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Erin Murphy

Kim Reynolds’ political foes believe the condition of the state budget makes her vulnerable in 2018.

That much was clear this past week when the many candidates running for governor raised a ruckus over the revelation that the state will have to spend another $13 million from its emergency reserves to balance its budget year that ended June 30.

Reynolds was promoted to governor in May when former Gov. Terry Branstad resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China. Reynolds, who had been Branstad’s lieutenant since 2011, plans to run for election in 2018.

She is being challenged by seven Democrats and even a couple of Republicans, and many of them used this week’s budget news to make a case against Reynolds.

Republican Ron Corbett, the mayor of Cedar Rapids; Nate Boulton, a Democratic state senator; and Cathy Glasson, a nurse, labor leader and Democratic candidate all appeared at the state Capitol in Des Moines on Wednesday after Reynolds’ budget director briefed reporters on the budget situation.

It was the third time legislators or the governor had to add money to cover a budget shortage; the grand total rose to more than $260 million.

Had that final shortage been more than $50 million, the governor would have been required by law to call a special legislative session. It’s likely Democrats would have used that opportunity to draw attention to the state budget issues and criticize Reynolds for her role.

Even without the special session, her political opponents pounced, even though Reynolds was lieutenant governor when the budget was approved in 2016, and Democrats and Republicans at that point shared control of the Iowa Legislature.

Boulton and Glasson brought their messages to the Capitol. Other candidates issued news releases.

The state Democratic Party didn't miss the opportunity, either.

“She can’t hide from the impact of the Reynolds budget crisis. Iowa families already feel the pain from her mismanagement. Iowans will remember Reynolds’ cowardice and refusal to do her job in 2018,” Troy Price, state Democratic Party chairman, said in a statement.

And it wasn’t just the Democrats.

“It looked like a lot of smoke and mirrors as they’re trying to cover themselves from too much spending,” the Republican Corbett said.

The past year’s state budget ran into trouble when tax revenue fell short of expectations. Each year, spending is based on estimated income as determined by a nonpartisan panel. This past year, the panel overestimated revenue, so the state planned to spend more money than ultimately came in.

The budget was approved in 2016 by Branstad, Democrats in control of the Iowa Senate and Republicans in control of the Iowa House.

And yet, because there is an election next year, many people this week sought to lay blame for the budget ailments at the feet of Reynolds.

Clearly those candidates believe the state budget can be an issue on which Reynolds’ candidacy in 2018 can be challenged. Expect that political debate to continue.

Poll disputes King's tweet

When news broke that President Donald Trump was negotiating with Congressional Democrats to codify protections for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, western Iowa Congressman Steve King said via social media that he thinks such a deal would disenfranchise Trump’s most ardent supporters.

King tweeted that if the report was accurate, he thinks the “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”

A new poll published this week suggests otherwise.

A majority of Republican voters support Trump’s negotiation with Democrats on immigration, according to a Monmouth University Poll published by America’s Voice Education Fund, an advocacy group for immigration reform.

According to the poll, 55 percent of Republican voters would be satisfied if Trump “softened” his stance on immigration --- 14 percent very satisfied and 41 percent somewhat --- while 39 percent would be dissatisfied.

Overall, 65 percent of Americans would be satisfied if Trump “softened” his stance on immigration, while 29 percent would be dissatisfied, the poll found.

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Erin Murphy covers Iowa politics and government for Lee Enterprises. His email address is