Todd Prichard’s Plan For Universal Access To Community Colleges

The 2017 legislative session was a disaster for working Iowans. I have never seen an administration fight so hard for low-paying jobs. Iowa can and must do better, particularly for rural and smaller communities – like my hometown of Charles City – that too often have been left behind. The challenges in that “forgotten Iowa” are real, and they are significant. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual wage in the top ten counties in Iowa is $7,500 more than the average wages in the other 89 counties in the state. This is unacceptable. When our economic […]

Dirk Deam Passes On 4th District, Fred Hubbell Rumors Heat Up

Iowa State University professor Dirk Deam won’t be running for the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s 4th District this cycle. His now-ended campaign informed Starting Line that some new family health obligations will keep him from devoting the full time he felt he needed to run an all-in candidacy. Kim Weaver was already strongly favored to carry the primary, considering her name recognition with Democratic activists and newfound fundraising abilities. Deam, well-liked and respected by students and activists in Ames, may have emerged as a real threat to her over time, but Weaver now has an easy path to the nomination. That may […]

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 […]

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 […]

After McGuire Launch, Prichard Unveils Endorsements From McGuire’s County

It didn’t take long today for two of the major Democratic gubernatorial candidates to engage in a bit of fun shadow-boxing on endorsements. This morning in Andy McGuire’s announcement, she laid out ten big-name endorsers, including some past candidates and major donors. This afternoon – certainly be mere coincidence – Todd Prichard rolled out a list of 14 backers he has in Polk County, McGuire’s home. Rather than a list of well-known former elected officials, however, Prichard’s endorsements focused on local activists in the Des Moines metro area (including at least one that used to support McGuire). Many of the folks listed […]

Democrats’ Gubernatorial Hopefuls Make Their Pitch In Rural Iowa

The Democrats’ quest to retake Terrace Hill kicked off in Quasqueton this weekend, a tiny, picturesque town in Buchanan County. Local Democrats held a county party fundraiser that five gubernatorial hopefuls attended. The contenders chatted with Northeast Iowa activists over a barbeque dinner before delivering their pitches in front of the room. With a loaded speaker lineup – 13 in all – the event stretched on for nearly four hours, but the 100 attendees – angered by recent Republican-passed legislation – stayed and listened intently long after the sun had set. The five gubernatorial candidates (or potential candidates) on hand […]

Andy McGuire Kicks Off Gubernatorial Bid – Here’s Who Backs Her

Andy McGuire made official today what most Iowa Democrats have known for three years: she’s running for governor. Launching her candidacy with a well-produced announcement video and a slate of early endorsers, McGuire enters the Democrats’ primary race by highlighting her large family, her medical profession and a promise to “fix it.” Her video begins with her waking up early, getting her children up and heading to the breakfast table while her voiceover emphasizes Iowa values of hard work. “Believe me, when you have seven kids, that’s the only way anything gets done,” McGuire says to the camera. “But for too […]

John Norris Weighing Run For Iowa Governor

As Democrats look to their developing gubernatorial primary field, one new name would bring an experience as close as you can get to being a former governor: John Norris. Tom Vilsack’s chief of staff for two years, few other Iowans have as long a resume in Iowa Democratic politics and governance than Norris. He’s been IDP chair, ran for Congress, managed John Kerry’s successful 2004 Iowa Caucus operation, worked for Tom Harkin and Vilsack, served as the commissioner of the Iowa Utilities Board and later on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and did a stint for the USDA in Rome. Now he’s back in […]

The State Of Iowa Democrats’ Gubernatorial Primary

After some quiet early months following the 2016 elections, the Democratic field to take on Kim Reynolds (or maybe Ron Corbett) is quickly taking shape. Last week Representative Todd Prichard officially launched an exploratory committee for governor and appears to be all-in. Senator Nate Boulton spoke at Scott County Democrats’ annual fundraiser this weekend and sounds increasingly likely to run. And Andy McGuire, who had perplexed some Iowa political insiders by not announcing already, has reportedly hired Maura Tracy as her campaign manager [update: or perhaps not. That didn’t last long] and is shooting an announcement video this week. This weekend a […]

That Was The Weirdest Thing I’ve Seen In Iowa Politics

I’ve watched as Donald Trump buzzed his helicopter directly over Hillary Clinton at the Iowa State Fair, then come back for a second pass. I’ve attended a Ben Carson event that turned a downtown bridge into a lavishly expensive family fun concert complete with Disney princesses and a gigantic American flag. I’ve seen protesters rush stages, candidates fall off of them and voters get in fist fights in the crowd. I’ve seen a lot of weird things in Iowa politics. And then I saw Ron Corbett’s final “State of the City” speech yesterday. The two-term Cedar Rapids mayor and former Speaker […]