Interestingly, The Des Moines Register endorsed Ed Fallon over incumbent Dem Leonard Boswell, writing that “Boswell’s own record of accomplishment in a dozen years in Congress is relatively light, and, in a recent meeting with the editorial board, he seemed out of touch about some serious issues facing the country.” Then this:
One example: Boswell expressed skepticism about the financial problems facing Medicare, asking what economists the Register had consulted to conclude the health-care program was in fiscal trouble. It’s hardly an issue for debate. The Medicare Board of Trustees has issued numerous reports outlining the trust fund’s looming deficits. David Walker, former comptroller general, has expressed concerns about projected Medicare spending. Yet Boswell talked about further studying the issue rather than proposing how to address it.
On immigration, he suggested that undocumented immigrants should go back to their home countries and “get in line” for a chance to come here. That’s hardly realistic considering there are an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
When asked about Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s prediction the previous day that most American troops could be home from Iraq by 2013, Boswell seemed unaware of McCain’s statement. When asked about education in Iowa, Boswell said the state does “pretty good.” And when asked what he based that on, he said Iowa’s history and his own experience. But Iowa’s educational system – not to mention the world economy – looks nothing like it did in Boswell’s childhood.
This seems to be a pretty accurate portrayal of Boswell. Before I interviewed him about his support for the Kucinich impeachment bill in March, he held a press conference with Senator Tom Harkin on clean energy. Harkin did the majority of the speaking, and when Boswell did speak he had a lot of vague policy proposals and “let the scientists do their work” type of rhetoric.
Predictably, the Boswell camp went after Fallon in a series of mailers and, now, a television commercial, primarily over Fallon’s past support for Ralph Nader. Fallon has continued to drill Boswell on his support for a variety of Republican-backed legislation.
Recently, a 527 headed by Red Brannan — a developer who Bleeding Heartland writes stands to gain from a Boswell reelection — sent out a couple mailers about Fallon’s lone vote against a sex offender bill in the Statehouse. The problem is, the bill mandated residency restrictions for sex offenders that have been widely criticized by the law enforcement community. The Register went as far as to praise Fallon for the no-vote in its endorsement of the candidate.
This is going to be a tough primary for Fallon, and I suspect it may come down to Boswell’s vastly larger war chest funded primary from PAC money that Fallon has always refused to accept. I also suspect — and this is mostly speculation — that, based on my interpretation of Boswell’s primary campaign, although he knew Fallon might challenge him he was ill-prepared to run against a Democrat to his left and it shows.
So, I don’t believe that the April KCCI poll that had Boswell up 24 points will turn out to be a reliable indicator of tomorrow’s results. I think Fallon might pull this thing off, especially if The Register’s endorsement provides any bump, but this is a hard one to predict.