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 […]

Polk County Dems’ Turnout Numbers Should Worry GOP Incumbents

One of the best signs for Iowa Democrats coming out of last week’s primary was the sheer turnout numbers for the party across the state. Democrats broke their previous record of 148,000 votes in a statewide gubernatorial primary, producing over 176,000 votes in that race on election night (the total may climb a bit after the official canvass result). It was an optimistic sign that the party’s base is more fired up and engaged than ever ahead of the crucial 2018 election. Few places in the state was that more apparent than in Polk County, where initial turnout percentages for […]

Digging Into The Data: Fun Numbers From Iowa’s Primary

Now that the dust has settled from Tuesday night’s primaries across Iowa, let’s take a closer look at some of the trends and the county-level turnout numbers. There’s some interesting information there that helps explain what happened, why campaigns end up the way they do and where the Democratic Party is at. Keep in mind, however, that these are all numbers from the “unofficial results.” Late-arriving absentee ballots and other things may change numbers ever so slightly when the official canvass is done later. As always, here’s the spreadsheet I was working with. When Races Swung, They Swung Hard One […]

Tax Cut Effects Go Far Beyond Our Pocketbook, Governor

When Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the large tax-cut bill into law last week, she talked about how the legislation will allow hard-working Iowans to keep more of their paychecks. What the governor did not mention was how there are other real-life consequences for the people of Iowa that go beyond paying less in state income taxes. One such consequence comes to a head on June 25. That’s when a 20-year-old Des Moines man, Jessie Teah, goes on trial on charges of second-degree sexual assault and invasion of privacy. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Teah is […]

With Primary Over, Let’s Make All Candidates Who Ran Part Of The Team

After a long and contested race to determine the candidate who will face off against the Republican governor, the Democrats have now picked their choice. All candidates were well-qualified and policy positions were about the same with just a few nuanced differences. So what do they do next? Here is an idea. Each candidate had its strong supporters, and the worst possible outcome is a few get disenchanted and stay home because their favorite did not win. My solution and one that would help the party and the state: take each candidate who lost the race and the winner, Fred […]

Democrats’ New Generation Of Leaders Win Primaries, Look To November

Many of Democrats’ elected officials at all level of Iowa government will look a lot younger if things go well this November. A new generation of young Democrats won primaries and secured nominations in last night’s primary in key races across the state. Half of Iowa Democrats’ congressional candidates will be under 40. As will half of their non-incumbent statewide candidates. And exciting, young Democrats prevailed in several local legislative primaries that will ensure them a seat at the Statehouse. That all is no small feat in a state with a much older population that often prefers to vote for longtime […]

Why Is Reynolds Defending Trump’s Trade War?

Iowa farm leaders and manufacturing industry leaders have hit the panic button as Trump’s tariffs jeopardize the state’s economy. Trump’s trade war is quickly escalating as China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union have already retaliated or promised to punish Iowa’s agricultural producers. Iowans realize that even though they may not be directly involved in agriculture, the Iowa economy is closely linked to farmers’ income. The farm crisis of the 1980s caused a financial catastrophe that rippled throughout the Iowa economy. Meanwhile, Governor Reynolds claimed after her April agriculture meeting with Trump that he was listening. “The president listened to […]

Deidre DeJear Wins Primary, Could Be First Black Statewide Official

Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear narrowly defeated Jim Mowrer in the Democratic primary today, propelling her to a matchup with incumbent Republican Paul Pate. Were DeJear to win in November, she would become Iowa’s first black statewide elected official. DeJear’s candidacy for the top elections official post will be a deeply personal effort for the 32-year-old business owner. Born in Mississippi, her father didn’t have the chance to vote for much of his life in the Deep South state. “When my dad was born, he didn’t have the opportunity to vote,” DeJear told Starting Line for an earlier story. […]

What Happened Tonight In Iowa’s Democratic Primary

Iowa held its primaries today and the results in several key races have big implications for the state and national political environment in 2018 and beyond. Here’s Starting Line’s summary of what happened for all you national political watchers. Democrats Smash Turnout Records By far the best news of the night for Democrats was the record turnout in many places around the state. Just over 100,000 voted in the 2016 Democratic primary. Only 72,388 showed up in 2014. Neither of those years had statewide contested primaries with big spending. 2006 was the last time that happened, and just under 150,000 […]