Who You Need To Follow For Iowa Caucus Coverage

Now that we’re 4 months out from the Iowa Caucus, and the political silly season of summer has finally dissipated, all eyes turn increasingly to Iowa. But who really has the advantage here? Who’s connecting with caucus-goers and who’s just coasting on publicity? The best way to learn what’s actually happening is to follow the reporters covering these candidates and the voters on the ground every single day. Some of them aren’t the big names you’ve heard of on TV, but their reporting and analysis is often much more accurate and informative than what you hear in the larger national […]

Rising Star Profile: Rob Sand

Were Rob Sand to run for office in the near future, he’ll already hold many qualifications of a successful candidate for public office: an Assistant Attorney General, family man, rural upbringing and… chicken wrangler. That last one he added to his resume early on growing up in Northeast Iowa, where he developed an appreciation for small-town life, the outdoors and civic engagement. Now he lives in Des Moines, where his work as a 33-year-old attorney fighting corruption and fraud for the state has built him an impressive profile. Sand is fresh off a major legal victory from earlier this month, […]

Key Takeaways From A Week Of Caucus Events

Starting Line has been out on the Iowa Caucus trail a lot recently, hitting up both Democratic and Republican events, mostly in central Iowa the last week and a half. There’s always something interesting to take out of each candidate’s visit, though oftentimes not enough to fill a full post (or I’m just too tired by the time I get home). So here’s a collection of observations and analysis of a number of caucus visits I’ve been to recently. (Also, if you’re not following me on Twitter, you’re missing out on about 50% of the reporting Starting Line does). Trump […]

Dick Dearden To Retire, Nate Boulton Announces Senate Run

Longtime Democratic State Senator Dick Dearden will be retiring next year and not running for re-election in 2016. Democrats looking to succeed the Senator in Des Moines’ East Side/Pleasant Hill district are quickly making their intentions known. Earlier this week, Dearden’s daughter, Pam Conner, who works at the Iowa Division of Labor, made public that she will run for her father’s seat. This morning Nate Boulton, a workers’ rights attorney, announced he’s launching his campaign for the seat. “Now more than ever, we need someone who will take the lead on progressive issues in the Iowa Senate,” Boulton said in […]

Rising Star Profile: Miyoko Hikiji

When Miyoko Hikiji’s friends first suggested to her that she run for office, she was hesitant. Am I really qualified for this? Would I be prepared? Those were the questions that went through her mind before she realized how silly the doubts were. “I’ve done a lot of scary things in my career,” the Iraq War veteran and mother of two young girls finally decided. “If I can go to war, I can probably survive [a campaign] and do well in it.” Hikiji is now a candidate for State Senate District 20, which covers the Johnston, Urbandale and Grimes parts […]

Who Will Drop Out Next?

Pour one out for Scotty boy, his all-too-brief campaign has come to an end. After Scott Walker’s surprising announcement on Monday that he’s quitting the race, many political observers are asking the question: who’s next? If someone like Walker, who was the Iowa front-runner for all but about one or two months, could suddenly implode and be done, it could probably happen to almost anyone. Here’s Starting Line’s best guess as to which other Republicans may be asking themselves very tough questions about whether they can – or want to – continue: 1. Donald Trump Bold prediction time: I do […]

4 Worst GOP Immigration Moments (So Far)

(Guest Post from Hector Salamanca, an immigration activist who attends nearly every Iowa Caucus campaign event) Happy national Hispanic Heritage month! It has been quite the presidential campaign summer in Iowa and if you happen to be Latino, specifically Mexican, it’s been pretty rough. As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipient with an unclear legal immigrant status, it has been especially rough having to attend the countless Republican town halls and events post-Trump’s appearance, with the rhetoric on immigration veering a hard right. The hardest part of being at the events is having to hear the ridiculous assumptions […]

Is It Happening Again To Hillary Clinton?

It’s different this time. That must have been the thought going through Hillary Clinton’s mind as her campaign van crossed the border into Iowa days after her official announcement in April. It was a fun, impromptu-like start to her second presidential run, the idea that the most-watched woman in the world would just jump in a van and go on a nearly 1,000-mile road trip right to the very state that upended her hopes in 2008. That was the type of break with the past she needed, and, for a time, it seemed to work. The media circus may have […]

Leading Iowa Democrats Lining Up Behind Jim Mowrer

Influential Democrats seem to increasingly see Jim Mowrer as the most formidable candidate to take on freshman Republican Congressman David Young in the 3rd District. His campaign is releasing a number of new endorsers, shared early with Starting Line, many of which are well-known names to Democratic activists. Former Lt. Governor Sally Pederson, former Planned Parenthood of the Heartland president Jill June, former Congressman Berkeley Bedell and State Senator Dick Dearden are all making their support of Mowrer public. That adds to a list that already includes Representatives Bruce Hunter and Charlie McConkey, Polk County Treasurer Mary Maloney and Linda […]

New Sidewire App Offers Up Key Insider Political Analysis

It can be hard at times during the non-stop 2016 coverage to find reliable, well-informed analysis of what’s actually going on inside the campaigns and the mood of the voters. This year has proven particularly volatile, with outsider candidates no one thought had any chance surge to the front of the pack. But it hasn’t been that big of a surprise to some of the early state insiders, on-the-ground reporters and veteran campaign operatives who are watching these campaigns up close. So now a news app/platform called Sidewire has formed to bring together those voices to add insight to the […]