11 Iowa Caucus Myths

1. Iowans Insist on One-on-One Time with the Candidates – Nearly a quarter of a million people turned out for the 2008 Democratic Caucus, when Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards faced off. Every single one of them did not shake hands with or personally meet the candidate they caucused for. Whenever the press quotes Iowa activists giving caucus advice, you’ll often read people saying Iowans need to meet each candidate several times to make up their mind. Those people are living in a bygone era, back when the caucuses were smaller affairs in the 1980’s and a minority […]

Sizing Up the 3rd District Race: Which Democrats Will Run?

While the race for the Iowa’s Democratic-leaning 1st Congressional District has captured headlines and excitement recently, the race for the 3rd District has been a quieter affair. That won’t last for long, as multiple Democrats are considering a challenge to freshman incumbent Republican David Young. The 3rd district contains 164,642 registered Republicans compared to 153,230 Democrats, along with another 162,163 No Party voters. Democrats path to victory will be a hard-fought one, and several names have emerged. How will they stack up in a Democratic primary? The Front Runner State Senator Matt McCoy has long eyed a run for higher […]

Sunday Grab Bag: Graham’s Moderate-ism, Indiana and O’Malley Events

Good morning readers! As always, a lot happened in the political world this week. Enjoy our Sunday Grab Bag of shorter takes on a number of Iowa and national political topics: A Moderate-Sounding Lindsey Graham Talks to Iowans South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham visited Iowa on Friday and Saturday, first stopping by Noah’s Ark restaurant in Des Moines for a meet-and-greet. His remarks focused on national security and dealing with the Baby Boom retirement through entitlement reform, but what stuck out to me was how he phrased his points. “You need a rational immigration system,” Graham said of his plan […]

Monica Vernon Nabs Important Emily’s List Endorsement

In what might be the most important endorsement in Iowa’s developing first congressional district race, EMILY’s List announced their support of Monica Vernon. The well-respected organization that backs pro-choice female candidates selected Vernon as their first endorsement for a U.S. House race in 2016, signaling how important national Democrats view Iowa’s first district race. Republican freshman Congressman Rod Blum is considered by many to be a weak incumbent who won the Democratic-leaning district in the Republican wave of 2014. EMILY’s List clearly views Vernon as the candidate best positioned to retake the seat for Democrats and represent women’s issues in […]

Cruz’s Early Launch Smart – Where’s Everyone Else?

Texas Senator Ted Cruz officially launched his presidential campaign on Monday, speaking to a packed crowd of somewhat-willing students. He is the first to formally, officially, this-time-I-really-mean-it announce among the likely 2016 presidential hopefuls. Others, like Jeb Bush, Ben Carson and Jim Webb on the Democratic side, have formed exploratory committees, and many others have PACs financing their obvious pre-campaign activity. Rand Paul is expected to launch his official campaign on April 7th, and then embark on a multi-state announcement tour. But if all of these “likely candidates” are way more than just “likely,” why not make it real already? […]

New Legislator Profile: Charlie McConkey

A passion for improving educational opportunities drives Charlie McConkey in the Statehouse. Raised by a mother with an eight-grade education working minimum wage, McConkey and his four siblings learned early on the value of hard work and determination. Born in Carter Lake, that geographical quirk of Iowa that’s essentially in Nebraska, he and his family moved to Council Bluffs, where McConkey is currently serving his first term as State Representative in House District 15. A Working Class Life McConkey’s father died early in his life, so his working mother raised the family of six herself, with McConkey’s oldest sister pitching […]

New Poll in Iowa Hints at Likely Centerpiece of Clinton Campaign

A new poll is making its way through Iowa, focused on message-testing proposals on women’s economic security and paid family medical leave ideas. I received the call around 5:00 in the afternoon today. It went in-depth on some of the same issues that were tested in a poll call I got a few weeks ago, which was almost certainly from the Clinton campaign. This one appeared to be in line in terms of substance and structure with that one and the negative-messaging one DesMoinesDem reported on over at Bleeding Heartland. This call was from Nevada, however, instead of Michigan like […]

Heather Matson Announces Run for Ankeny House District

Ankeny has proven to be an Iowa boom-town in recent years, with new neighborhoods filled with young families popping up across the Des Moines suburb seemingly every month. A woman whose family looks like the many moving to the popular and thriving community now seeks to represent them in the Statehouse. Heather Matson plans on announcing her candidacy for House District 38 today, aiming to challenge Republican incumbent Kevin Koester. “I’m running because I think it’s time for a new generation of leadership,” Matson says of her decision, adding that she feels like “big new ideas” are missing from the […]

O’Malley Impresses Early State Activists in Iowa Swing (Video)

Iowa Democratic activists hungry for a caucus conversation got a full serving of progressive populism from Martin O’Malley during his two-day Iowa swing this week. The former Maryland Governor and Baltimore Mayor railed against Wall Street greed and income inequality in a keynote speech at the Scott County Democrats’ Red, White and Blue Dinner on Friday night. It was a strongly-delivered and well-received speech. In just a few short hours, O’Malley went from a little-known liberal governor to a serious Iowa Caucus contender among many local activists who met him. O’Malley gave an impassioned speech – interrupted multiple times by […]

Amped-Up Rick Perry Touts Texas Accomplishments

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has been receiving rave reviews of his campaign appearances during his second try for the White House, and it wasn’t hard to see why at a West Des Moines event last night. Perry passed on standing behind the podium, instead walking among the crowd and getting up close to audience members. He was emphatic with his points and lively with his gestures, keeping the crowd engaged with his speech. It’s a sharp contrast to the stiff performances he put in during his ill-fated 2012 run, when issues with his back hindered his campaigning abilities. He […]