Johnson County’s Potluck Insurgency stirs up recipe for Iowa Democratic success | Govt. & Politics

“The whole thing is sort of tough love,” said Weiner, a former member of the Democratic State Central Committee. “We need a strong state party and we need all these grassroots groups working together to help mobilize people.”

For starters, they were “super impressed” with the 2020 candidates, Silliman said.

“They were just excellent, well-matched to their districts, articulate, intelligent, hardworking,” she said. “So it was very clear that candidate recruitment was not the issue.”

Democrats were outspent by Republicans in some cases, but money was not an issue, the team agreed.

Major themes from their interviews was the lack of year-round organizing and the party’s top-down messaging that didn’t necessarily speak to issues in individual races, Cook said.

“We need to get away from this boom-or-bust cycle that’s driven by the election cycle every two years or even more to the point, every four years because of the impact that presidential politics has here in Iowa,” she said.

Year-round organizing goes hand-in-hand with another theme that came out of the interviews — the Iowa Democratic Party’s top-down messaging isn’t resonating with voters, added Prineas.

“We have a disconnect between these excellent candidates and the messages they’re trying to deliver,” Prineas said. “If messaging is being created by focus groups and polling centered in Des Moines, what does that have to say to Cedar County? Probably not a lot.

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