Posts tagged with "Iowa"

Santa in April: Anonymous donor mails gift cards to every household in Iowa town

April 22, 2020

Some people have all the luck: Residents of a small town in Iowa found themselves to be $150 richer one morning in late March, when they opened their mailboxes and discovered gift cards addressed to their households, Goodnet reports.

Earlham is a small city—more like the size of a town, with a population of 1,450—many of whom know each other’s names, but haven’t seen each other in weeks due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

But they all feel a lot more connected again, now that an anonymous donor has given each family three $50 certificates to local food establishment—among them, West Side Bar and Grille, Hometown Market, and Trostel’s Broken Branch.

According to the  Des Moines Register, about a week earlier, Earlham Mayor Jeff Lillie received a phone call from a man who said he was representing a potential donor to the community who wished to remain anonymous.

The Register said that the man told the mayor that the donor wanted to pump up the local economy, which had been hard hit by the coronavirus, by purchasing 100 gift cards to a local grille and a grocery store. The mayor told the donor’s proxy that a new restaurant just opened before Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds ended dine-in-service and that it should also be included in this stimulus package.

This was agreed to and the donor upped the amount of gift cards to 250 one hour later—and then doubled it to 500 one hour after that.

“I said to him, at 500, you’re darn near giving a gift card to every single household in Earlham,” Lillie told CNN. “When I told him there were 549 households in town, he said ‘Done.’ And that was it. I was ecstatic because it made sure everyone would get a card.”

After ascertaining that the businesses agreed to come up with all the gift cards—which was no easy task, especially for a new eatery—it was a done deal. That meant that every household received three gift cards, totaling $82,350 for the town, with each local business receiving more than $27,000.

Trostel’s Broken Branch was so new that they didn’t even have gift cards yet. “We were in the middle of interviews for our employees, hiring some waitstaff and trying to get everything ready,” restaurant owner Jennifer Trostel told CNN. “Just about then, everything closed down. It hit right when we were going to open our restaurant.”

Trostel was unable to make the switch to take-out but now she knows that the restaurant will be able to open when the restrictions are lifted.

Lille told reporters that he was “completely overwhelmed” by this act of generosity. Especially since people in the town had lost their jobs and were struggling financially. “It came at the end of a couple really hard weeks.”

The major explained, “I remember going home and walking through the front door, and I couldn’t speak for a minute. I was just crying like a baby, and my little boy saw me and wrapped around my leg and said, ‘Daddy what’s wrong?’ And eventually I was able to choke it out: ‘Buddy, right now, for once, nothing’s wrong.'”

The secret was kept by the mayor and the business owners so that it would be a complete surprise when the mail arrived according to the Register. The envelopes contained a letter that explained the situation along with the cards.

“That was the longest two days ever,” Lillie told the Register.

The city wants to pay this gift forward. If people do not need to use the gift cards, they can donate them to families in need by dropping them in the bill pay slot at city hall. The cards will be given to needy families in the local school district to distribute.

Research contact: @goodnet_org

Warren, now the frontrunner, plans $10M+ digital and TV ad buy in early states

September 25, 2019

According to the latest Des Moines Register polling, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has surged—narrowly overtaking former Vice President Joe Biden and distancing herself from fellow progressive Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

Indeed, Warren now holds a 2-percentage-point lead over the previous frontrunner, Biden, with 22% of likely Democratic caucus-goers saying she is their first choice for president. And she “has a plan” to keep their votes—and build on that growing base.

On Tuesday, September 24, Warren’s presidential campaign announced that it planned to spend at least $10 million on a  TV and digital ad campaign in “early-states” including Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina

The campaign told Politico  that a digital ad campaign would begin immediately and that the entire buy will ramp up over the next few months. The campaign declined to say when its spending on digital and TV ads would reach eight figures.

“Right now, our biggest expense as a campaign is our staff, but as the campaign heats up, it will be on media to reach potential voters,” Campaign Manager Roger Lau wrote in a memo emailed to supporters Tuesday morning. The campaign “will be more digital than old-school broadcast television.”

The campaign also released three ads on Tuesday—15-second30-second, and 60-second— which highlight Warren’s policy plans and her intention to crack down on corruption in government, Politico reported.

The shorter ads both end with: “I’m Elizabeth Warren. I know what’s wrong. I know how to fix it. And I’ll fight to get it done.”

The longest one finishes with footage from Warren’s recent rally in New York City and concludes with her saying, “It’s corruption: pure and simple. We must root it out and return our democracy to the people. And yes, I got a plan for that.”

 “We have built an in-house staff to produce videos and ads rather than adopt the consultant-driven approach of other campaigns (and the big commissions and fees that come along with it),” Lau wrote, according to the news outlet.

Warren is one of several candidates who have recently announced at least part of their strategy for the final months before the Iowa caucus next February.

The memo highlighted Warren’s tactical choices, such as investing early in organizers and integrating its data and tech teams in-house. Both moves have been praised by Democratic activists in early states and some digital organizers. Politico said

Research contact: @politico

In a moment that evokes spirit of John McCain, candidate Pete Buttigieg stands against racism

July 8, 2019

At a July 4 campaign event in Iowa, Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg emphatically reproached a man for a racist comment. It was a move that brought back stunning memories of Senator John McCain during his own presidential run in 2008, when he clapped back at a woman’s suspicions about Barack Obama at a town hall meeting—saying, “I have to tell you. Senator Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States.”

The issue that provoked the biased remark in Iowa actually had originated in mid-June. At that time, Buttigieg—who currently is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana—pulled himself off the campaign trail for a few days in the wake the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer in his hometown. Since then, he has been asked—by both the press and the electorate—to directly address the issues of race and policing.

At the July 4 barbecue, David Begley of Omaha, Nebraska, took the spotlight when he suggested to Mayor Pete, “Just tell the black people of South Bend to stop committing crimes and doing drugs.”

“Sir, I think that racism is not going to help us get out of this,” Buttigieg told Begley, according to a report by CNN Politics.

Buttigieg added.The fact that a black person is four times as likely as a white person to be incarcerated for the exact same crime is evidence there’s systemic racism. It is evidence of systemic racism, and with all due respect, sir, racism makes it harder for good police officers to do their job too.”

He went on to say, “When black people and white people are treated the same by the criminal justice system, it will be easier for white people and black people to live in this country and it will be easier for law enforcement to do their job. But racism has no place in American politics or in American law enforcement.”

“He dismissed me as a racist, which I resent,” Begley told CNN in an interview afterward.

However, Buttigieg has won praise—not only for saying that racism has no place in America, but for honestly admitting that he wanted to make the South Bend Police Department more diverse, but hadn’t yet accomplished the job.

Buttigieg was asked about the shooting during the first Democratic presidential debate and was asked why South Bend’s police force isn’t more diverse.

“Because I couldn’t get it done,” he said at the debate.

“We are hurting. I could walk you through all of the things we have done as a community,” he added. “All of the steps we took, from bias training to de-escalation, but it didn’t save the life of Eric Logan. When I look into his mother’s eyes, I have to face the fact that nothing that I say will bring him back.”

Buttigieg first acknowledged that he had “not succeeded” in recruiting a diverse police force in a tense town hall in South Bend following the shooting.

Research contact: @CNN

Poll: Biden still leads in Iowa, but Warren and Buttigieg are coming on strong

June 11, 2019

Biden is sliding—but just slightly—in the Iowa polls. Results of a new Des Moines Register/CNN poll suggest that age and political seasoning count for a lot, but that voters are fickle and can easily be enticed by fresh faces and policies.

The poll—conducted by Des Moines-based pollster Ann Selzer—found that Biden support is at 24%; Senator Bernie Sanders, at 16 %, Senator Elizabeth Warren, at 15%, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, at 14%; and Senator. Kamala Harris, at 7%. No other candidate has more than 2% of support.

While Biden still tops the field, his campaign may have reason to be concerned, Vox reported on June 9Back in December, the same poll found his support to be at 32%; but, by March, it had slipped to 27%; and now, he is at 24%— still in first place, but no longer in a clearly dominant position.

And age is a double-edged sword. Some see 76-year-old Biden and 77-year-old Sanders as the Democratic party’s elder statesmen (1%); others (46%) say their age would be a disadvantage; and still others (50%) say it would make no difference, according to the poll results.

It is important to keep in mind that in caucus states, voters’ second (or even third) choices can factor into the final result, Vox points out. If a candidate does not meet the minimum threshold of 15% support in a local precinct, each individual supporter has the opportunity to switch his or her support over to another candidate.

With a field as large as the current one, it is very possible that some caucus participants may well find themselves having to select another candidate to support. Because of this, the Iowa poll gave respondents the option to give three levels of possible support to each candidate: First choice, second choice, or “actively considering.”

When all three tiers of support (by those planning to vote in person) were added together by the pollster, Biden again topped the list of candidates, with 61%, Vox said. However, Warren matched him exactly, with 6% possible support. Three other candidates manage to reach potential support of over 50%: Sanders (at 56%), and Buttigieg and Harris (each of whom had 52%).

Elizabeth Warren, whose proficiency at policy-making has earned her a spotlight, has been gaining gradually among voters: She was at just 8% in December;  and at9%percent in March. But she has now shot up to 15% support overall, in a dead heat with Sanders for the second-place position behind Biden.

“That’s a strong showing for Elizabeth Warren,” Selzer told the Des Moines Register. “It says to me there are people who are paying attention. Again, in a field this big, that’s step one. First, you have to get people to pay attention.”

Pete Buttigieg may be the “phenom” of the race. In March, he was at only 1%; but he is now at 14%, very nearly matching Warren. However, fully 28% of those polled say that his sexual preference would be a disadvantage; while 62% say it makes no difference.

Another factor that may surface during the campaign is the fact that all of the top-runners at the moment are white. Only 25%of those polled see that as an advantage, while 12% say it’s a disadvantage and 56% say it makes no difference.

Research contact: @DMRegister