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.

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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.

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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

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Confirmed Cases: 24190

Reported Deaths: 1036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin8181606
Ramsey2863122
Stearns201413
Nobles15125
Anoka136370
Dakota126354
Washington61731
Olmsted60810
Kandiyohi4901
Rice4522
Clay42426
Scott4082
Todd3130
Wright3051
Mower3031
Sherburne2372
Carver2062
Benton1753
Steele1590
Blue Earth1380
Martin1295
St. Louis11814
Freeborn1150
Pine890
Nicollet8610
Unassigned8610
Winona7915
Carlton730
Watonwan710
Cottonwood700
Crow Wing682
Goodhue663
Otter Tail640
Chisago611
Polk612
Itasca5410
Dodge520
Chippewa491
Lyon490
Morrison450
Meeker450
Le Sueur441
Douglas410
Becker390
Jackson390
Murray390
McLeod340
Isanti320
Waseca260
Rock220
Mille Lacs191
Faribault180
Swift180
Wabasha180
Fillmore171
Pennington170
Sibley160
Brown152
Beltrami140
Cass132
Norman130
Pipestone120
Kanabec111
Wilkin113
Marshall100
Pope90
Wadena90
Aitkin80
Koochiching70
Yellow Medicine60
Mahnomen61
Lincoln50
Renville50
Big Stone40
Grant40
Red Lake40
Redwood40
Clearwater30
Hubbard30
Traverse30
Lac qui Parle30
Roseau30
Houston20
Lake10
Kittson10
Stevens10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19217

Reported Deaths: 531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4160125
Woodbury274034
Black Hawk173944
Linn94976
Dallas89220
Marshall89216
Buena Vista7350
Johnson6149
Wapello5589
Muscatine55641
Crawford5142
Tama40227
Scott35810
Dubuque34518
Louisa34311
Jasper26116
Pottawattamie2578
Sioux2190
Washington1888
Wright1670
Plymouth1292
Warren1260
Allamakee1204
Story1091
Mahaska9310
Poweshiek908
Henry711
Bremer696
Des Moines621
Clinton611
Boone610
Taylor540
Clarke530
Guthrie503
Cedar461
Benton411
Webster391
Monroe385
Shelby370
Jones360
Hamilton350
Clayton343
Iowa330
Buchanan330
Osceola330
Marion320
Cerro Gordo281
Cherokee280
Madison282
Fayette270
Lee250
Winneshiek240
Monona240
Jefferson230
Harrison220
Davis210
Lyon210
Dickinson200
Grundy200
Mills190
Floyd191
Sac180
Humboldt170
Lucas170
Hardin160
Hancock160
Delaware150
Keokuk150
Clay150
Appanoose153
Butler151
Emmet140
Ida140
Page130
Greene130
Franklin130
Cass120
Howard120
Audubon121
Jackson120
Winnebago110
Pocahontas110
Chickasaw100
Carroll90
Van Buren90
Adair90
Kossuth90
Union70
Adams70
Montgomery70
Palo Alto60
Unassigned60
Fremont40
Mitchell40
Ringgold40
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Calhoun20
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