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Boulton's exit leaves Iowa governor candidates scrambling

Following the abrupt departure of one leading candidate, the five remaining Democrats running for governor are scrambling in the final days before Iowa's June 5 primary.

Posted: May 27, 2018 11:06 PM
Updated: May 28, 2018 6:27 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As the Democratic primary race for Iowa governor heads into its final week before the June 5 election, there's plenty of uncertainty and scrambling following state Sen. Nate Boulton's abrupt departure from the contest.

The eventual nominee will attempt to unseat Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is facing her first bid to be governor after serving the remaining term of former Gov. Terry Branstad, now U.S. ambassador to China.

Here's a look at where the race stands:

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BOULTON DEPARTURE

The race has been in a state of flux since The Des Moines Register reported last week that three women alleged Boulton, a Des Moines attorney, touched them inappropriately in incidents dating back more than a decade.

Within a day of the allegations being published, Boulton announced he'd suspended his campaign, creating an opportunity for the five remaining candidates to appeal to voters who had suddenly lost their first choice.

More than 13,500 Democrats had cast early votes by Wednesday, the day the Register report was published. That's the equivalent of about 18 percent of turnout in the 2014 and 2010 Democratic primaries. It's unclear how many of those early voters cast their ballots for Boulton, considered one of the leading candidates and whose name will remain on the ballot.

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DIFFERENT VIEWPOINTS

As Boulton supporters survey their remaining options, they'll have a range of candidates to choose among.

Perceived front-runner Fred Hubbell, a retired businessman who has highlighted his private sector work and philanthropic contributions, has argued he has the most resources to take on Reynolds. He's raised the most money — in part by donating millions of his personal wealth — and has used the financial advantage to flood television and radio airwaves for months.

A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll conducted in mid-May showed three-fifths of Boulton's supporters had a favorable view of Hubbell and one-fifth said Hubbell is the most likely to defeat Reynolds.

Union leader Cathy Glasson is expected to appeal to labor supporters who lined up behind Boulton, as well as those who favor progressive priorities such enacting a $15 hourly minimum wage. Some activists expressed a belief that voters may be more interested in a female candidate after the allegations against Boulton, which could help the women in the race, Glasson and physician Andy McGuire.

Longtime party activist John Norris and former Iowa City mayor Ross Wilburn have also prioritized issues that could appeal to Boulton's supporters.

___

STATE CONVENTION

Unless a candidate wins 35 percent of the primary vote, state law requires that the nomination be determined by delegates at a state convention.

The convention process involves old school political strategy — similar to Iowa's precinct caucuses in the presidential primaries — where candidates try to position their supporters as delegates and lobby others to change their allegiances.

Such backroom deals among highly engaged party activists could lessen the advantage Hubbell has gained from his television and radio ads and result in a candidate gaining the nomination who received fewer votes in the primary. The Register/Mediacom poll showed Hubbell with 31 percent of the vote, followed by Boulton with 20 percent.

Boulton's exit could give Hubbell the extra votes he needs to exceed the 35 percent threshold, but if it goes to a convention there are recent examples of the top vote-getter not winning the nomination.

That's what happened in 2014, when the Republican 3rd District Congressional nomination went to a convention and delegates chose David Young, who had finished fifth in a six-way primary. Young went on to win the general election.

GOP Rep. Steve King followed a similar path to Congress in a four-way race in 2002, though he also placed first in the primary.

Other races this cycle — including a five-way Republican primary for secretary of agriculture and closely watched Democratic congressional contests — also could go to a convention.

___

WHAT'S NEXT?

Expect a last-minute scramble among the remaining campaigns for Boulton's supporters. Even those who have already voted can volunteer and make donations. That outreach could involve one-on-one pitches, phone calls and other communication.

Some of Boulton's labor support came from key groups like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61 and the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. They have not indicated publicly if they will endorse another candidate before the primary.

Candidates will participate in a final televised debate on Wednesday, giving would-be voters a new look at the redrawn race.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 610839

Reported Deaths: 7749
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1266401800
Ramsey53172911
Dakota47328475
Anoka43323465
Washington27717296
Stearns22703227
St. Louis18297319
Scott17719139
Wright16561153
Olmsted13549103
Sherburne1215696
Carver1075749
Clay829692
Rice8261111
Blue Earth771944
Crow Wing689599
Kandiyohi670885
Chisago627654
Otter Tail591187
Benton586698
Goodhue486174
Douglas479281
Mower478233
Winona464652
Itasca463168
Isanti446667
McLeod435161
Morrison428462
Beltrami410763
Nobles410150
Steele401419
Polk390772
Becker389457
Lyon365554
Carlton356958
Freeborn352134
Pine337823
Nicollet334545
Mille Lacs315456
Brown308840
Le Sueur300127
Cass288633
Todd288633
Meeker266244
Waseca241023
Martin237233
Roseau212421
Wabasha20843
Hubbard198341
Dodge19023
Renville183946
Redwood178541
Houston175916
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165223
Fillmore159710
Faribault157220
Chippewa154138
Pennington153920
Kanabec148028
Sibley147410
Aitkin139437
Watonwan13629
Rock129219
Jackson123112
Pipestone117226
Yellow Medicine115420
Pope11406
Swift107618
Murray107410
Koochiching96819
Stevens92611
Clearwater89317
Marshall88917
Lake84520
Wilkin84013
Lac qui Parle76122
Big Stone6094
Grant5958
Lincoln5863
Mahnomen5669
Norman5509
Kittson49122
Unassigned48793
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3484
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 374664

Reported Deaths: 6109
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58891646
Linn21448342
Scott20426250
Black Hawk16680319
Woodbury15319230
Johnson1473686
Dubuque13595213
Dallas1144099
Pottawattamie11307177
Story1082848
Warren592092
Clinton564393
Cerro Gordo562297
Webster538996
Sioux519174
Muscatine4920106
Marshall491479
Des Moines478275
Jasper452073
Wapello4366123
Buena Vista431040
Plymouth404982
Lee392658
Marion369177
Jones301257
Henry301037
Bremer292763
Carroll286252
Boone271234
Crawford270841
Benton262755
Washington259851
Dickinson250745
Mahaska232551
Jackson225842
Kossuth219166
Clay217327
Tama213372
Delaware211743
Winneshiek200636
Buchanan196734
Page195422
Cedar192923
Hardin191144
Wright189140
Fayette188243
Hamilton186851
Harrison181973
Clayton173057
Butler167835
Madison167719
Floyd164642
Mills163824
Cherokee161538
Lyon160941
Poweshiek159036
Allamakee155552
Hancock153134
Iowa148324
Winnebago145731
Calhoun143113
Cass140855
Grundy139333
Emmet136741
Jefferson134535
Sac132620
Shelby131838
Louisa130249
Union129535
Appanoose128049
Franklin127823
Mitchell127243
Chickasaw125717
Guthrie124532
Humboldt124526
Palo Alto114924
Montgomery106738
Howard105322
Clarke102424
Monroe100633
Keokuk99932
Ida92735
Adair89632
Davis86825
Pocahontas86822
Monona85931
Greene79111
Osceola79017
Lucas77423
Worth7568
Taylor67112
Decatur6629
Fremont64810
Ringgold56824
Van Buren56718
Wayne56323
Audubon52913
Adams3494
Unassigned90
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