And I don’t feel I know a lot about the candidates. I’m a Democrat, so if I vote (spoiler alert, I’m usually a voter) it will mostly be to settle the 1st District races for Congress in my district.
But, for whom should I vote? Honestly, the five candidates all seem to be fairly decent, and fairly close to each other. Here are my impressions:
• Dave O’Brien. An attorney from Cedar Rapids. Seems to be a decent liberal guy.
• Pat Murphy. The former speaker of the Iowa House (back when Democrats controlled it) from Dubuque. Seems to be a decent guy.
• Monica Vernon. A member of the Cedar Rapids City Council. Became a Democrat within the past decade.
• Swati Dandekar. A former State Representative and Senator from Marion. I kind of like Swati. She’s done well as a public servant, and she seems to have her head on straight.
• Anesa Kajtazovic. A State Representative from Waterloo. Seems like a decently interesting liberal Democrat.
Whom to choose? To be honest, I’m not sure it says anything good about me and my level of civic engagement, but here is my decision-making steps:
1) I am going to vote for a woman. Sorry, Pat and Dave. If I were to choose between you, I’d probably forgive Pat for the green color scheme of his web site and go with him, just because he seems to have a more solid political background. I’m not exactly enamored of career politicians, but I don’t hate them (if I did, I’d be a Republican with a problem because most competent Republicans are career politicians). Yet, this year, I really want to send a lady to Congress. It’s sexist of me, I know, but I’m tired of Iowa being the only state besides Mississippi that hasn’t elected a woman to a high office, and I don’t want our first woman in Congress to be Joni Ernst.
2) I am not going to vote for Monica Vernon. She has both the strongest ups and downs, for me. I like her work on the Cedar Rapids City Council, but I do have a Monica problem. She seems very much a part of the Powers That Be in Cedar Rapids, and CR Powers That Be seem to be a cliquey bunch. Yeah, I know, that’s not much of a policy difference, and policy should trump personality in politics (I’d rather vote for the scoundrel who will administer and govern well then the saint who has terrible governmental ideas). It’s just that policy doesn’t seem to do much for me in differentiating this particular field, and Monica just doesn’t do it for me. And the late conversion is a bit of an issue for me. She became a party member after the first Obama election—how does one stay a Republican under President Shrub?
3) So I’m left choosing between two Eurasian immigrants, imports from the world’s largest continent: Swati Dandekar and Anesa Kajtazovic. There, I have a problem becasue I like them both. Unlike some Democrats, I don’t feel too betrayed because Swati quit the Iowa Senate to join a utility board, putting control of the Senate up for grabs. It doesn’t give me warm feelings, but it just doesn’t seem like a horrible betrayal, either. Anesa is a bit of an unknown to me. But, she speaks well, has interesting ideas, and I do like the idea of the first lady Congresswoman from Iowa being 27—not because there’s anything magic about 27, but the reality is that Congressional seats are sometimes held for decades and sometimes are steps on the rungs to higher office.
So, there you have it. The Gazette went for Monica, but for reasons that I don’t consider very deep or grand or glorious, if I vote today, it’ll be for the lady from Waterloo.
On the other hand, if the lady from Cedar Rapids or Marion wins, so be it. Frankly, if the guy from Cedar Rapids or Dubuque wins, it’s pretty much a slam dunk that he would earn my vote in November.
Any of them could, and probably would. I suppose that’s a good thing.