Nice guy wins

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

For all the sourness of politics, take heart: Nice guys can finish first. Congratulations to Kelly Snyder of Marathon, who beat incumbent Buena Vista County Supervisor Dale Arends of Newell, in the Republican primary election on Tuesday. Snyder is a nice man with a good heart. He is a retired sheriff’s deputy, and for a good cop has remarkably few enemies. Even the people in jail liked him. We do not know if they voted for him.

But the people in the north half of the county sure did. That’s where he patrolled the secondary roads for decades as the deputy assigned to Marathon. Everybody knows him. Certainly everybody in the courthouse knows him, where Arends was unlikely to be crowned homecoming king. This was an awfully low turnout election (341 for Snyder and 293 for Arends) where county employees could turn an election.

Snyder has always impressed us as a man with a good heart who would be willing to listen as he pulled you over. He was never a hardhead. Snyder is more experienced at mediating disputes than anyone in elected office other than County Attorney Dave Patton or Sheriff Kory Elston. He could get a husband and wife to calm down. That should serve him well on the board of supervisors.

Bring it, ace

The friendly and enthusiastic JD Scholten of Sioux City handily won the nomination to run against Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, in November. Scholten took over half the Democratic primary votes after having proved himself an adroit fundraiser who is able to turn out supporters. We preferred Dr. John Paschen of Ames out of a personal kinship and his gravitas. We have absolutely no complaint with Scholten other than he is driving a Winnebago on the campaign trail in an era of climate change. If it takes a Winnebago to get noticed, wheel on, JD, and bullhorn the message that Northwest Iowa has had enough of radical extremism.

If there is only one reason to vote for JD Scholten, it is this: Children tonight will cry themselves to sleep in a federal detention center in San Antonio, separated from their parents on a bunk inside a converted old big box retail building. The windows are covered. They are captive to a cruel immigration system that holds dreams in abeyance in Storm Lake, where people who just want to make a living in freedom are forced to live in the shadows and in the shackles of fear.

It is wrong on so many levels, and Steve King is the leading voice for this absurd and cruel treatment of people who have been lured north of the border for 200 years.

It holds Storm Lake back. It forecloses opportunity. JD Scholten understands.

This is the one place where JD Scholten really shines: He is a former athlete, a star pitcher for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and later a semi-pro with the Sioux City Explorers. Since he was a boy he has spent every day of summer with Latino shortstops and black outfielders who come from Venezuela or the Dominican Republic in search of the same dream as the person shingling roofs in Lakeside.

We have a congressman who would rather run them off.

Scholten also likes to talk about his family farm heritage and campaigned hard in every little burg to win easily. When you meet him you immediately like him, just like Kelly Snyder. We could use a nice guy in Congress who isn’t afraid to brush back Steve King with some high inside heat.

Hubbell is a tough customer

We take one of two lessons from the governor’s race: Money wins elections, or at least Democrats who desperately want to win for all the right reasons believe that it does. Fred Hubbell won a clear mandate among a crowded field of talented Democrats by garnering 55% of the vote. Cathy Glasson came in at 20% and our man John Norris ate a lot of dust. Hubbell spent $7 million. Norris was the populist voice of the party, rising through the Harkin and Vilsack organizations to the top. Glasson was the labor candidate, as it ended up when Nate Boulton dropped. That shows what labor gets you these days, or rural populism.

Hubbell’s argument was that he had the resources to win, and that he could whip the budget into shape to fund progressive priorities like education. Democrats bought in. It remains to be seen how he shapes up against Kim Reynolds, who is already in full throat because Hubbell is a wealthy man and she is just a dirt-poor girl from down the gravel road. We expected as much, and so did he.

Hubbell worked hard, built an organization obviously that could turn out a vote, raised a ton of money and socked a lot in from his own pocket, and projected a clear message about sound management. He might have sealed the deal in a lot of voters’ minds when the former insurance and retail executive described looking down the barrel of a gun with his new bride while kidnapped. You want to talk gun violence? He saw it too closely.

Hubbell proved himself as a person who is committed to progressive values and sound business management. That is a strong message to sell in Iowa. And, when he said it doesn’t matter if you’re rich so long as you care about those less fortunate and listen to them, well, that rang true as well. Hubbell is a serious and sober man who knows how to achieve a plan. Plan your work and work your plan. He did it in the primary. It remains to be seen how he reacts to a full-frontal attack on him from the noise machine fueled by interests far larger than him. He has that look in his eye that says: “I am not scared of you, and I will attack it head-on.” Democrats who know the vital importance of change to Iowa got the message.