What The Governor’s Conference On LGBTQ Youth Is Really Like

Conservative Republicans’ attempts to investigate or restrict local funding for the Governor’s annual Conference on LGBTQ Youth seem to have largely backfired. Monday’s gathering in downtown Des Moines saw the largest attendance yet in its 11-year run, with over 1,100 students, parents and educators showing up. Few topics in Iowa have seen more political controversy in the last year than the conference that focuses largely on anti-bullying advice for LGBTQ youth led by the Iowa Safe Schools organization. Republicans at the statehouse tried to launch an investigation into the event, even asking local districts for information on who attended last year […]

Here’s How Each 3rd District Democrat Made Their Pitch To Beat David Young

The Johnston and Urbandale Democrats hosted the three hopefuls looking to take on David Young – Desmund Adams, Jim Mowrer and Mike Sherzan – for the Des Moines/Council Bluffs-based 3rd District. About four dozen local Democrats filled the seats at the Johnston Public Library, well-fed that evening with a large bounty of cookies from local volunteers. Local State House candidate Maridith Morris and State Senate candidate Miyoko Hikiji gave their campaign pitches before the forum kicked off. Tornadoes to the southwest of Des Moines threatened to possibly cut the night short, but the most severe weather held off (thankfully, as […]

At Forums Democrats Spar Over Labels In 1st District, Mostly Agree In 3rd District

Tornadoes to the southwest of Des Moines threatened to cut short the 3rd District Democrats’ forum in Johnston on Wednesday night, but the candidates in the room were at least all blowing in the same direction on policy issues. Meanwhile, the 1st District forum proved a much stormier affair with Pat Murphy constantly pressing Monica Vernon on her past Republican Party affiliation. The difference in tone and discussion was sharp between the 1st and 3rd candidates. It was clear there’s some real animosity between the two 1st District rivals who battled in the 2014 primary as well. The 3rd District […]

Who’s A Winner In American Elections? A Majority Or Plurality?

Guest post from Nate Willems This is America, whoever has a majority wins. This is America, whoever has the most votes wins. Which statement is more correct? We don’t seem to have a good or clear answer to this question. Put aside the law, the rules or the system. We lack a clear answer as to who should win or who deserves to win the Republican nomination. Trump appears on his way to winning the most Republican primary votes and delegates, but not a majority. Some believe Trump has no right to win the nomination in this situation – somebody […]

Meet Iowa’s Next Crop Of Rising Young Political Reporters

Coming soon to a byline near you… Student journalists got a front row seat to national politics during this past year’s Iowa Caucus. The access and opportunities they had to interview presidential candidates and break news on the most fascinating campaign in decades was unmatched around the country, and many Iowa college students took full advantage. A number of student reporters at Iowa universities stood out in their coverage of both the Iowa Caucus and Iowa politics as a whole. And just like in the political operative world, there’s nothing better than having Iowa on your resume. So Starting Line thought […]

House GOP Dodges Vote On Equal Pay By Attacking Unions

The Iowa House found itself in a good old-fashioned Mexican standoff last night. Democrats loaded up their six-shooters with Equal Pay amendments. Republicans readied themselves with bullets aimed at labor organizing rights. Some brief, tense words were exchanged, but most of the evening was filled with nothing more exciting than blowing tumbleweeds as both sides postponed and delayed. The sun had long set when the proceedings finally finished close to midnight with no shots fired. The scene was set yesterday when the House introduced the final economic development budget for passage around 4:00 PM. With the Iowa Legislature fast approaching adjournment, House Democrats […]

Monica Vernon and Jim Mowrer Outraise Incumbents Rod Blum and David Young

Iowa looks to play an important role in control over the U.S. House of Representatives this November. If 2016’s 1st Quarter fundraising reports are any indication, Republicans face some real problems in the Hawkeye State. Iowa’s two most-vulnerable incumbents, Republican first-termers Rod Blum and David Young put up smaller fundraising totals than some of their potential Democratic opponents. In Iowa’s 1st District, Monica Vernon reported raising $335,052 in the 1st Quarter. Blum raised $292,991 this quarter. This marks the fourth quarter in a row that Vernon has outraised Blum. The incumbent Republican still enjoys a cash-on-hand advantage of $1,273,400 to Vernon’s $774,631, […]

From Face-Banking To A Jedi Bernie, Sanders’ Grassroots Develop New Organizing Tactics

Every presidential election cycle brings about new organizing tactics on the Democratic side. In 2004 Howard Dean ushered in the era of online grassroots donations. 2008 saw Barack Obama’s campaign develop and hone the neighborhood team leadership model used in so many campaigns now. 2016 may be remembered for the innovative social media organizing tactics being spearheaded by Bernie Sanders’ national volunteer network. As voters – especially young ones – get harder to contact every year thanks to cell phones and limited-access apartment living, campaigns increasingly look to new ways to reach them online. Sanders’ base is largely in this […]

Progressive Group’s Provocative Ad Targets Grassley On SCOTUS

The progressive group Agenda Project Action Fund released a new ad this week targeting Senator Chuck Grassley over his refusal to hold a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. The group says they’re running it in Iowa, though didn’t mention specifics of the size of the ad buy. The ad is, uh… interesting (see video below). In addition to hitting Grassley on the Supreme Court issue, they also bring up Republicans’ failure to pass a budget and not sending aid to help lead poisoning victims in Flint, Michigan. The head of the organization that produced the video notes that […]

It’s Time For Democrats To Vote Republican (In Steve King’s Primary)

Democrats in Western Iowa are used to voting against Steve King. They’ve done it year in and year out, always to no avail. It’s become a bit of a ritual: each campaign cycle a Democrat announces his or her candidacy and all the activists get excited that maybe this year will be the one that the despised King is finally sent packing. It never works. And then those Democrats have to go back to explaining to their friends how they live in Steve King country. But 2016 could be different. Because this year King faces something a little different: a […]