2nd Democratic Debate Recap And Analysis

For a while on Saturday afternoon it looked like the Democratic debate might be lost to history as events in Paris overshadowed the day’s affairs. The mood on Drake University’s campus was somber, the campaigns scaled back their activities, much of the press was focused on Paris and there was just a lack of overall energy present. And then the debate started and we ended up getting a great, well-moderated, substantive and entertaining discussion where the candidates sharply argued their differences without getting too nasty. All three Democrats performed well Saturday night, with Martin O’Malley the most obviously improved of […]

Early Scenes At Drake For The Democratic Debate

Drake University and Iowa Democrats are getting ready for the big event on campus in Des Moines today. The second Democratic presidential debate is tonight, hosted by CBS News, KCCI, the Des Moines Register and Twitter. The day, however, has taken on a more somber tone in the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris last night. The questions asked and strategies of the candidates tonight are likely undergoing changes right now. Starting Line has been roaming Drake’s campus for much of this week, taking in the spectacle and talking with students about the excitement surrounding the hosting of […]

Ben Carson Has No Idea What He’s Doing; Neither Do Conservatives

The reason Republicans lost the presidency in 2008 was because they nominated too moderate of a candidate in John McCain, many conservatives will tell you. They argue the same mistake was made in 2012 with Mitt Romney, not right-wing enough to provide a clear contrast with President Obama. Well, here’s their chance in 2016, with a wide array of candidates to choose from. But who have Republicans been enamored with so far? Donald Trump led the polls for nearly five months, a man who, like Bernie Sanders, favors single-payer healthcare, was strongly opposed to the Iraq war and wants to […]

Ames Opens Climate Conversation Floodgates

Guest Post from Climate Reality Project Wednesday afternoon students, professors, and activists gathered in the Biorenewable Complex at ISU to kickoff Senator Hogg’s Climate Solutions Tour and open a discourse around the UN Climate Negotiations in Paris this December. The discussion, hosted by the Climate Reality Project, featured a diverse group of concerned individuals familiar with the industries, policies, and environmental practices here in Iowa. “The science is clear: we must urgently act to safeguard our people and our property from the dangers of climate change,” said State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids.  “The good news is we have […]

What Won’t Rand Paul Fund? Bomb-Sniffing Elephants, Few Other Things

The clash between Rand Paul and Marco Rubio over defense spending stood out as one of the key moments in last night’s Republican presidential debate. Paul lambasted Rubio for wanting to increase military spending, arguing it would damage America’s security in the long run by running up our national debt. But what would Paul like to not see in the defense budget? Well, bomb-sniffing elephants for one, he told Iowa reporters this evening. Paul held an event in Des Moines this evening with his new group of Iowa Veterans For Rand Paul. A little under 100 people attended the gathering […]

GOP Debate #4 Recap: The Good, The Bad And The John Kasich

Fox Business served up a policy-heavy, softball debate last night for the Republican presidential field, offering chances to see real issue discussion, but lacking the fireworks of past outings. Still, we learned a lot from the candidates in this different format, and some did their campaigns a real service with their performances. And then there was John Kasich. Here’s Starting Line’s thoughts on last night’s Republican debate:   The Good Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz The two candidates emerging as the favorites for the establishment and conservative front-runner positions did themselves well at the debate. Both strongly articulated their positions […]

Mike Sherzan Eyes Potential 3rd District Run

Iowa Democrats may soon see a three-person primary for the 3rd Congressional District. Businessman Mike Sherzan is strongly considering a bid for the seat currently held by first-term Republican David Young. Jim Mowrer and Desmund Adams announced campaigns for the Democratic nomination earlier this year. “I’m at the exploratory phase of looking at this,” Sherzan told Starting Line when contacted today about his interest in the 3rd. “We’re in the process of talking with constituents and we’re getting some very positive interaction with them … We’re getting a lot of people that would actually like to see more people in […]

What Brings Everyone Together in 2016? Super PAC Opposition

The Super PAC ads are coming. That was the warning given by many of the speakers at Iowa Pays The Price’s Stand Up To Super PAC rally this Sunday outside the state Capitol building in Des Moines. And in many ways, the unlimited money available through those organizations have already poured into the state in the lead up to the Iowa Caucus. That brought a coalition of Republican, Democrat and independent voters out on Sunday to voice their frustration with the current campaign finance setup. About 70 people, many of them younger voters, rallied outside the Capitol. Scott Siepker of […]

Ray Zirkelbach Joins Democrats’ U.S. Senate Primary Race

The Democratic Senate primary fight for the right to take on Chuck Grassley in 2016 added a new name this weekend: Ray Zirkelbach, a former State Representative and Iraq veteran from Monticello. Zirkelbach announced his intentions and an exploratory committee at the Jones County Democrats’ dinner on Sunday. “I’m not a politician, I’m a worker, and I like to work,” Zirkelbach told Starting Line last night, presenting himself as someone who can work across party lines to get things done. “I’m able to move above the whole left and right spectrum. That’s the way I always legislated.” Zirkelbach served four […]

Martin O’Malley Not Out Of It Yet As He Prepares For Next Phase

He hasn’t broken into the double-digits in state or national polls. He failed to ignite a spark after the first national Democratic debate or Iowa’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. He has yet to dominate a news cycle in the national media. But Martin O’Malley is holding his own in the fight for the nomination, and he should not be discounted out of the race just yet. “We are positioned better than any candidate in this race to beat expectations,” said O’Malley’s Iowa state director Jake Oeth in a conversation this week with Starting Line about their next steps. O’Malley and his staff […]