Get Ready: Joni Ernst Announces Forums In Des Moines, Cedar Rapids

Finally, one of Iowa’s Republican senators has scheduled a public forum in the state’s largest cities. Joni Ernst announced this morning that she will host town hall meetings on college campuses in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids on March 17. Here’s the details: Linn County Town Meeting Noon Coe College – Sinclair Auditorium 1220 1st Avenue NE Cedar Rapids Polk County Town Meeting 5:00 PM Drake University – Sheslow Auditorium 2507 University Ave Des Moines While both Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst visit all of Iowa’s 99 counties every year, they very rarely hold public events in Iowa’s most populous […]

Grassley And Ernst Host Town Hall Forums This Week

With a roiling national debate over healthcare, immigration and Donald Trump’s presidency, Congressional town hall forums in recent weeks have seen massive turnouts of angry constituents. In a reversal from the 2009 forums that sparked the creation of the Tea Party, this year it’s Republicans who have found themselves on the defensive. Both Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst will host their own town halls this week across the state. None of Iowa’s U.S. House members have anything scheduled. Grassley typically restricts his public events to smaller, Republican-leaning counties during early hours of the day. He hasn’t held a public meeting […]

Chuck Grassley Hated Obama’s Executive Orders. But Now…?

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has long prided himself on providing a strong check on the executive branch. At campaign events and town halls during his reelection effort last year, he often touted how he’s stood up to both Republican and Democratic presidents, noting he once particularly ran afoul of Ronald Reagan’s supporters. And yet he’s been noticeably silent so far on Donald Trump’s far-reaching, unilateral ban on entrance to the U.S. for people from many majority-Muslim nations, which has thrown worldwide travel into chaos and has been quickly challenged by the courts. That’s a change in demeanor from when Barack Obama […]

Grassley Adviser Polls Senate Race, Finds Good News For Grassley

A new poll out today showed Chuck Grassley increasing his lead over Patty Judge in Iowa’s senate race, holding a 50% to 37% advantage over the Democrat. But the poll was conducted by the newly-formed RABA Research (Red America, Blue America), a bi-partisan Iowa firm whose internal personal and professional dynamics create an extremely peculiar situation for a polling group. One of the founders of RABA is Tim Albrecht, a longtime Iowa Republican operative who has worked in many top communications posts. He is also a top adviser to the Republican Party of Iowa, helping in particular with Grassley’s campaign. So […]

Emails Reveal Grassley Opposition To Promoting Women In Science

Senator Chuck Grassley didn’t want to encourage specifically young women in pursuing careers in science, the Iowa Daily Democrat discovered through an open records request of email correspondence between Kim Reynold’s office, Grassley’s office and the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce. The emails cover a two day period in February 2016 as Reynolds’ office tries to get Grassley to join an op-ed on the issue. Robert Haus, Chief Advisor to Reynolds, and Beth Levine, Grassley’s Press Secretary, were emailing back and forth with Vasu Abhiraman, a representative to the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce. Michelle Lee, the Undersecretary of Commerce, had […]

Look At This Map Of Counties Chuck Grassley Avoids Public Events In

Senator Chuck Grassley celebrates another year of 99 county visits today, finishing his final event in Anamosa in Jones County. But just how meaningful or authentic is the so-called “Full Grassley” that Iowa’s senior senator is so well-known for? This summer a report from Progress Iowa investigated how Grassley mixes private events in with his public events during his 99 County Tour. It found that during his current term in the Senate, Grassley had not held a single public event in eight of ten of Iowa’s most-populated counties. For six years Grassley had held only private events as part of his […]

Chuck Grassley Just Did A Big About-Face On SCOTUS

“Let The People Decide.” That’s been Senator Chuck Grassley’s campaign slogan recently, in reference to his refusal to hold a hearing for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. They’ve even printed signs and t-shirts with it. For months now Grassley has insisted that the next president should choose the nominee, not Obama. He’s argued Obama is essentially a lame-duck, especially because voters backed Republicans in such overwhelming numbers in 2014. He’s said the people must have a voice. Not anymore. In an interview in a Mason City Globe Gazette article, Grassley left open the door for pursuing a lame-duck […]

Can Democrats Ever Hope To Defeat Joni Ernst?

People love Joni Ernst. A lot happened at Ernst’s 2nd annual Roast and Ride this weekend, where Donald Trump headlined with an immigration-heavy speech. What stood out to me, however, was Ernst herself and how she gives off a sort of effortless charm at these events. She really has an unmatched charisma that no other Iowa politician can claim. Democrats in Iowa like to tell themselves that Ernst is a nutty, unserious extremist who will be a welcome target for defeat in 2020. They should spend some time around her. They’d find a much more complex and compelling politician than the […]

Labor Unions Endorse Patty Judge Despite Past Misgivings

The AFL-CIO officially gave an endorsement nod to U.S. Senate candidate Patty Judge this week at their state convention in Altoona. That followed AFSCME’s formal backing last week. It’s a notable change in labor’s disposition to the former Lt. Governor, and a sign of continuing unity around Judge in a race Democrats see as a potential pick-up opportunity. It didn’t always use to be this way. Iowa’s labor community has never forgotten – nor quite forgiven – Judge’s involvement in former Governor Chet Culver’s veto of the collective bargaining bill in 2008. Both AFSCME and the AFL-CIO endorsed and actively […]

A Look At Iowa Candidates’ Messages Before Post-Labor Day Sprint

The Iowa State Fair has come and gone, with another year of political candidate visits in the books. Starting Line attended nearly all the of the Soapbox speeches hosted by the Des Moines Register, but got a little distracted with fair food afterward and I didn’t write them up right away. Instead, let’s do a review of the Iowa candidates’ speeches, which are still quite relevant as each perfectly encapsulated where the candidate is at in their race. It will be interesting to watch how their pitch changes post-Labor Day as we move ever closer to early voting. None of the […]