by Jason Frerichs
Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of a private citizen. The Iowa Democratic Party is neutral and had no part in the writing of this article. Progressive Voices of Iowa does not have any affiliation with any political party.
Iowa Starting Line recently published an article about the candidates that have announced their intentions to run for governor. While she hasn’t officially announced, one of the worst kept secrets in the state is that Dr. McGuire will most likely run for governor. She stepped down from her position as the IDP Chair in January. Iowa Starting Line also suggested that a lot of activists will take issue with some of the underhanded tactics employed by Dr. McGuire. This is a huge understatement. She treated the Bernie Sanders National delegation extremely poorly. In a state where Bernie and Hillary ended up in a statistical tie, nominating someone who helped sow seeds of division would show that we learned nothing from the 2016 shellacking. Dr. McGuire also oversaw Iowa turning into a red state. In 2016, the Democrats only won 6 out of 99 counties. Dubuque went red for the first time since 1968. Is that the type of leadership we want running for governor? PVI spoke with several of the Bernie Sanders delegates to get their take the actions of Dr. McGuire.
Ingrid Olson wrote the following statement, “HRC fans have been posting about Trump being a bully. Hi pot, meet kettle. HRC fans vilified a man that was an outright hero to virtually half of the Democratic Party. HRC supporters bullied and intimidated Bernie Sanders supporters at the Democratic National Convention—and don’t tell me it didn’t happen. I was in the middle of it and what should have been one of the best experiences of my life was one of the grossest experiences of my life. So yes, DNC I blame you.”
According to some of the delegates PVI spoke with, Dr. McGuire helped create an atmosphere of disrespect, where bullying of Sanders delegates was tolerated. Jesica Butler told PVI that Dr. McGuire threatened her with secret service if she didn’t stop holding up signs that she did not approve of. She also stated that she was physically pushed out of the way by Clinton delegates during the roll call. One of the other delegates gave a statement but asked that their name not be used to prevent any kind of retaliation. This delegate stated, “There was much dissension among the Iowa delegation. There were simple things that could have been done by the chair, who headed the delegation, to alleviate much of the dissension. She seemed too pained by the presence of dissension to act. A Governor must be a trusted and sure leader, someone who can bring people who disagree together to solve problems. I don’t think McGuire possess that skill set.”
Jennifer Gernhart confirmed Jesica Butler’s statement about being pushed out of the way. She tried to speak to Dr. McGuire about her concerns. Ms. Gernhart issued the following statement, “I also personally tried speaking to her at one point during the convention. I was five feet away but separated by a few rows of empty chairs. She turned away and wouldn’t look in my direction. Just flat ignored me. I knocked on at least 500 doors and made over 1000 calls for Bernie in the primary. I also knocked doors and made phone calls for Kim Weaver and Helen Miller in the general election. After witnessing first-hand the way Dr. McGuire encouraged disrespect and division at the national convention, not to mention her hand in Iowa being the reddest it has been in my lifetime, I will NOT support her run. I will knock on zero doors and make exactly zero phone calls on her behalf. I seriously hope that the beating we took in November is enough for us to run someone who inspires hope and a unifying message, in other words, not McGuire.”
Chris Laursen from Ottumwa issued the following statement. “The IDP delegation did not inform the Sanders delegates that Bernie would be speaking at Thursday’s breakfast. A lot of us were not attending the breakfast each morning because of the treatment we received. So they kept it quiet to serve as a punishment for not falling in line. They knew every single one of us would have attended had we known Bernie was going to be there.” Chris also related a story about holding up a signed that read, “No Oligarchy.” He stated that 6 members of Obama’s secretary team blocked him, batted at this sign, and said that his actions were illegal and that if he persisted that they would take his sign from him and if he held up another non-DNC approved sign then he would be removed from the convention hall. Laursen would have none of it. He informed his detractors that the sign was his personal property and that he had a first amendment right to assemble and free speech. Laursen, undeterred, stood yards away from the president with his sign during the entire speech. He said at the end of Obama’s speech he left. As he walked out he took the credentials from around his neck and handed them to then IDP chair McGuire.
The point of this article is not to drum up bad blood over last year’s primary. It’s not to denigrate HRC supporters because we all know many wonderful people who were (still are) die-hard HRC supporters. The purpose of this article is to tell the complete story of who Andy McGuire the candidate is. It’s to give voters all the information so they can make an informed choice during next year’s primary. Iowa is still divided into Bernie and Hillary factions. The actions Dr. McGuire has taken have played a large role in exacerbating this divide. Iowa deserves better. We cannot repeat the mistakes of 2016 by forcing a flawed candidate upon the voters. We have some excellent candidates for governor. Dr. McGuire is not one of them.
Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party Progressive Caucus