State Rep. Tyler Olson (D) hired Democratic operative Alex Youn as his campaign manager. Youn has worked in Ohio, Indiana and Iowa, including on John Edwards’ presidential campaign in 2008. Olson statement: “I’m thrilled to have someone with Alex’s talent and experience leading my team. … It’s time for a fresh approach to leadership in Iowa. I look forward to continuing to talk to voters throughout the state about my vision to begin Iowa’s next 30 years.” (Des Moines Register)
ABORTION RIGHTS FIGHT. State GOP chair A.J. Spiker attacked Olson and state Sen. Jack Hatch (D) “for standing by while a woman prayed for continued access to abortion during a political rally in the Capitol last week.” Spiker called the prayer “sick, twisted and disgusting” and and said in a statement, “If this is what Olson and Hatch think will help them in their race to defeat Terry Branstad in 2014, then it shows just how unbelievably out of touch they are with everyday Iowans and how poorly they’re going to perform come election time.” The rally’s purpose “was specifically to defend legal access to abortion.”
Hatch “was unapologetic about attending the rally, but said he and other lawmakers had no knowledge of what would be said” in the invocation. Hatch: “We certainly don’t have any power, nor should we, to restrict what a prayer is. … We were there to support the position that the medical board should follow the rules for dispersing prescription drugs as they do for dozens of other procedures through telemedicine.”
Olson: “I believe that the decision should not be made at state Capitol. It should be made between a woman, her doctor, her family, her faith community, whoever she wants to include in that. … That’s my position, it has been my position, it will be my position and I don’t speak for anybody else.” (Des Moines Register)
— Julie Sobel
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Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chair, announced he's pulling out of the running to regain the chairman's post. Dean "announced in a pre-recorded video to a conference of state Democratic chairs that he would step aside to allow for a new face to lead the party as it seeks to rebuild."
"Once again, businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein has come through for the National Park Service. This time, he's pledged funding needed to modernize the Washington Monument's elevator-- but the monument will remain closed until 2019 while repairs and improvements are underway. Rubenstein's donation of between $2-3 million, announced Friday, will correct those ongoing elevator issues, which have shuttered the monument since August 17."
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
Bill Schuette, Michigan's attorney general, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state to halt the recount of the state's voting results. The recount was elected by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Schuette says the recount shouldn't occur because Stein cited no evidence of voter fraud or tabulation error.
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.