Derek Eadon Elected Iowa Democrats Chair As Party Begins To Unify

Longtime Iowa political operative Derek Eadon prevailed in a seven-candidate field to become the new chair of the Iowa Democratic Party on Saturday. After months of intense campaigning for the votes of the 50 SCC members, Eadon emerged as a consensus choice from portions of both the Clinton and Sanders factions. Andy McGuire opened the meeting with words of thanks to the party activists and urged them to unify as they moved forward. That might be a much easier task now that Eadon is chair. Throughout the campaigning process, former Bernie Sanders activists coalesced behind political staffer Blair Lawton, who […]

“Down the Rabbit Hole” – How Will We Democrats Define Ourselves?

An open letter from an Iowa political staffer (who couldn’t use their name) Dear Iowa Democrats, The paradigm has shifted and we have stepped through the looking glass into a new reality. No longer are we just fighting over tax cuts and how much should the government spend on X, Y and Z. No, we have entered the Trump Presidency. An administration that will be dominated by far right, nationalistic, self interested tendencies that will be wrapped in safe sounding slogans of “America First” and policies that will leave large swaths of the country and the world in ruin. Acolytes […]

Complex Voting System To Be Used In IDP Chair Race Saturday

A consensus has formed in Iowa political circles on how the Iowa Democratic Party’s chair race will go down on Saturday: No one has any idea. Of course, if you speak to the die-hard supporters of each major candidate, they’ll tell you they easily have the votes needed to win. But add up all the votes everyone claims and you get more than double the number of actual state central committee members. So, no one’s really sure how it will turn out. A group of 49 SCC members (and possibly 50 depending on whether the SCC determines one other position […]

Martin O’Malley To Campaign With Monica Kurth In House Special

Democratic Iowa House candidate Monica Kurth will get some GOTV assistance next weekend from former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley on January 28. The past Iowa Caucus contender plans on rallying local activists for the final stretch of Kurth’s special election, and he will also host another Eastern Iowa event still being set up. This is O’Malley’s second visit to Davenport for a special election in just over a month. He flew out in December to assist now-Senator Jim Lykam in his special election to replace Joe Seng, who passed away last September. When Lykam won that seat, his House seat […]

Tom Vilsack’s New Gig: President Of U.S. Dairy Export Council

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack will be leading the U.S. Dairy Export Council starting next month, the organization announced today. It had been rumored for a few weeks that this would serve as Vilsack’s landing spot after President Obama’s administration came to an end. Vilsack resigned from his post as Secretary of Agriculture one week early last Friday. Many in Iowa politics had wondered what Vilsack might plan for his post-Obama administration life, including whether he might come back to Iowa to run for office again. A few Democratic activists and donors hoped he’d consider running for governor in 2018. In […]

Activists In Working Class Ottumwa Concerned For Future Of Party, IPERS

When the Donald Trump wave swept white, blue-collar voters away from Democrats in 2016, few places were hit harder politically than Wapello County, Iowa. Home to Ottumwa, a working class city of 25,000 that’s seen better times, the Southeast Iowa county was carried by Trump in a 58% to 37% rout. Wapello County has been moving in the Republican direction for some time since the rise of the Tea Party, but this year’s margin was particularly significant given Obama’s 55% to 43% victory in 2012. Clinton received 3,025 fewer voters than Obama did four years ago, leading to local Democrats’ […]

Who Is Rich Leopold, Democrats’ 1st Gubernatorial Candidate?

The race for Iowa Governor in 2018 got kicked off on the Democratic side today, with Polk County Conservation director Rich Leopold announcing his candidacy. Leopold made his intentions official with a video of his announcement in his town of Huxley on his Facebook page, and he spoke with Starting Line yesterday. “I’m a scientist by trade, a biologist, but I’ve never run for elected office before,” Leopold told Starting Line. “I’m tired, like most people are, of what the politicians have been up to. Regardless of intentions, the results have not been there, whether we talk about education, water […]

Many Important Topics Missing From IDP Chair Discussion

Some people fear a vacuum of power post-election, but the wide-open race for IDP chair has generated some much-needed discussion over what has gone wrong with our party, and what we need to do differently. Rather than having a hand-picked chair, the uncertain coming election has allowed a wealth of new ideas to get debated for a party struggling with how to move forward. It’s refreshing, and it’s been a joy to observe. However, one thing that struck me after watching the two forums last week and listening to a few of the conference calls, is how narrow the debate […]

The Political Party Endorses Kurt Meyer For IDP Chair, Praises Eadon And Weaver Too

Last week seven of the eight candidates for IDP Chair attended a forum hosted by The Political Party, a relatively new group that’s encouraging millennial progressives to get more engaged in politics. Today they announced their endorsement for the position: Kurt Meyer. The group also recommended that party members strongly consider Derek Eadon and Kim Weaver as well. They sent out their full reasoning in this endorsement press release:   The Political Party Endorses Kurt Meyer for Iowa Democratic Party Chair (DES MOINES, IA) – On Friday, December 16 The Political Party partnered with the Grand View Democrats to host the […]

In Iowa Jason Kander Pitches Path Forward For Democrats

After a year of terrible losses, Democrats around the country have been searching for a handful of silver linings and moral victories to give them hope for the future. Many have looked to Jason Kander’s impressive – if ultimately unsuccessful – campaign for U.S. Senate in Missouri for inspiration and lessons on how to move forward. So when Kander came to Des Moines last night to speak at Progress Iowa’s annual Holiday Party fundraiser, he was greeted by a record turnout of Iowa progressives for the event, eager to hear what he had to say. Despite Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton by […]