|Deidre DeJear (Photo by Byron Houlgrave,|
Des Moines Register, via Associated Press)
"It’s not just diverse urban areas where a person of color can run for statewide office," Leonard reports. "32-year-old Deidre DeJear, an African-American small-business owner, is the Democratic nominee for secretary of state. If Ms. DeJear beats the Republican incumbent, Paul Pate, in November, she’ll become the first African-American to win statewide office in Iowa. About 91 percent of Iowans are white; only about 4 percent are African-American."
At a statewide Democratic dinner in June, DeJear "drew the most applause while being introduced," Leonard reports. "I asked about a dozen people why they felt so strongly about her and her messaging. People spoke of her “charisma,” “quiet confidence,” “her passion”; she “makes us feel like family,” one said. Ms. DeJear has a skill that Democrats would like to have more of: She knows how to talk to rural Iowans. So did Barack Obama. They share some similarities: Their messages are about ideas and values. She told me she doesn’t care if someone she talks with in rural Iowa voted for [right-wing U.S. Rep.] Steve King, or for Donald Trump. People change and candidates change, she noted. “They may no longer share your values,” she said she tells voters. “That’s O.K. Vote your values.” Like Mr. Obama, Ms. DeJear hits a recurring theme: opportunity for all."