Thanks For a Great Week! Some Updates

I wanted to write a special thank you to our readers for a great week and let you know about some updates on the blog. First off, thank you again for reading our posts and sharing them around. If you can’t tell, I’m having a lot of fun with this, and I really hope you enjoy what you read here. I want to write about things people are interested in, and it looks like that’s going well so far. Here’s a few updates: Daily Posting: I’m spending a lot of time right now each day on social media and website […]

Run Warren Run’s Murky Mission

Run Warren Run’s Des Moines office opening Thursday evening felt like many other caucus campaign launches. Excited supporters gathered to see how they can help. Staff and volunteers shared their moving stories of why they supported the candidate. A wish list of office supplies hung on the wall. Volunteers stuck around afterwards to make calls. Of course, there was one major campaign component missing: a candidate. So it goes with draft movements, though this one features a candidate who has often said she’s not running. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the populist progressive that’s taking the fight to Wall Street has struck […]

Rick Santorum Tests Out “Blue Collar Conservative” Appeal

Hoping to recapture the magic of his 2012 Iowa Caucus win, Rick Santorum crisscrossed the state in the days following Steve King’s Freedom Summit in Des Moines. From Sioux City to Davenport, the former Pennsylvania Senator dropped in at some of his old haunts to rekindle an interest in another presidential run. Yet even as he sported a Reagan Library jacket on his Monday swing, he encouraged Republicans to move on from the messaging themes of the Reagan years.

10 Iowa Democrats Who Can Lead the Party Back to Power

Iowa Democrats have reason for optimism as they look to the future, despite the terrible results from the 2014 election. A crop of inspiring leaders are looking for their moment on the bigger stage. Republicans like Terry Branstad and Chuck Grassley won’t be around in office forever, but even before they depart, multiple opportunities exist for Democrats to retake power in Iowa. The potential Democratic candidates include veterans, clean energy leaders, business entrepreneurs, and young people. Even though state Republicans boast about having a deeper bench of future candidates, Democrats certainly aren’t in a “Help us Liz Mathis, you’re our […]

Martin O’Malley Picks Up Key Iowa Staffer

Martin O'Malley Iowa

Jake Oeth, Bruce Braley’s former political director, has been brought on by Martin O’Malley’s PAC to begin outreach efforts in Iowa, according to a Politico story posted early Tuesday morning. Starting Line as well had heard from multiple sources in Iowa that Oeth had been recruited by O’Malley to start laying the groundwork for a potential Iowa Caucus campaign. It also sounds like Brad Elkins, Jack Hatch’s former political director, has been helping set up behind-the-scenes meetings along with Oeth as well. Whatever role Oeth might eventually serve on an O’Malley presidential run in Iowa, it’s a great get for […]

New Legislator Profile: Abby Finkenauer

At an age where many young people are still figuring out their direction in life, newly-elected State Representative Abby Finkenauer walks onto the floor of the Iowa House each day with a passion and purpose unlike many others. Elected from District 99 in Dubuque, Finkenauer, a 26-year old Democrat, already looks like she belongs because she does. Having accumulated a decade of experiences in politics and government, she entered elected office well-known and well-respected among the Capitol crowd. Yet despite her uncommon early success, Finkenauer strongly believes that her journey is not overly-daunting nor too ambitious for other young Iowans […]

It’s All About That Base for Speakers at Steve King Summit

More than 20 Republican leaders in all addressed Steve King’s Freedom Summit on Saturday, speaking to a crowd composed of the most conservative voting bloc in American politics. It was mostly what we’ve come to expect from candidates trying to appeal to what they think the far-right Fox News crowd wants to hear. The more conservative speakers all attempted to out-do each other with bombastic, red-meat zingers, insults about President Obama, and constant references to radical Islam. The very right-wing crowd ate it up. Still, while many in the audience likely left with hoarse voices from cheering so much, the […]

King’s Newest Offensive Comments Ill-Timed

Republican leaders and consultants were probably letting out sighs of annoyance on Tuesday night upon seeing Iowa Representative Steve King’s newest offensive comment pop up on their Twitter feed. “#Obama perverts “prosecutorial discretion” by inviting a deportable to sit in place of honor at #SOTU w/1st Lady. I should sit with Alito,” read his tweet. King was probably referring to the undocumented immigrant, Ana Zamora, who was sitting next to Michelle Obama. It was yet another in a long line of questionable or outright offensive statements when referring to undocumented immigrants for King. Some Republicans will likely defend him or […]

Bipartisan Group to Pitch RFS to Caucus Candidates

Governor Terry Branstad and others described a new pro-ethanol campaign group as an educational opportunity for presidential candidates, though the real message was clear: if you want to do well in the Iowa Caucus, you should support the Renewable Fuel Standard. America’s Renewable Future, a large bipartisan coalition, announced at the State Capitol today a major, well-financed campaign to take the message of renewable fuels to presidential candidates and caucus-goers. “The bipartisan renewable fuel standard is working for Iowa and the nation,” explained Bill Couser, a farmer from Nevada, Iowa who raises cattle. “It has ensured that renewable fuel producers […]

Iowa Travel Guide: Des Moines

Starting Line will offer a series of Iowa Travel Guides to all of Iowa’s main cities throughout the course of the year for visiting journalists and campaign staff to use on their trips. Let’s start out with the Capitol City. Des Moines has undergone a cultural renaissance in the past ten years. The downtown and neighboring East Village areas have opened amazing new restaurants and bars, and new apartments filled with young professionals spring up nearly every month. There’s so much going on in Des Moines that it’s impossible to even come close to providing a complete guide – we’ll […]