A Rural Radio Reporter’s Tips For Messaging To Small Town Voters

Robert Leonard recently spoke with the Polk County Democrats about his experience with reporting about rural Iowa. An occasional New York Times contributor, Leonard explains how candidates of either party should better reach out to local press. Now that the Iowa state party conventions are over, the next stage of campaigning for elective office begins. Congratulations to all successful candidates of both parties as you seek to communicate to your existing or potential constituencies why you and your party offer the best vision to help move Iowa and our nation forward. To those of you who tried and fell short, thank […]

Prediction: You’re Going To Love Rita Hart

Fred Hubbell could not have made a better pick for his running mate. That’s just my opinion, of course, but I think it will become yours as well once you get to know Rita Hart. I first met Rita when I was the field director for the Senate Democrats in 2012. That was her first run for office in Senate District 49, which covers Clinton County and parts of rural Scott County. Though a first-time candidate, many of us were impressed with how sharp a political mind Rita already had. She won her strongly-contested primary by racking up lopsided margins […]

How The Rita Hart Pick Impacts The Senate Map

With Rita Hart joining Fred Hubbell on Democrats’ statewide ticket, Hart’s Senate District 49 now becomes an open seat for the party. And while this used to be a district with a decent Democratic lean thanks to the city of Clinton’s working-class base, Donald Trump carried it 51% to 42% in 2016. Hart was still heavily favored to win thanks to her past success in the rural areas of the district, but her withdrawal could turn this into a toss-up. Democrats will have to hold a special nominating convention, probably later this month, to put a new candidate on the […]

Hubbell Picks Rita Hart, Democrats’ Best Messenger For The Rural Vote

For his running mate pick, Fred Hubbell has looked east to rural Wheatland, Iowa, population 764. State Senator Rita Hart will be officially introduced as Democrats’ Lt. Governor nominee at the state party convention today. The Hubbell campaign announced the choice first thing this morning. Hart’s selection puts one of the party’s most credible rural voices on the ticket, and lifts up a legislator who, though not well-known among the larger activist crowd, was seen by many behind the scenes as a rising star with great potential. Some in Democratic circles see Hart as the party’s answer to Joni Ernst: […]

Some Negotiating. Kim Jong Un Gets Exactly What He Wanted

It appears that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un got exactly what his father and grandfather never could. President Trump elevated Kim, North Korea’s ruthless dictator, to a position on the world stage equivalent to the President of the United States. Posing in front of equal numbers of matched U.S. and North Korean flags gave this rogue and isolated nation a status reserved for our closest allies. Trump’s gushing praise of Kim, the leader of one of the most repressive authoritarian regimes in the world, is disgusting. Trump described Kim in the most charming terms. “He’s got a very good […]

A Clue To Fred Hubbell’s Lt. Governor Short List?

Fred Hubbell is slated to officially announce his pick for his Lt. Governor running mate at Iowa Democrats’ state convention this Saturday. It’s the last piece of business for the statewide Democratic ticket, and speculation about who Hubbell may choose is running rampant in various political circles. And there may be one clue sitting online as to who could be on a possible short list. As reader Taylor Gipple noticed, several website domains with potential Democratic ticket names were reserved on Monday, June 11. Here’s all the ones that Starting Line found on the ICANN domain registry look-up website: HubbellMathis.com […]

Please, No Poison Pills In This Year’s Party Platform

This coming Saturday, June 16, the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) State Convention will ratify the 2018 platform. The draft platform represents balanced progressive Democratic positions on hundreds of issues hammered out by hundreds of activists over several weeks. It’s critical that the convention retain that balance and prevent the insertion of any extremist poison pills. We expect that by embracing our platform it will enhance rather than harm our Democratic candidates or elected officials. Recall the shock and negative fallout resulting from the poison pill resolution inserted into the 2016 IDP platform: We support, “Legalizing all drugs.” The immediate public […]

Ep38: Primary Results Aftermath & L.G. Speculation

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard discusses the aftermath of the Iowa primary, including optimism for the exciting Democratic ticket, who Fred Hubbell may pick for Lt. Governor and what Starting Line will be up to during the next two weeks.

Taking A Two-Week Break From Writing

I’m going to be taking a break from writing on Iowa Starting Line for the next two weeks now that the primary is over and most of my post-election wrap-up pieces are done. That’s not a break from work, though (and I still have two or three stories that I’ll probably get pulled into writing). The business side of Starting Line was badly neglected during the primary, with simply too many candidates, too much breaking news and too few hours in the day to get everything done. I prioritized getting our readers as much news as possible this year, figuring […]

Consequences For Voter Suppression Coming To An Iowa District Near You

A guest post from Zack Davis, the state director for Jason Kander’s Let America Vote organization in Iowa. Photo of a Let America Vote intern knocking doors for a state legislative candidate in West Des Moines. On May 5th, 2017, our state — long seen as a leader in voter participation and election integrity — took a big step backward with the passage of House File 516. Instead of lowering barriers and increasing access to the ballot for Iowans, the legislation championed by Secretary of State Paul Pate injected partisan politics into the voting process, instituting an unnecessary and confusing […]