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Amanda Ragan vs Shannon Latham election: Was stronger candidate Steve Minert sidelined by GOP insiders’ financial threat?

This news story was published on July 25, 2018.
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MASON CITY – Should political party operatives in Des Moines determine general election nominees using their bulging bank accounts before primaries are even held?

Linda Upmeyer, Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, seems to think such shenanigans are wrong, as do other North Iowa Republican players.

NIT has learned that Republicans in Cerro Gordo, Butler and Franklin counties are are questioning what they claim are the heavy-handed actions of some Des Moines-based GOP operatives, which, these activists tell NIT, will cost their party its best chance ever to oust longtime liberal state Senator Amanda Ragan. Republicans complained to NIT that clandestine decisions made by Capitol City honchos sidelined a prospective nominee who many say would have retired Ragan.

Shannon Latham
(via social media)

The intra-party feud began in early February, when GOP activists and donors complained that the campaign of the only declared Republican, Shannon Latham, wasn’t getting off the ground. Things worsened days later, when Republicans in Des Moines warned that anyone who jumped into the race would face an onslaught of GOP cash, the purpose of which would protect Latham’s candidacy. Senator Ragan has benefitted from relatively unknown, underfunded Republican opponents in her last five elections, NIT is told by local Republicans. They’re irked that, in their opinion, this year’s GOP nominee will be easy pickings for Ragan. interviewed a number of political activists – Democrats and Republicans – who live in Senate district #27, which encompasses the three counties. Given the toxicity of today’s political environment, some of those interviewed spoke only on condition of anonymity.’s longstanding policy is to always protect its sources, so the confidentiality they imposed will be honored.

It wasn’t hard to make this case, GOP insiders told NIT, that Mrs. Latham’s campaign is struggling, and has been from the time she announced her candidacy in November of 2017. The Latham for Iowa Senate committee still lacks a full-time campaign manager, a Finance director, an Organization coordinator, or even one full-time staffer to handle media, fundraising, scheduling, PR, and other essential components to a successful candidacy. The GOP political operative assigned to her campaign by the Des Moines shot-callers, Eddie Failor, also provides assistance to at least five other candidates, according to knowledgeable GOP sources who contacted These Republicans told NIT that Latham won’t campaign full-time, which, political professionals say, is mandatory when running against any incumbent.

Republicans also complain about Latham’s apparent lack of ability to raise funds on her own, or to invest much of her own money in her candidacy. According to documents filed online with the Iowa Ethics Commission, Ms. Latham has raised $32,799, of which just $6,000 is her money. Also, north Iowa GOP activists claim, most of her fundraising was coordinated by the same Des Moines-based Republicans who “railroaded” their choice for the party’s nomination. All of these Republicans also claim that man they favored would likely have defeated Senator Ragan, and several Democrats agree with that.


North Iowa Republicans seeking Legislative seats, and many who seek lower offices, almost always raise substantially more funds than Latham has thus far. In 2014, Republican Casey Callanan – seeking to represent one-third of the residents of Cerro Gordo county on the Board of Supervisors – had already raised nearly $36,000 three months before the June Primary. None of his money came from Political Action Committees; all emanated from individual donors.

Given that the 59,000 Iowans Latham seeks to represent in District #27 equals four times the number of constituents in Mr. Callanan’s district, it wasn’t unreasonable, Republicans claim, for her to have raised at least $144,000 on her own, for her campaign, before March 1st.

Senator Amanda Ragan

In Amanda Ragan’s five victories for the Iowa Senate, she has consistently outraised and outspent her opponents. The same is true of state Representative Sharon Steckman, a Democrat, and Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, another Republican. Normally, incumbents substantially outraise and outspend their opponents. However, it was thought that Latham – who, along with her husband, owns Latham Hi-Tech Seed co., inc., in Alexander – would generously help to self-finance her campaign. This has so far not proved to be the case, and it has GOP donors extremely upset.

NOTE: NIT reached out to the Latham campaign with questions prior to the publication of this story and received no response. Additionally, NIT reached out to Eddie Failor, who did not respond.


In addition to her problems with fundraising and getting organized, Republicans say that beating Ragan requires an opponent with a strong “reach” into Mason City and Clear Lake. Ms. Latham lacks this, Conservatives claim, and they may be right. By not stepping aside, they say, she prevented an eminently electable, wealthy Republican from entering the race when there still was time to replace her as the nominee.

Insiders tell NIT that to stand a chance of beating Ragan, any Republican must win at least 40 percent of the votes in Mason City and carry Clear Lake with at least 55 percent. In 2014, Ragan won 74 percent of the Mason City vote and 57 percent in Clear Lake. According to a respected political source who spoke with NIT, “there’s no chance whatsoever of Mrs. Latham exceeding 35 percent of the votes in Mason City, and she won’t win Clear Lake.”

In 2014, Ragan defeated Republican Shawn Dietz by 12,898 votes to 10,012. Had 1,445 votes flipped, Dietz would have won. When all of the campaign spending, including PAC money and coordinated advertising expenditures, party contributions, Labor-directed advertising and AFSCME’s Get-Out-The-Vote efforts are taken into account, Ragan outspent Dietz by more than 10 to one.


Steve Minert

Reliable sources contacted by NIT say that Republican Stephen A. Minert wanted to enter the race in mid February, which Minert confirmed. But he and his supporters learned that if he did, these GOP operatives in Des Moines, who desperately wanted a female candidate, threatened to spend funds from the Senate Majority Fund (a Republican PAC) to lift Latham’s fledgling campaign over the finish line. Minert, who co-owns Harley-Davidson dealerships in Mason City and Charles City, lives in Clear Lake.

Mr. Minert is also a generous philanthropist who pilots his own planes and has a private hangar at the Mason City airport. He was willing to fund his candidacy with $150,000. These funds would have been from Minert himself and his supporters. Political observers say that as a Clear Lake resident who works in Mason City, Minert personifies the kind of opponent that Ragan feared, and for good reasons.

Minert is the chairman of the Cerro Gordo county Compensation Board, which sets the salaries and benefits of every elected official in the county. He was appointed to the Comp Board in 2015 by two Democrats and a Republican, which supporters tell NIT proves his bipartisan appeal. Upon learning that the GOP’s Senate Majority Fund PAC would use its money to protect Mrs. Latham, Minert reluctantly declined to run. Mr. Minert had also planned to campaign on a full-time basis after the June 5 Primary.

Eddie Failor
(Facebook image)

Mr. Minert told NIT that, “Last Fall, a Republican campaign operative [Eddie Failor] drove up from Des Moines to discuss my prospective candidacy. This guy spent the better part of an entire day with me. Then, in February, he said that if I ran, funds raised by GOP state Senators would be used against me in the Primary. In June, in my office, he said that the Republican Majority Fund will spend $500,000 this Fall to defeat Senator Ragan.”

In a follow-up conversation with Mr. Minert, he didn’t seem disappointed, bitter, or angry. However, his awareness of what can occur behind the scenes is unappealing to him.

“The threat came from Senator Bill Dix and his staffer, a kid named Eddy Failor,” a close associate of the Cerro Gordo county Republican Central Committee told NIT. “We were offended, and still are. It’s not fair for party professionals to take sides in a Primary. Republican money shouldn’t be used to favor one candidate over another.” Another GOP activist said, “shame on Latham for letting the folks down in Des Moines bully Stevie out of this race.”


NIT also spoke to Democrats, one of whom had served in county office in Cerro Gordo county for decades. Speaking anonymously, this Democrat said, “Shannon Latham is Amanda’s ‘escape hatch’. She’s every Democrat’s dream opponent. Every Democrat I spoke to, and this includes Amanda, herself, feared Minert. He’d have appealed to blue-collar workers, Union members, working class voters and Independents, who normally vote Democratic. It’s also worth mentioning that Steve’s got a strong base in Mason City and he’d have won Clear Lake outright. Against Steve, Amanda would’ve lost too many voters in Cerro Gordo county to have pulled it out.”

The fact that Minert was willing to contribute $150,000 of his own and supporters’ money to his campaign to get it off the ground and campaign full-time has Republican donors even more displeased. Latham, conversely, has written checks totaling $6,000 to her campaign committee. Another Republican told NIT, “Minert was gonna campaign full-time from June until election day. Shannon won’t do that.”


Barb Hovland

NIT contacted Barb Hovland, who is the chair of the Cerro Gordo county Republican Central committee, to weigh in on this matter. In a text message conversation, NIT asked Mrs. Hovland if it “would be accurate to write that you would favor the strongest possible GOP candidate” to run against Ragan. Mrs. Hovland’s response was, “Yes.”

Considering that every Republican and each Democrat NIT interviewed said Minert would have been Amanda Ragan’s strongest opponent, it seems apparent that Hovland also favored Minert over Latham as the GOP nominee.

Todd Blodgett

On Wednesday, July 18, contacted Todd Blodgett, whose family has been synonymous with north Iowa GOP politics for over 50 years, for his view. “Shannon would make a superb state Senator,” Mr. Blodgett said. “She’d vote the right way, and her private sector know-how is sorely needed in our state government. She’s not a career politician, and voters are tired of professional politicians.” When asked about the concerns his fellow Republicans are expressing about Mrs. Latham, Blodgett said, “have a nice day”, and hung up.


What truly irks Republicans is that Minert wasn’t offered any financial help from the Des Moines-based GOP operatives who promised to float Latham’s campaign. The $150,000 in start-up funds for Minert’s campaign committee would have been his. By contrast, Latham benefitted from an explicit threat made by GOP functionaries to protect her candidacy with money from the Senate Majority Fund, against Minert, who is universally viewed as highly electable.

A Mason City Republican told NIT that there’s much more to this story. “I know, from talking to Barb Hovland,” this Republican said, “that Stevie, and the Blodgetts, and lots of other Republicans here are really [expletive] [expletive] over this heavy-handed meddling by Failor and Bill Dix. “But God put Dix in his place. He made sure he’d get caught smooching that lady in that bar. Stevie would’ve beat Amanda, and Shannon can’t.”

(Photo via Iowa Senate Republicans)

NOTE to Readers: state Senator Bill Dix abruptly resigned from his office in March, after videotape surfaced of him apparently kissing a female lobbyist in a Des Moines tavern. His successor, Sen. Jack Whitver, stepped into the campaign chief role formerly filled by Dix.

Edward Failor works full-time as an organizer for the Des Moines-based Senate Majority Fund. As earlier reported by NIT, Minert confirmed that Failor was in North Iowa last Fall to spend time with Minert, who was then seriously considering seeking the District #27 seat. In late November, however, Minert announced he wouldn’t be running, citing concerns over the health of a close family member. But by January, those concerns had been allayed, and Republicans implored Minert to enter the race.



Republicans had speculated that Linda Upmeyer may have played a role in determining who the GOP nominee would be, as early as last Fall. Mrs. Upmeyer, whose House district includes Clear Lake, also lives in Senate district #27.

But what could motivate Upmeyer to knowingly recruit and support a candidate who is regarded as weak by GOP voters in the county which comprises nearly two-thirds of ALL voters in district #27? According to yet another local GOP insider, the reason is that “these people want candidates they can control. If they get elected, they’ll be under the control of the same people who ran their campaign. Shannon has no money to speak of, or, so she says. But Steve is a multimillionaire; he runs dealerships and he’s used to calling the shots. That’s your answer.”

Speaker Upmeyer returned a call to the NIT newsroom, and adamantly denied any involvement whatsoever in this campaign.

“My policy is not to get in primary races for the House. We never get involved. We do offer advice. I would be disappointed if this happened. I just want the district’s voters to decide.”


On April 6, Shannon Latham attended NIACC’s annual awards luncheon, where Steve Minert was honored as NIACC’s Outstanding Alumnus of 2018, where Minert addressed 240 attendees.

NIACC’s Andrea Mujica and others said Mr. Minert’s speech was very well-received by 240 attendees.

NIT attempted a dialogue with Shannon Latham and our outreach was not responded to.


Todd Blodgett

Every Republican we spoke with said that the plan was for Mr. Blodgett to have managed Minert’s campaign. Mr. Minert confirmed this, and Blodgett – while not very forthcoming – did not deny it. Two Democrats told NIT the same thing, and everyone agrees, that Blodgett would’ve put, and kept, Ragan on the defensive for the entire time.

The record bears this out, as every candidate Blodgett has ever assisted – including Democrats like the late Alex Kuhn, City Councilman Paul Adams, Mason city School Board member Jodi Draper, former Supervisors Cerro Gordo Jay Urdahl and Phil Dougherty, and others – has won.

“Todd ran his dad’s campaigns for the Legislature back in the 1990s, and he ran Casey Callanan’s race for county Supervisor in 2014,” a Thornton Democrat told us on July 14. “Todd strategized and raised money for Democrats he supported, and whenever he was involved, regardless of party, his people won. Every single time, every single race. Blodgett’s dad, Gary, and Casey Callanan each wiped out two other Republicans in their Primary. They then went on to win in the fall. Todd’s work for Casey was so effective that NO ONE even considered challenging him this year. Callanan’s home free, largely thanks to Todd. Had Steve Minert been the nominee, with Todd Blodgett running the show, [Ragan] wouldn’t have had a clue about how to respond.”

“Todd always hits hard and he never lets up”, a Swaledale Democrat said. “His all-out attacks on Democrats like Joe LaPointe, Mike Dunn, Doug Nelson, and others, and even on some Republicans like Chris Watts, who Todd worked against in 2012, sealed their fate. Blodgett’s a political hit man, who will smile at you while he slits your throat. All that matters to him is winning. Once Blodgett gets someone in his sights, he brings ‘em down. Every time. I’ve felt his sting, and Todd’s candidates just don’t lose.”

According to articles published by The Washington Post, NEWSDAY, The New York Times, USA Today, The Huffington Post, the Associated Press, Wikipedia, The Des Moines Register, and numerous other sources, Mr. Blodgett learned his skills from the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater, and from President Ronald Reagan, both of whom he was personally close to and worked for, for many years.


A Clear Lake Republican who knows Linda Upmeyer, Shannon Latham, Steve Minert, and Todd Blodgett told NIT that Blodgett offered an amusing perspective on this race. According to her, Blodgett, when told that political operatives in Des Moines wanted Latham to run, Blodgett purportedly replied, ‘Yes, they are Democrats.’” While wrapping up this campaign analysis, again contacted Mr. Blodgett on July 20 to inquire about this claim. “I don’t deny having said that,” Blodgett told NIT. “But I’m disappointed that someone shared what I thought was a private conversation.” When asked to elaborate, Blodgett said, “no comment.”

As word spread that NIT was working on this story, Caleb Hunter, who is the Press Secretary to the Iowa Senate Republicans, reached out via email and phone to NIT to weigh in on the matter. Mr. Hunter confirmed that the information that NIT has gathered is correct. Hunter then revealed that the Senate Majority Fund had “already began to work with Shannon Latham’s campaign and had already invested time and money with Shannon” prior issuing the alleged threat to Minert in early February.


Mr. Hunter then suggested that NIT contact former Senator Bill Dix (and gave NIT Dix’s cell phone number) for further comment. Reached by phone, Dix told NIT on July 25, “After learning that Minert was not going to run, we had made a commitment to Latham and we were not going to go back on that.”

Armed with these revelations, NIT again contacted Mr. Minert to ask him his motivation for seeking office. Minert said, “I’m genuinely concerned about North Central Iowa, and I want to help North Iowans. My son starts college next month, and my daughter graduated college in 2016. She moved away, because of the lack of good job opportunities here. This CAN be fixed, but professional politicians have yet to do it.”

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85 Responses to Amanda Ragan vs Shannon Latham election: Was stronger candidate Steve Minert sidelined by GOP insiders’ financial threat?

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 29, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    I have to wonder if this story would have been up here this long if it dealt with Democrats.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 27, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    This is old news !! Do you have anything new to report !!

  3. Avatar

    LB Sand Reply Report comment

    August 18, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Who knows, maybe Latham will win after all. Trump wasn’t supposed to win either. Ask Hillary.

  4. Avatar

    Charlie Change Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I think it’s time for Amanda Ragan to retire. She has become overly comfortable and complacent in her position to a point where she does not even take time to reply to messages and issues that are being brought fwd. to her. Seems as though it’s more of an “entitlement” rather than actually serving the people. Haven’t seen her spearhead and accomplish any real policies with a huge impact on our community. We need a “go getter” not a place holder. Wanna get out of this stagnant hole we are in than – Retire Sharon Steckman, Retire Amanda Ragan and Retire Pat Wright. Vote for new names and see some progress made. Time for a change.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 16, 2018 at 7:11 pm

      My sentiments exactly as related to Grassley and King.

  5. Avatar

    bodacious Reply Report comment

    August 12, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Maybe the Republicans know that Minert’s association with Harley Davidson would be a negative in Trump’s America. Trump blasts them about once a week.

    • Avatar

      Run BoBo run! Reply Report comment

      August 16, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Hey BoBo, here’s a thought….why don’t you run for the position? You’re good at running your flaps and entertaining us with all of your high wit and intelligence, so you might as well take over for Mandy Ragan. In two weeks time, you’d have the state whipped into shape, then you could come back to NIT and dominate it again. Yes!

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 11, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    The new BLUE WAVE toilet paper in now on sale at Dollar General – stock up liberals/socialists it will be worth something in the LONG RUN.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 7, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    I have known Shannon all her life and your blasting her is just stupid.

  8. Avatar

    bodacious Reply Report comment

    August 5, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    I am not privy to Minert’s problems but I agree that NIT doesn’t want to put those ideas out to their readers. I said before that if one wants to go into politics, then one needs to have a thick skin and needs to be prepared to have their family and friends dragged through the same thing.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 5, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      People like that always forget that the service staff is there while they’re making drunken asses of themselves. The waitstaff sees it all, hears other customers talk about it, then they talk about it, they have internet access, and they vote.

  9. Avatar

    ret'd Goodyear Reply Report comment

    August 3, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Have voted here in Mason since “68” always for Democrats, they are for working people. Lived through Nixon, Ray-gun, the Bush’s, now counting the days til Trump the rump gets beat or better he goes to prison.

    Could not believe when Gary Blodgett got in, all he did down there, he votes to help the rich, crap on the workers. His drug addict problem child has cause trouble for Democrats for way to long, Toddy Boy plays mind game’s is what he does.

    One thing always notice, no Republitard wins Cerro gordo unless the Blodgett’s are for that one. I do think Minert would of beat Amanda, good thing this Latham lady is running. I for one am glad, the Republitards are being dumb.

  10. Avatar

    MAGA MAN Reply Report comment

    July 31, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I really do think Minert would have beat old Reagan this time around. He has the connections and supporters to do it. She’ll easily win this time I guess but that next election going to come up quick then we’ll see.

  11. Avatar

    Another anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Maybe Quinn Symonds, or that Greek from Clear Lake, Leggois. They both tell people they do this.

  12. Avatar

    Laker Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2018 at 7:30 am

    I never heard of this Blodgett character till someone told me he pulled a gun on a carnie that tried to steal his wallet. I think it was at some bar at the Lake a few years back. Townsfolk still talk about that like he’s become a legend or something. I wonder what kind of gun he carries.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 30, 2018 at 8:37 am

      What you have just written is one of the most insanely, idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to a rational thought.

    • Avatar

      Tractor Supply guy Reply Report comment

      July 30, 2018 at 9:06 am

      @ Laker, well your right on some of that Todd is a character, yes. But if he is your friend he has your back, I would not want him mad at me.

      I do know he got robbed I believe 2 or 3 carnies did it up to Rookies. Todd he would never got his money back if he would of not pulled his gun.

      You will have to ask him what kind of gun he carries.

  13. Avatar

    Retired Winnebago Reply Report comment

    July 29, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    @ bodacious, I read alot of politics, I can answer you. A book I like is about Lee Atwater, it is called the Bad Boy. And it is at the Mason library. Atwater was a very talented political dirty trickster guy.

    He said to beat somebody when your own guy has problems you make the opponent look even worse.

    Also said it helps to outspend your opponent like 2-1, 3-1, 4-1.

    I would not have voted Minert, Amanda does good work, she gets my vote. But Lee Atwater knew how to do it. And guess who was his good friend who worked for him and he taught how to do all this?

    Okay, do you see now? I think that was the plan.

    • Avatar

      bodacious Reply Report comment

      July 29, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      I know Mr Blodgett worked for Atwater. I have always imagined that was where his snarkiness came from. Atwater was a nasty character. However, as he approached his death, he softened a bit, admitted he was not a nice person, and apologized for much of the dirty tricks he used in an earlier time. I don’t think Mr Blodgett would do that. He is too much a narcissist.

  14. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 29, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Is that a recent photo of Toddy? I hope he recovers soon.

  15. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 29, 2018 at 8:09 am

    If all these clowns like “Retarded NIACC” don’t like or agree with Todd it just means he is doing everything right.

  16. Avatar

    Retired NIACC Reply Report comment

    July 28, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    It is very telling that most of the pro-Minert posts and the comments by these bigoted Yahoos who defend Mr. Blodgett, are filled with grammatical, spelling, usage, and punctuation errors.

    Hillary Clinton was right when she said that most people who like Donald T Rump are “deplorables”, and this site is jam-packed with mindless Trumpsters who see, in Mr. Minert, the same, right wing, prejudiced nonsense.

    What is even more deplorable is these semi-literate, trigger-happy racists are so ignorant that they don’t realize Amanda looks out for them, with her votes and empathy.

    But stupid is as stupid does.

    • Avatar

      Libertarian Affirmation Reply Report comment

      July 30, 2018 at 5:47 am

      With all due respect (if there’s any to be had), it is a tad condescending to suggest one woman is looking out for the interests of an entire region of “yahoos”. One woman is precisely just that…one woman. She’s neither above, nor below anyone else. The libertarian viewpoint seeks to remove such self appointed “overwatch”, to let people get on with the business of living. While I appreciate your nanny-state gestures, I must refuse them, and send aforementioned Mary Poppins back to her own homestead to pick vegetables and can the fruit, just as everyone else must do. In short…we don’t need her.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 30, 2018 at 7:03 am

        No one, no one at all has respect for a Retarded Gym Teacher who thinks he is better than everyone else. So typical of liberals.

    • Avatar

      Libertarian Affirmation Reply Report comment

      July 30, 2018 at 5:53 am

      On another note…it’s a bit presumptuous on Ms. Latham’s part to pose with an official Iowa flag as if she’s already an elected official. She should remove such deception and blatant copycatting of herself to Kim Reynolds.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 30, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      What you have just written is one of the most insanely, idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to a rational thought.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm

        No one cares what a stuck up retarded gym teacher says.

  17. Avatar

    Todd Blodgett Reply Report comment

    July 28, 2018 at 11:11 am

    In reply to ‘Karen of Mason city’: Much of what you posted is not true. Two carnival workers robbed me, and neither of them was working his way through college. Both were convicted felons, and one of them, a dude named Logan, was sent back to prison after confessing to his crime, and pleading guilty.

    Contrary to your post, I wasn’t drunk at the time I confronted the two thieves. As to your claim that I have an anger management problem … well, maybe. But I’ve never “gone off” on anyone who didn’t deserve it.

    When someone does me wrong, I make them pay – sometimes, very painfully. Sometimes, some folks just need an ‘attitude adjustment’, you know?

    Finally, Karen, if you were correct in alleging that I’ve relied on family “pull” to avoid going to jail, then I’d have never been locked up in ANY jail. But it didn’t work out that way. Back in my misspent youth, and when I was involved with drugs (drug-free now, of ALL illegal drugs, since May, 2006) I was booked into jails in three states and in Washington, D.C.

    The law applies equally to all of us, sweetie.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 29, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      The law doesn’t apply equally to President Trump or his buddies.

  18. Avatar

    Comment Reader Reply Report comment

    July 28, 2018 at 4:53 am

    I am still voting for Ms. Latham because the values she represents are much better than the liberal values that Ragan brings to the office.

    Republicans offer more opportunity for the worker bees than the Dem’s. Freebees, welfare, and more taxes only serve to tear the fabric of society down.

    Ms. Ragan has nothing to offer but “other peoples money” and grief.

    • Avatar

      Comment Reader Reply Report comment

      July 28, 2018 at 4:55 am

      I could have signed this as “Former Democrat” cause it’s true, however I love reading the comments so just sign, Comment Reader.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 28, 2018 at 5:54 am

        Looks like T Rump is proposing more farmers welfare to appease them for the bite his ill conceived tarrif wars is costing the rest of us. New pick ups for all them po white folk! MAGA

  19. Avatar

    Greg Lunn Duluth, MN Reply Report comment

    July 28, 2018 at 12:50 am

    I know Steve is willing to make a sacrifice of time and money to serve in an often thankless job.

  20. Avatar

    Sheffield Jerry Reply Report comment

    July 27, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Lot of people saying Minert should have been the one to go against Ragan. I am not Republican but I agree Minert would probably have beat Amanda, because 3 big things:

    1. Money. She could not have even come close to what Minert would spend from his own pocket and his rich friends’s pockets.

    2. Lot of the same kind of voters and this does include Democrats would have jumped ship to vote Minert. I think lot’s of voters that do not usually vote would have voted for him.

    3. Blodgett. He is crazy, and a cocky smart ass, and a far right wingnut. But he is the kind of crazy, cocky smart ass that gets shit done. Like it says in the story, the ones he helps do not lose.

    Ok so if Latham does win all she would do is what Minert would have. But she loses, then the Republicans f–k-d up by keeping Minert off the ballot.

    • Avatar

      Road King Reply Report comment

      July 28, 2018 at 10:26 am

      I think your right, most of this Jerry. Minert, would of way out spend Ragan, might even go like 5 to 1, up in there.

      Amanda needs to get back in that kitchen. Like all the time, not down to the capital. Don’t want her spending our tax money she is all about more welfare, we need that like a hole in our head.

      Steckman, well she is just as bad both them likes Hillary they love Barack Hussain Obama worse guy ever.

  21. Avatar

    Todd Blodgett Reply Report comment

    July 27, 2018 at 11:47 am

    In reply to ‘Roosevelt girl’: you’re correct – I remember that fight very well. But you left out the fact that your brother was a sixth grader, and I was in fourth. He was a big kid who outweighed me by 75+ lbs and he stood about a foot taller.

    He got angry with me because he asked an incredibly stupid question in a Social Studies class. I couldn’t suppress my mirth upon hearing his inquiry, which led to his desire for revenge.

    ‘RG’, you may recall that in MC schools in the early 1970s, Social Studies, unlike reading and math, weren’t ‘tracked’. That is (again, unlike reading and math), in SS, Phys-Ed, Science, Art, and Music, students of widely varying abilities were tossed in together – which made about as much sense as putting whipped cream on a hot dog.

    Your brother jumped me, from behind; he knocked me around for about two minutes before the recess paraprofessional made him stop. It was NOT a fair fight by any reasonable standard. Your bro got what he deserved at recess the next day, when I arrived, fully prepared.

    That said, I admire your recall and I wish you – and your brother – well.

    Thanks for the memories!

    • Avatar

      Karen of Mason City Reply Report comment

      July 27, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      Mr. B, some bloggers here that went to school with you seem to think you had an anger management problem growing up. And according to my neighbor, you still do. She said that some years ago, you were in a bar in Mason City and pulled a loaded gun on a young man who was earning funds for his college education by working for a carnival.

      According to her, you falsely accused him of stealing your wallet. She also said that your crazy reaction ended up frightening this poor kid, as well as several patrons who were at this bar. She told us that you were drunk when this happened.

      Is this true? And if so, why don’t you do something about your temper? You are apparently are an extremely violent man, Mr. Blodgett. I would wager that you rely, and have always relied, on your family’s money and connections to avoid the kind of punishment that most other people would get.

      • Avatar

        Clean Jenny Reply Report comment

        July 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm

        Your wrong Karen it was two carnies robbed Todd, they did take his money and it was like about $500. I know this because when this happened my ex was CLPD, his partner and him was on the scene this bar was not in Mason it was Clear Lake Rumors bar I believe. If Todd would of been drunk he would of got locked up to along with them that stoled from him it is not legal in the state of Iowa to be drunk and armed at the same time he was sober when this happened.

        If he would not of pulled his gun on them carnies well they might of got away they could of robbed somebody else maybe you Karen.

        So he did a good thing why be so judging of him and your hating on him.

        Yes I do know Todd he is in my narcotic anomonyous group here in Mason, he has help many recovering addicts get clean and find a new way of life.

        God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change the wisdom to change what I can and wisdom to know the difference.

        I can not change how you think on Todd but he is a nice man, just don’t get him mad then he might go off on you. Ok over & out Karen.

  22. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 27, 2018 at 11:31 am

    He’s going to need a new paycheck now that pot is about to become legal and his buddy Donnie Dump wrecked the Harley business. Too many people know too much about that drunk.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 27, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      Not to worry. People like you will still buy Harley’s.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 27, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      I like that it is a “family illness” or “family matter”–SM doesn’t even have the integrity to admit that he had (or maybe still has) a personal issue.

  23. Avatar

    Draw Me A Line Please Reply Report comment

    July 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

    So because Harley Davidson is a pop cultural icon for local North Iowa Vroomsters, Mason City’s mentality is that Steve Minert should serve as an Iowa Senator? Where’s the connection here? Other than you want more people to zip around without mufflers causing loud raucous noise within the vicinity of neighborhoods and businesses.

  24. Avatar

    Roosevelt girl Reply Report comment

    July 26, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    @ Kraig Koller, you talk all you want on Blodgett having your back, me and my brother, we went to Roosevelt to. And do you know, Todd he was real mouthy. Always he was.

    My bro gave him a real good beat down on the playground, Blodgett deserved it to.

    Well what does he do, the next day he brings a slingshot this was in his lunch box. At the recess he fires all these steely’s, right at my brother. He hit him hard, my brother, he had to go into the nurses room on count of that.

    Just because Blodgett might of had your back Kraig it don’t mean he was nice to everybody, he was not.

    • Avatar

      Carly Jo Reply Report comment

      July 27, 2018 at 12:24 am

      My mom went to MCHS with Todd, she says he was a hoot. She told me he picks a fight with a big teacher this guy gets so mad he picks Todd up this was in the lunch room he stuffs him in to one of them big garbage cans right in front of the whole lunch room LOL.

      I am not making this up it did happen.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 27, 2018 at 1:24 pm

        It was probably Mr. Warren
        Todd had fun with him, he is and was a great teacher.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 27, 2018 at 7:28 am

      Your brother was probably trying to push him around and bully him. Todd was never the biggest boy but he never backed down from a bully.

      • Avatar

        Assa Abloy Reply Report comment

        July 27, 2018 at 10:47 am

        Your right, Todd never did back down but he sure got his ass kicked alot of times, seen it myself. For a supposebly smart guy he was dumb to fight guys that stomped him.

        He did fight dirty tho, just like Roos girl told about the sling-shot and the steelies. I seen Todd pull out a mechanical pencil on a kid who would of won their rumble so he stabs him with it till a teacher broke it up.

        Blodgett he got suspended for a couple days, after that even the bullys left him alone, you never would know what he might do.

        This is why I am glad he won’t get the chance to run a campaign against Amanda, who is good on the stuff that matters.

        Vote her back in.

        • Avatar

          Ted W Reply Report comment

          July 27, 2018 at 1:02 pm

          You say you never would know what he might do, don’t that mean he would of done good working to beat Ragan?

          Mrs Latham she knocks on our door about 2 weeks ago. Nice lady but my wife asks her about some stuff she goes, I will get back to you.

          She should know, when they are at our door we want answers not I will get back to you. So far she has not got back to us yet.

  25. Avatar

    UNION Reply Report comment

    July 26, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    The Swaledale Democrat this story quotes is right, Toddy Boy plays dirty. I helped Joe LaPointe when he ran against Dr. Blodgett, this was about 1990. On the Friday before the election, there were thousands of Blodgett signs in the yards of Democratic neighborhoods, like Central Heights, the north end, places where Republicans do not even go.

    Same thing happens in 1998, when Mike Dunn ran against old Doc. The Blodgett campaign gave out what we were told was over $50,000 to down and out people, mostly Democrats I would bet, to register people to vote for Gary and against a real friend to workers, Mike Dunn. John Skipper wrote a story about it, Todd called it walking-around money.

    On election day, people swarm into the old Country Kitchen, with these coupon things, that said they could get anything they wanted up to $25 per person. These slips were given out to the Democrats Todd got to vote absentee for his daddy, drive people to the poll’s, ect.

    Blodgett’s hired people to fill out the absentee ballots and deliver them to the court house, gave them money, money, money that Mike had no chance to do.

    Toddy Boy should of got locked up for that.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 27, 2018 at 7:31 am

      How do you like it? Democrats do that every single year in assisted living facility’s and nursing homes. The canvas people that have no idea what they are signing and register them to vote Democrat. I have seen it for years. Taking advantage of people who don’t know the difference.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 27, 2018 at 9:18 am

        Why is that any different from what the Democrats do every single year? They pay off the public unions and of course the overpaid teachers union. The only difference is Blodgett used his money and the Democrats rip off the taxpayers to pay for their scams.

  26. Avatar

    Frank from Ventura Reply Report comment

    July 26, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Stevie he reminds me of Trump, talks straight is not no politician. Not a lawyer neither he s a business man thats what we need down there if you ask me.

    Ragan, she just take’s our money runs that kitchen then down there, to Des Moines nothing but a full on politician 24/7 we dont need her kind.

    My 2 cent’s.

  27. Avatar

    Retired NIACC Reply Report comment

    July 26, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    @ anonymous, I do not know. But if any posts got zapped, it was probably because someone named either Minert or Blodgett objected to them.

    As an unapologetic progressive who is sick about our government falling under the control of selfish right wing nut bags, I am so very pleased that the state GOP took this Latham lady’s side early on and has stayed with her.

    Not that she’s any better, in terms of her views. But at least she has proven to be inept as a candidate. And that is a very good thing.

    Decent people in north Iowa do not need a rich Harley Davison salesman representing us in the state Senate. Especially one whose campaign manager is a spoiled Lee Atwater protege’ who plays dirty and who will stop at nothing to win, at any cost.

    Pastor Kelsey agrees with me, by the way, as does Dean Genth. They both join me in supporting Amanda.

  28. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 26, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Why did the party pick Latham over Minert? It was a done deal as soon as she threw her hat in the ring. Political pay back and deep pockets. Lots of old money in the Latham family, generations of GOP loyalty and a relative who served several terms in Congress. This isn’t rocket science kids.

    • Avatar

      Hillary-Pelosi '20 Reply Report comment

      July 26, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      What you are saying is, the Republibum party is for the entitled, and all about the pedigree. I think you are right.

      Doesn’t this tell us all we need to know about the GOP?

      As a former member of the Cerro Gordo county Democratic central Committee, I follow politics closely.

      And the childish, orange haired liar in chief won here last time.

      Also remember when Doc Blodgett represented us in the legislature, and the sorrow I felt when he carried Mason city in his elections.

      Dodged a bullet on this one, thankfully.

      Let’s all hope that the Republibums keep on being dumb. It will help.

  29. Avatar

    Mason City J.D. Reply Report comment

    July 26, 2018 at 11:14 am

    As a friend of Amanda’s, I must say this analysis is quite thorough. The quotes from Upmeyer, Dix, Minert, Hovland, Hunter, Blodgett, and others, reveal much research and effort to report the facts.

    My partner said that at a (CG county Democratic party) central committee late last year, Minert’s potential candidacy was discussed.

    Democrats feared him because he appeals to the rednecks. Sen. Ragan’s district is overpopulated with such fools, and their votes elected this racist, deplorable, orange haired warmonger who is destroying our nation.

    The very idea that a right wing Harley salesman would be considered as a suitable replacement for Amanda is crazy. But then, many comments here prove that lots of you are nuts.

  30. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 26, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Go Shannnon yay

  31. Avatar

    Kraig Koller Reply Report comment

    July 26, 2018 at 7:41 am

    What this articles says about Todd, is why we’ve maintained our friendship since Roosevelt. He hits hard and has the backs of his friends.

    • Avatar

      Todd Blodgett Reply Report comment

      July 26, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks, Kraig! Great to hear from you.

      I have great memories of our days at Roosevelt elementary school!

  32. Avatar

    Cortland Roberson Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    Appalling and sleazy politics going on right here in Iowa. I am shocked by this! Let the ballots decide who rep’s the GOP next time.

  33. Avatar

    Donkey Girl Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Amanda will win no matter what Iowa will soon be a Blue State


    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 26, 2018 at 8:40 am

      You poor, poor little lib.

    • Avatar

      Parker Lewis (@PLewisTX) Reply Report comment

      July 26, 2018 at 10:29 am

      LOL…yes, we really need an aging socialist who never held a real job & who’s wife defrauded banks and students on her way to bankrupting a college.

      Lake homes for everyone!! Everyone!!!!

  34. Avatar

    Parker Lewis (@PLewisTX) Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    My first question is…who wrote article? Evidently no one?

    My second question…why didn’t Hillary Clinton hire Todd Blodgett? (A google search did unearth some possible reasons.)

    I believe Latham will be an excellent addition to the Iowa State house. She’s much more in line with North Iowa values than Amanda Ragan and I have no doubt she’ll be a tireless worker for the district and all Iowans.

    I’m not exactly sure why any “Republican” would be undermining another Republican in a general election. Then again, Blodgett seems to be comfortable working with all types of ideologies.

    Knowing most of the people in this article…it’s clear someone had an ax to grind. It’d be less humorless if it was less obvious.

    • Avatar

      Todd Blodgett Reply Report comment

      July 25, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      @ Parker Lewis, the ONLY job I’d EVER even consider taking (were Hillary to offer) would be as her personal bartender.

      I’d love to mix drinks for her, especially if her guests included Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, John Brennan, and Maxine Waters.

      Heck, I’d work for free, in that capacity!

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 25, 2018 at 9:27 pm

        no one cares

      • Avatar

        Parker Lewis (@PLewisTX) Reply Report comment

        July 26, 2018 at 10:59 am

        Who knows…a drunk Hillary might say something that would have ended up with you being ‘suicided’?

        But at least you wouldn’t have lost your perfect track record of campaign domination.

        My main question is this…what’s a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like North Iowa?

        • Avatar

          Todd Blodgett Reply Report comment

          July 26, 2018 at 8:12 pm

          @ Parker: There’s nothing “dazzling” or “urbanite” about me!

          Having grown up in “rustic” Mason City/Clear Lake, I love being back here, even if it’s for only six+ months each year. Usually, I’m here from about mid-April to mid-Nov.

          I also return for a few days over Christmas/New Year’s.

          As to “campaign domination”, I don’t ever try to do that; I prefer to work behind the scenes to get candidates I support elected. All I ask of them is they promise to take my advice.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 25, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      in texas every thing is bigger mostly the ignorant assholes

  35. Avatar

    Todd Blodgett Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Hey, Lizzie – obviously, you’re in no mood tonight to smoke your peace pipe. Yes, I made the statement I was asked about; so what?

    When questioned, I admitted it.

    Do you have a problem with me being truthful, and candid? Some people (of both parties, actually) would’ve just denied having said what I did. But as you’re Lizzie Warren, you’re partial to liars, right?

    Being that you ARE one, eh, ‘Pocahontas’?

    ‘Kimo Sabe’ would NOT have liked you, nor would have Tonto.

    • Avatar

      bodacious Reply Report comment

      July 25, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      I am not certain why you would refer to Senator Warren as being partial to liars considering the Republican who is in the White House has told more lies in 18 months than there are people living in Pocahontas, Iowa.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 28, 2018 at 4:40 am

        Man you are not only a liar but delusional. No wonder the Democrats are in such serious trouble.

  36. Avatar

    Elizabeth Warren in '20 Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Notice how Blodgett’s first quote was typical Republican B.S., as he told NIT Latham would vote the right way, be a “superb” state senator, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Then, towards the end, Toddy Boy gets busted when asked about the not so nice remark he made about the same candidate.

    Which is it Blodgett?


  37. Avatar

    MCHS "80" Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    This piece is really a nice in depth bit about what did take place behind those close doors, that has an impact here. North Iowa. Good job. Sstill want to know, why did Dix ignore the GOP people up here that warned him on Latham?

    Why did this Shannen not respond to NIT when you tried to get hold of her.

    – And why did Mr Blodgett who is not known for backing down, why did he back down on this. Minert, he also does not seem like a back-down kinda guy, but he did too.

    Anybody know?

    • Avatar

      Todd Blodgett Reply Report comment

      July 25, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      In reply to ‘MCHS ’80’ – I can’t speak for Senator Dix, or even try to speculate why he, and his team down in DM, decided as they did.

      Frankly, it baffles me as to why Shannon Latham wouldn’t return calls from NIT, for this story. I have no idea.

      But NO candidate should EVER ignore repeated attempts by any publication to get a comment – especially one that’s based in the very district that the nominee wants to represent.

  38. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    After all the information in the article is a slam at the editor all you got?

  39. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Journalism that is found in traditional newspapers of the local variety will soon be gone. There is a greater amount of reliability along with integrity that the old way of delivering the news had compared to the way it is dished out on the internet. The facebook scandal showed how artificial intelligence is used to compile data on people and it then can be used in a variety of ways. This online news feed is the way of the future and provides a colorful narrative of what’s going on around the area. This article in particular offers up many view points and does a better job than the globe. If there are others out there that can do a better job I would like to see it. Good job NIT.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 25, 2018 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks for the self serving commentary Mar Quart. You are a pussy and a coward.

  40. Avatar

    Retired NW Cement Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Republican’s they were just dumb, Minert would win, against Ragan. Why did they do this. This Latham lady, story says she did not even call NIT back when they asked her to.

    Looks like the GOP has got itself a dummy for this one.

    Amanda, she has been in to long, time to put her back in the kitchen, I mean full time.

    She lied to me and the wife on the smoking thing, she did.

    We are Democrat but would go for Minert against Amanda.

  41. Avatar

    bodacious Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Linda Upmeyer “We never get involved. We do offer advice.” Offering advice on how to run a campaign is getting involved. She lied.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      When you say someone lied I take notice. Even your moniker is a lie.

  42. Avatar

    Becky G Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Steve would get my vote in a heart beat, he runs a good business this is what we need down there.

  43. Avatar

    9th & North Adams Reply Report comment

    July 25, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    We are Democrat’s but we would of voted for Stevie if he would of ran. He would be real good, way better then Ragan.

    May be in 2020?