David Young Just Did A Last-Minute Vote Switch On LGBT Protections

Republican Congressman David Young today voted for a measure that would have protected LGBT individuals from discrimination in government contracting. Well, until he switched his vote to a “No,” that is. Why? Because it looked like the amendment might actually pass. A amendment to a Veterans Affairs spending bill would have prevented government contracts from going to companies that discriminated against the LGBT community. That was a response to language in the original bill that would have protected companies “religious liberty,” which many thought could be used to discriminate against gay people. The original vote stood at 217 to 206 […]

Iowa Democratic Party Releases List Of 2016 Honorees

The Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Hall of Fame Dinner is coming up next month, scheduled for June 17 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. This year North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp will give the keynote speech. The IDP also released today its list of honorees for the event that thanks the party’s outstanding activists and elected officials. Among them this year are Mike Gronstal, who keeps Republicans from having complete reign over Iowa, Jean Pardee, who was on the state’s central committee for decades, and Laura Hubka, a great county chair in a key rural county that’s part […]

Democrats Should Get Rid Of The Counterproductive Superdelegate System

It looks like the debate on superdelegates may take central stage at the Democrats’ national convention in Philadelphia in July – not about how they vote, but how the delegates vote on them. Bernie Sanders campaign is looking to use their delegate haul from the primaries and caucuses at the convention to push for significant changes to the nominating process, Buzzfeed reported last week. Chief among them: eliminating superdelegates. I hope they’re successful. It’s always been a flawed idea in both theory and practice, and in both the 2008 and 2016 Democratic primary it’s caused needless distractions and consternation even though – […]

At GOP Fundraiser Tamara Scott Basically Prays For Hillary’s Arrest For Benghazi

Iowa Republicans gathered in Des Moines last night for their annual Lincoln Day Dinner, one of the state party’s big fundraisers of the year. Last year they had 11 presidential hopefuls speak. This year was an understandably smaller affair, with their keynote speech given by Kris “Tanto” Paronto, an Army Ranger who was part of the team that responded to the Benghazi attack. Paronto fit the Republicans’ anti-Hillary theme of the night well. As Kathie Obradovich wrote, the evening was much more about opposing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy than it was promoting Donald Trump’s, even if RPI Chair Jeff Kaufmann stressed […]

No Joint Fundraising Talks Yet Between Trump and Iowa GOP

Politico reported earlier this week that the Donald Trump campaign is looking to set up a joint fundraising operation between them and the RNC and state parties. The structure they’re envisioning would allow for major donors to write much bigger checks that would eventually end up in the Trump and RNC’s coffers. It would also mark a more formal collaboration between Trump and the party infrastructure. So far, however, those talks haven’t made their way to Iowa yet. “We have not had specific conversations,” Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann told reporters last night. “We took a neutrality pledge, […]

A Day On The Trail With Mike Sherzan

“Hi, I’m Mike Sherzan. I grew up near the Fairgrounds and I’m running for Congress.” Former businessman Mike Sherzan repeated that line close to a hundred times this past Saturday, working his way through festivals and picnics as he campaigned for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. One of three Democrats running for the chance to take on first-term Republican David Young, Sherzan has the least electoral experience of the group, but not by much. Despite his relative obscurity on the political scene prior to 2016, he’s quickly become known to Democratic voters thanks to some smart TV ads and the retail […]

Hillary Clinton Wins Nebraska Primary After Losing Nebraska Caucus

Hillary Clinton is the projected winner of the Nebraska primary this Tuesday night, handily outpacing Bernie Sanders by a 60%-39% margin in the early returns [Update: Clinton finished with a closer 53%-47% win as Sanders closed significantly throughout the night]. The win is merely in a beauty contest, however – the delegates to the national convention were awarded in March during their Democratic caucus. Sanders won that with 57% of the vote to Clinton’s 43%. That disparity in results from the caucus to the primary in Nebraska mirrors a similar outcome in the 2008 presidential primary. Barack Obama soundly defeated Clinton in […]

5 Reasons Joni Ernst Will – And Won’t Be – Donald Trump’s Vice President

While many high-profile Republican leaders around the country have struggled in embracing Donald Trump as their nominee, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is all-in. So much so that he’s even offering up Iowa’s own Senator Joni Ernst as Trump’s potential running mate, saying he’ll personally press Trump on selecting her. Senator Chuck Grassley joined the chorus today, saying he thinks Ernst’s military background would help Trump’s shortcoming in that policy area. Does Ernst really have any chance of becoming Trump’s Vice President nominee? If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the 2016 campaign, you’d know that anything’s possible. Here’s our best […]

A Day On The Trail With Patty Judge

Patty Judge was running a few minutes behind when she got her travel schedule last Thursday, full of meetings and event drop-bys in northern Iowa. She gathered with her campaign staff in her East Village office housed out of Jeff Link’s consulting firm. “I need a fast car and somebody to drive it,” Judge told her campaign manager when asked if there was anything else she needed for the road. The car they ended up taking was her own, a black Chrysler 300. The car has a nickname. She calls it “Dr. Dre.” When she and her husband bought it […]

Meet Iowa’s First Transgender National Elector, Jack Schuler

Last week at the 3rd District Convention in Creston, Democrats made a bit of history by electing Iowa’s first transgender person to serve as one of Iowa’s national elector. Jack Schuler – formerly Elyse Schuler – was elected to the position after a few rounds of balloting by the Democratic activists in the Des Moines and Council Bluffs-based district. What’s a national elector? That’s the person who officially casts one of the state’s six votes in the electoral college after the presidential election. In Iowa they simply gather in the Governor’s office to go through with the formality. Schuler – […]