DCCC Sees Monica Vernon As Strongest Candidate In 1st District

There’s still four months to go in the Democratic primary for the 1st District, but party leaders seem to see Monica Vernon beginning to pull away in the race. Late last week the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Vernon to their targeted Red To Blue candidate program, a list of their top prospects in the country to retake Republican districts. Vernon’s inclusion on the list should indicate to donors and activists in Iowa and nationally that Democratic House leaders have settled on which person they prefer to take on Rod Blum in the general election. Considering Democrats view Iowa’s 1st […]

With Caucus Over, Big Priorities Ahead For Iowa Democrats

As the final rumblings over the caucus process slowly die out, Democrats have a chance to regroup and refocus on what their priorities moving forward must be. Iowa Democrats are at their weakest point in years after two consecutive midterm blowouts, but there’s plenty of opportunities in 2016 and beyond to regain the advantage. Starting off 2019 with control of the Governor’s office, Senate and House is a distinct possibility, but only if Democrats are focused and engaged in serious, long-term planning. Having worked many cycles now in Iowa politics there’s sometime a depressing sense of deju vu every two […]

Chuck Grassley Vows To Play Politics, Obstruct Supreme Court Process A Year

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sent shock waves throughout the political and judicial world on Saturday afternoon. The conversation online revolved around condolences and the surprise of the longtime jurist’s passing for all of about ten minutes before the focus turned to politics. Senate Republicans made clear very quickly that they had no intention of confirming a new Supreme Court justice so long as Barack Obama is President. Iowa’s own Chuck Grassley will play the key, high-profile role in the process as the new Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who would handle a potential nominating hearing. […]

Republicans Breaking Rank On Medicaid, Retiring Over Education

Governor Terry Branstad’s deeply unpopular Medicaid privatization plan and Statehouse Republicans’ under-funding of Iowa’s public education is starting to take a toll on GOP unity. It’s rare nowadays to see dissension among the ranks on high-profile issues at the Capitol, but three Senate Republicans turned the vote to cancel the Medicaid contracts into a bipartisan affair on Thursday, joining the Democrats to reverse Branstad’s actions. Republican Senators David Johnson, Jake Chapman and Tom Shipley all voted with Democrats on the bill. All three hail from districts west of I-35, none of which could be mistaken for a moderate. Speaker Linda […]

Dear Clinton Backers: For The Love Of God, Don’t Talk About Superdelegates

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 1:9 Hillary Clinton loses big in one of the first two states? Check. Her opponent is an outsider to her left who builds a youthful movement to overwhelm Clinton’s establishment support? Check. Clinton’s message is one of pragmatism and realism versus optimism and change/revolution? Check. Oh, and just for good measure, we’re talking about the Iraq War vote? Check. We’ve seen this movie before. And since most of the same storyline is playing out once again in 2016 as […]

GOP Results In New Hampshire Gives Democrats Sigh Of Relief

For a week there, it started to look like Democrats’ worst case scenario might come true in the presidential primary: Marco Rubio was poised to quickly dispatch the other mainstream candidates in New Hampshire, leading to a fast consolidation of center-right voters that could defeat Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Instead, Rubio short-circuited and dispelled with the notion that he knows what he’s doing. The final result for Republicans couldn’t have been better scripted for Democrats: 1. Trump, Donald  93,203   35% 2. Kasich, John       42,150   16% 3. Cruz, Ted             30,706   12% 4. Bush, Jeb             29,418   11% 5. Rubio, Marco     27,961   […]

Sunday Grab Bag: GOP Results, Marco Roboto And IDP Under Siege

Good afternoon readers! Starting Line is still slowly getting back into a normal routine after a considerable amount of naps and late mornings this past post-caucus week. This next week I’ll make a return to the Statehouse and do a few reports of what’s driving the discussion there. For today, a few thoughts on the Republicans and the (hopefully) final commentary on the Democratic caucus problems. The Republican Results With all the madness on the incredibly close Democratic side this week, I realized I never weighed in on the Republicans, of whose events I attended almost as much as Democrats […]

Finkenauer Friday: Welcome To The Democratic Party, New Caucus-Goers!

I want to set aside all the social media debates for the next few minutes and refer to Feb 1st, not in terms of a presidential caucus, but rather, as the night you became an Iowa Democrat. Honestly, I’m so excited to have you. As I’ve heard throughout the state, it sounds like our new members are passionate and have a ton of energy. Thank goodness. We need it. I need it.  Clearly, you give a damn. You showed up and it was inspiring to watch. I give a damn, too. I know many personally throughout this state whom have fought for […]

What’s Next For Starting Line?

A lot of people have asked me what Starting Line will do after the caucus. Will it switch back to an Iowa-only focus or will I follow along on the campaign trail? The answer is a bit of both. First though, some sleep would be nice. My intention has always been to keep Starting Line going through the 2016 election. That’s when I felt like it would have the most effect of driving a progressive message into the larger media narrative. So far we’ve already been incredibly effective in providing a unique angle on campaigns and pushing stories helpful for […]

Much Of Caucus Criticism Misplaced Or Misunderstood

Guest post by John McCormally The Register’s recent editorial “Something smells in the Democratic Party,” perpetuates misinformation about the historically close Iowa caucuses. Here’s the truth: The results were really close. When the results are so close, every little thing seems like a big problem. In reality, problems were minimal. There were 1,681 caucuses, and the overwhelming majority ran smoothly. Only the tightness of the race is unusual. The Register’s editorial seems rooted in a misunderstanding of the Iowa caucuses. As someone who actually chaired a precinct caucus and also spent significant time in the Iowa Democratic Party reporting center […]