Todd Prichard Elected Leader Of Iowa House Democrats

House Democrats elected Todd Prichard as their new minority leader this afternoon. The Democratic legislators gathered in Des Moines at the Statehouse for their post-election caucus, choosing their new leadership group for the next session after Mark Smith decided to not run for reelection for the party’s top spot in the House. Democrats also elected Jo Oldson of Des Moines as the Minority Whip, a new position they hadn’t had in recent years. The new assistant leaders are Wes Breckenridge, John Forbes, Brian Meyer and Sharon Steckman. “House Democrats are ready to get to work in January to improve the […]

A Word Of Warning From A Rural Democratic County Chair

A guest post from Brian Bruening, chair of the Clayton County Democrats in Northeast Iowa.  It’s easy to get caught up in national Democratic excitement after the November 6th election. We flipped two house districts in Iowa as part of the Democratic wave the crashed over the US House. However, on the state and local levels, November 6 was a bigger Democratic disaster than the Republican wave of 2010. While we flipped several Iowa House seats from Republican control in affluent suburban districts, a voting trend seen nationwide, Democratic representation in the Senate was decimated, and only one statewide office was moved […]

Planning A Run For President? First Protect New Medicare Part D Plan

A guest post from Ro Foege, former state representative and AARP executive council member. The Iowa Caucuses are just around the corner, and presidential candidates will be flocking to the Hawkeye State in droves over the coming months, touting their voting record and stances on the issues, including healthcare. When it comes to prescription drug costs, opinions are abundantly clear across the U.S. – everyday Americans are being charged outrageous prices. Nobody should have to choose between buying food for their loved ones and paying for prescription drugs they need to keep themselves well. However, it is the reality that […]

Even In Loss, Fred Hubbell Raised Awareness Of Key Issues

Fred Hubbell fell short in his campaign to oust Governor Kim Reynolds, but he successfully raised vital issues that will continue to demand action by Iowans. The unsolved problems that Hubbell focused on in his campaign won’t go away; he was absolutely correct to identify them in his criticism of Reynolds’ leadership. Democrats shouldn’t take Reynolds’ victory as a rejection of the importance of the issues Hubbell focused on during the campaign. The exit polling that Iowa Starting Line summarized earlier this week confirms that many of the issues that the Hubbell campaign raised have majority support from Iowa voters. Hubbell […]

Iowa Needs More Than Just The Big Regents Schools

Iowa is speeding toward a dangerous crossroads this week, and there has been too little discussion about what might occur and zero discussion about what the state should do. Trustees of Iowa Wesleyan University, the second-oldest college in Iowa, meet on Thursday to decide whether the institution will close next spring. The Mount Pleasant school has been educating young men and women since 1842. It was established four years before Iowa became a state and five years before the University of Iowa opened its doors. Only Loras College in Dubuque is older, having been founded in 1839. But Iowa Wesleyan’s […]

House Democrats Get It

According to a report in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Todd Prichard is on track to be the next leader for the Iowa House Democrats. That’s a very good thing. Democrats in Iowa face a lot of challenges as they head into another two years of all-Republican control of state government. The party made important gains in last week’s elections by turning the suburbs blue, increasing base turnout, flipping two congressional seats, winning the State Auditor race and capturing some new state legislative districts. But two big sticking points remain for Democrats in their quests for top-of-ticket statewide wins and legislative […]

Ep71: Statehouse Election Recaps

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard and former legislator Nate Willems recap all the races for the Iowa House and Iowa Senate, and look ahead to see where Democrats go from here to regain the majority.

Iowa Exit Poll Has Warning Signs For GOP Legislation

The recent 2018 election failed to end the Republicans trifecta lock on Iowa government. Democrats picked up several house seats, but remaining in the minority makes it extremely difficult to pass any progressive legislation in the next two years. Republicans will continue to control the legislative agenda. However, a 2018 exit poll suggests there are issues Democrats may be able to leverage based on voters’ answers on a variety of questions. The results of the poll suggest Iowa voters hold views much more in line with Democrats than Republicans. It validates Iowa voters support for many progressive policies even though […]

Who Will Run Against Joni Ernst In 2020?

The postmortems of the 2018 election are still being written, but that’s not stopping anyone from speculating and planning for Iowa’s 2020 Senate race. That’s actually typically what happens immediately after any election – winners plot out their next longterm moves and losers consider if they still have the fire in them to make another run. Senator Joni Ernst will be a difficult incumbent to beat, but there’s some reasons for hope. Iowa voters seemed much more upset at national politics than they were at state politics this year, electing Kim Reynolds while also sending Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne […]

Mark Smith Won’t Seek Reelection As House Dem Leader

Representative Mark Smith will not seek another term as House Minority Leader, Starting Line has learned from multiple Democratic sources. He announced his decision yesterday in an email to fellow Democratic House members. It’s an unexpected changing of the guard after Democrats picked up a net gain of five or six seats on Tuesday, one of the state party’s bright spots from the evening. Final ballots or a recount may yet determine the outcome of Decorah’s HD 55. Smith has faced challenges from within his caucus in past years, but House Democrats’ wins this cycle were generally seen as a […]