Mark Chelgren Compares Abortion To Time Shares

The Iowa Senate engaged in a passionate debate last night over the 20-week abortion ban and 72-hour waiting period legislation. Republicans sent the bill to the governor’s desk after a 30-20 party-line vote, but not before a few senators made some interesting comments during debate. Senator Mark Chelgren of Ottumwa expressed his dismay that the bill didn’t go further, and then made a curious comparison when defending the 72-hour waiting period provision, which he called the “time share” clause. When the bill is signed into law, Iowa will become the sixth state in the nation to impose the three-day waiting […]

Protests Put Trump’s Tax Returns Back In The Spotlight

National tax day protests this past weekend focused on President Trump’s stubborn refusal to reveal his tax returns. His unsupported claim that he can’t reveal his returns because he’s under audit has been thoroughly debunked. The IRS is on the record confirming that Trump can make his returns public while under audit. Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer was peppered with questions about Trump’s tax returns on Monday. Following the massive tax-day protests the questions about Trump’s tax returns have resurfaced with even greater intensity than ever. Until now, Trump supporters haven’t seemed bothered by Trump’s refusal to show his tax history. […]

Democrats’ Plan To Retake The Iowa House Starts With You

As the 2017 legislative session draws to a close, many Iowans want to know what they can do to hold Republican legislators accountable and win back the Statehouse for Democrats. Many eyes are focused on the big gubernatorial race, but the battle for control of the Iowa House will be a prominent fight as well. And for activists who want to make GOP legislators pay for their votes, there’s no shortage of vulnerable swing district House Republicans they can impact. This week Leader Mark Smith and House Democrats are rolling out a new effort to begin targeting those districts early on. Calling it their House Builder […]

Big Business Wins Again Over People On Internet Privacy

It’s an unusual day when Congress can bring together the disparate factions in the United States. But our lawmakers in Washington have done just that. And it has largely slipped past public view because of cable news’ fixation on all things Trump. This is unfortunate, because the actions that occurred in the past three weeks in Washington amount to an unwarranted assault on the privacy of everyday Americans. The U.S. Senate and House votes, coupled with President Trump’s signature last week, erased a Federal Communications Commission regulation that had required internet service providers to get your permission before they provided […]

Mike Sherzan Bows Out Of 3rd District Race

Democratic candidate Mike Sherzan is shutting down his recently-launched campaign for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. Sherzan came in second place in Democrats’ primary in 2016, and had hoped to use lessons learned from that bid to better-position himself for the primary, as well as a general election matchup with Republican David Young. But fundraising concerns and personal issues caused him to pull the plug early. “I am exiting this race because I have recently come to the conclusion that conducting the type of campaign I am comfortable with would require substantial financial self-funding, and that’s not how this process should work,” […]

Will Any Endorsement Be Worth A Damn In Governor’s Race?

Democrats’ gubernatorial nominee for 2018 will not simply be the most important name on the ballot. He or she will also be the defacto leader of the party in a state that hasn’t really had one since Tom Harkin’s retirement in 2014. They have a very big task ahead of them. To say the Democratic Party in Iowa is in a weakened state would be an understatement. The party has not merely lost a significant amount of major elections in recent years. No, the very infrastructure of the left in Iowa is tattered and lacking. There has been few proactive build-the-bench efforts for years. Important […]

Vote Smart Opens Fact HQ At Drake University

If you love and value facts, you should be excited about this announcement. Vote Smart, one of the nation’s premier non-partisan political research organizations, opened their new headquarters at Drake University on Monday. Vote Smart President Richard Kimball said they had looked at 17 schools before selecting Drake University as their new national headquarters. This is a significant boost to Drake University’s growing reputation as a center for political research. Drake currently houses the political archives of both former Governor Robert Ray and Senator Tom Harkin. Bringing Vote Smart to Drake enhances central Iowa’s pivotal role in political relevance and […]

Round 2: Konfrst To Hold Hagenow Accountable For Broken Promises

House Republican Majority Leader Chris Hagenow campaigned for reelection last year on a platform that bore no resemblance to his voting record in the Legislature just a few months after. So Jennifer Konfrst has decided to give Hagenow a rematch in 2018, announcing today she’d run for House District 43 again. “I love this community, and I’m running to fight for all families in our district,” Konfrst said in a press release. “As a mom and an educator, I’m deeply troubled by politicians at the Capitol who put special interests ahead of Iowans. The residents of our district deserve a representative whose policies […]

Focus On Issues In Governor’s Race, Not Fake Des Moines “Curse”

Recently, I have been in a public discussion with members of the Eastern Iowa press corps.  Columnist Todd Dorman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette believes a Des Moines candidate for Governor is the wrong voice for Democrats. He defends his position by acknowledging Governor Chet Culver’s loss and my loss to Governor Terry Branstad in 2010 & 2014 respectively. This discussion is as old as our attempts to rationalize why Democrats have lost the governorship 11 of 14 elections since 1968. The home towns of our candidates should tell us something about our candidate’s values, not election competence. Mr. Dorman […]

The Three Months That Changed Iowa

When Iowa became the third state in the nation to legalize gay marriage eight years ago, I was working in Washington, D.C. My coworkers were taken aback by what they thought was a conservative, red, rural Midwestern state taking such an important leap forward in equal rights. They were even more surprised when I informed them that, actually, Iowa often has a progressive streak on social policies and we’re a very purple state politically. That was true then. It’s not anymore. Just over three months ago the Iowa Legislature gaveled in with a fully Republican-controlled Statehouse. For the first time in 20 years, […]