DES MOINES, Iowa -- Over the past few months, Iowa Democrats have been taking a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror.
“The November election taught me that we left out the middle class. We totally did not speak to the middle class. We assumed they were going to be with us. I don’t think Donald Trump won the election, I think we lost it,” said Central Committee Member Marsha Fulton.
On Saturday, outgoing chair Dr. Andy McGuire presided over a room of Iowa Democrats who would elect their new chairperson.
That role fell to Derek Eadon, a campaign and public affairs consultant who previously worked for the Obama campaign.
Eadon says Iowa Democrats have learned the lesson of the past campaign.
“I don’t think we were tapping into that economic frustration that a lot of voters felt, when we tended to attack Donald Trump and the things he was saying; but if you traveled this state, if you had family members or friends that were thinking of voting for Trump, the first thing they talked about was the economy," said Eadon. "We give lots of reasons to vote against Republicans, we need to give people reasons to vote for Democrats."
Eadon started his career in politics ten years ago as a door-to-door canvasser. He was then one of the first Iowa staffers hired by the Obama campaign. He would go on to serve as the General Election Director for the 2012 Iowa Obama campaign.
Iowa Democrats and their newly-elected chair face a tough challenge, though, with Republicans in control of Congress and the governor’s office.
Eadon says without control, Democrats will have to latch onto upcoming policy changes.
“It starts with holding Republicans here in Iowa accountable for what they’re doing," he said. "They’re going to be cutting education, we’re going to be talking about school consolidation; and whether it’s education or these other issues, holding them accountable on that is the first priority."
Eadon says he will be dissolving his consulting company, Bluprint Strategies, to avoid conflict of interest.