistate concealed-carry-permit course,” a $240 value. One option: “online classes for students who are out-of-state or encased in jello.” Huh?              

And, yes, Iowa is one of a handful of states that will certify concealed-carry permits for persons who take an online course. …               

The Weekly Standard reported last month that Michael Gartner is dead. That greatly alarmed Skinny, who was relieved to read the correction last week. CV

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