Obstruct, Obstruct, Obstruct Is Iowa House GOP’s Plan

Guest Post By House Democratic Leader Mark Smith It’s no surprise that obstruction is the new buzzword for Washington, D.C. With Justice Scalia’s death and our own Senator Charles Grassley in the center of the storm, I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about this obstruction for the next year. What might surprise Iowans is that the GOP obstruction gripping Washington right now also has a firm grasp here at our State Capitol in Des Moines, too. For six years straight, Republicans who control the Iowa House have ignored state law and delayed funding for public schools. Our law […]

The Battle For March: Previewing The Kansas Caucus

With the South Carolina primary complete, the first four primary and caucus states are finally done for Democrats. Now eyes turn to the Super Tuesday states, but a collection of contests a few days later on March 5th could mark a Bernie Sanders comeback or solidify Hilary Clinton’s delegate dominance. The Kansas Caucus offers an opportunity for Sanders to notch another statewide win in his belt with the state’s largely white demographics and caucus format that in theory benefits a progressive challenger. Clinton’s team, even after their large South Carolina win, is taking nothing for granted and is looking to win […]

Ready-To-Go Grassroots Armies Greet Sanders Campaign In March States

Linda Anderson admits she’s a bit of a CSPAN nerd. That’s where she first developed her affection for Bernie Sanders, watching his lively speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate. She also was a devoted fan of “Brunch with Bernie,” the weekly segment on Thom Hartmann’s radio program. So when the talk of a potential presidential run started, she quickly jumped to action. “When I heard he might run, I got really excited,” Anderson recalled, who received an email from a national progressive group (she thinks it was MoveOn.org) that encouraged supporters to set up local meetings. She did, […]

Kansas Caucus: How The Heck Do You Organize A 14-County Caucus?

There are some liberals in southwestern Kansas, including those in a place actually named Liberal, the Kansas town on the Oklahoma border with a majority Hispanic population and the self-appointed home of Dorothy. But for the Liberal liberals who want to make an impact in the Democratic nomination race, they’ll have to leave early on March 5th to drive the hour and a half to their caucus site in Dodge City. Many Democrats living in the western half of the state face long drives next Saturday afternoon because Kansas Democrats organize their caucuses by senate districts, of which there are 40 in the […]

As Iowa’s Bridges Crumble, David Young Touts Highway Bill He Voted Against

A recently released study of the country’s infrastructure saw Iowa place in the top five states of structurally deficient bridges. A full 5,025 of Iowa’s 24,242 bridges are rated that way, or 21% of all of Iowa’s bridges. That’s a big concern for Iowa drivers, and many have been fighting for additional funding from Congress to help address the issue. Congress finally moved forward on it when they passed the bipartisan highway bill late last year. Iowa Congressman David Young voted against that bill. Oddly, he’s now trying to take credit for it. In several radio interviews this week, Young highlighted the five-year highway […]

Absentee Option For Nebraska Caucus A Wild Card In Campaign

Caucuses are won by those who show up. Or, in the case of the Nebraska Democratic Caucus, it could be determined by some who don’t. That depends on how well the campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders take advantage of the absentee ballot option the Nebraska Democrats offer for their caucus. Democrats in Nebraska can caucus by absentee in their March 5th caucus. It’s been an option available for them in the past, but this is the first time the presidential campaigns are really focusing on signing people up for it. As of Wednesday morning, about 5,300 Nebraska Democrats […]

The Battle For March: Previewing the Nebraska Democratic Caucus

As the Democrats’ nominating race looks to go the distance, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders now turn their sights to the many contests beyond the first four states. 30 states and territories in all will choose their delegates for the Democrats during March. The first major test comes on the March 1st Super Tuesday, when many southern states, along with places like Colorado, Minnesota and Massachusetts, vote and caucus. The following Saturday on March 5th the three states of Kansas, Nebraska and Louisiana go. Starting Line is traveling to many of the Midwestern states surrounding Iowa to cover parts of […]

Rick Bertrand Looking At Bid To Primary Steve King

It appears Steve King made one too many enemies during the Iowa Caucus thanks to his endorsement of Ted Cruz. Iowa’s ethanol industry was furious when King, a longtime friend of theirs, backed the one Republican candidate most hostile to the Renewable Fuel Standard. That’s led to efforts from some Republicans, including longtime GOP operative Nick Ryan, to recruit a challenger to King in the primary. They may soon have their man: State Senator Rick Bertrand of Sioux City. Multiple sources told Starting Line that Bertrand informed a Sioux City Chamber of Commerce meeting yesterday morning that he’s looking closely […]

What’s Chet Culver Up To?

Chet Culver’s back, apparently. The former Governor popped back onto Iowa’s political radar last week by holding a series of public forums on opposing current Governor Terry Branstad’s Medicaid privatization plan. Just yesterday he held his fourth town hall meeting on the topic in Davenport, and is planning a large rally at the Capitol building next Wednesday. Most Iowa political insiders told Starting Line they’re simply confused by Culver’s actions. Why he decided this topic and this particular time to make a return to the public eye isn’t quite clear. Culver hasn’t been too engaged in Democratic politics or public […]

Key GOP Senate Recruit Mark Lofgren Burning Through Campaign Cash

Muscatine is known around Iowa in political circles for being the headquarters of the influential Iowans for Tax Relief, the anti-government spending organization that supports Republicans’ campaigns. Their message of fiscal responsibility, however, doesn’t seem to have gotten through to local Republican candidate Mark Lofgren, who spent nearly $25,000 before getting to the year of the election. Lofgren is a former State Representative who left his seat for an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2014. Now he’s eyeing a return to the Statehouse by way of Senate District 46 (which covers Muscatine and parts of Davenport and rural Scott County), […]