Not Gaining Traction? Gillibrand Has been Underestimated Before

When Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tried to win over a Republican held congressional district in Upstate New York her opponent repeatedly ran a commercial that showed a picture of her face covered in flames. In the background, a deep voice would say “she’s not who you think she is.” During that 2006 race, Gillibrand said she was demeaned, dismissed and called names.  But, the quick-witted lawyer took the high road.  She managed to out pace her opponent and easily won in the two-to-one Republican district. “The one mistake my opponent made was the same mistake that President Trump is going to […]

Shake Ups In Iowa’s Federal Races After New Financial Reports

With this week’s 2nd quarter campaign finance reports out, we now have a clearer look at where Iowa’s federal races stand. Some potential candidates have seen what they’d be up against and decided against a run. Others have added their names to a 2020 primary. Here’s where things stand: U.S. Senate Despite the influx of news coming from other points on the congressional map, Sen. Joni Ernst’s re-election race has remained unchanged from when she kicked off her campaign June 15. Ernst’s latest Federal Election Commission [FEC] filing shows she raised more than $1.1 million in the second quarter (April […]

What Latino Voters Are Looking For In The Iowa Caucus

As the Latino population becomes an increasingly significant portion of the American electorate, candidates for public office are working to boost their turnout in elections from the presidential race to city council contests. But, as Nicholas Salazar points out, Latinos are far from a homogenous group. Even in Iowa — a state about 6% Latino — communities range from first generation Mexican immigrants to families from South America who have been here for decades. “I think if we’re going to call it the ‘Latino Vote,’ I think we need to break it down a little bit more,” said Salazar, state […]

Cory Booker: Win Back Senate To Bring Sanity Back To Courts

To combat the partisanship of the Supreme Court, Cory Booker said his main goal is to target one of the root causes for the radicalization: the Senate. In the first event in a series of conversations with the 2020 presidential candidates, hosted earlier this week by Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa Public Television, Booker received a question from a student about how Booker would handle a Supreme Court that has been heavily influenced by conservatives. Booker said he wants to solve the problem, and he’s open to the two most popular proposals, term limits and expansion, but he […]

Iowa Dems Knock Trump EPA’s “Bait-And-Switch” On Iowa Farmers

Focus on Rural America hosted a press conference Thursday to call out President Donald Trump for the promises he made to farmers and the biofuel industry during his first campaign, but has failed to live up to. “We have a bait-and-switch. They said we’re gonna give you year-round E15 sales, but we’re gonna grant enough waivers to the oil industry that it does not result in any additional market share,” Patty Judge said. Focus on Rural America chair and former Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge spoke at the press conference, along with former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, IDP […]

DNC: Debate The Debate On Climate

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is engaged in a peculiar debate. Since April, there has been a growing grassroots crusade by such groups as the Sunrise Movement, 350.org, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Credo Action demanding the DNC sponsor a presidential debate focused exclusively on climate change. The DNC leadership has pushed back, pointing to the number of critical single issues that could be individually debated. In June, DNC Chair Tom Perez argued that devoting debates to single issues, especially those issues pushed by single candidates, was unfair. “We don’t have enough debates to do that,” Perez said. The […]

How Kamala Harris’ Plan Would Address Iowa’s Rape Kit Backlog

Justice after a sexual assault is hard for victims to find, and Kamala Harris wants to make it a little easier.  On Thursday, Harris announced a plan to eliminate the backlog many states have of untested rape kits, the equipment used by investigators to collect DNA samples and evidence from victims of sexual assault during a forensic medical exam.   In 2016, Iowa had 4,265 unsubmitted kits. And in some cases, it can take months or years for kits to be tested.  “Harris’ proposal would invest $1 billion to allow states to fully eliminate their rape kit backlogs within four years […]

Sanders Lands 1st Iowa Legislative Endorsement With Ft. Madison’s Kurtz

Fort Madison State Rep. Jeff Kurtz today became the first Iowa lawmaker to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders, calling him a politician that “has been consistent through his entire career on the issues that matter to the 99%.” Kurtz, elected to represent District 83 in the Iowa Legislature in 2018, told Starting Line he caucused for Sanders in 2016, but kept an open mind this cycle when considering who to support. “One of my criteria for endorsing is, how do I think it works for this district?” said Kurtz, who defeated his Republican opponent for the open seat, left vacant by […]

Steve Bullock: Appoint More Western Judges, Consider Court Expansion

Montana governor Steve Bullock has a new idea for the type of justices he’d seek for the Supreme Court. After touring an ethanol plant and a grain co-op earlier this week, Bullock told Starting Line he would pursue justices who come from the Midwest or Western regions of the country. “I think that when you have your whole court that are folks who are all, essentially, coming from the East Coast, all coming from a small handful of schools, you’re really losing a big perspective of what this country is,” he said. Bullock said that as Montana Attorney General he argued […]

The Other Side Of Iowa You Should See

Years ago, when I was a young pup of a reporter for the Des Moines Register, my assignment was covering state and federal courts. Normally, it amounted to reporting on the dirty laundry of society that gets scrubbed in the courts — the murders, the robberies, the embezzlements and the civil lawsuits. But whenever time permitted, I would grab a seat in the back of U.S. District Judge William C. Stuart’s ornate courtroom in the federal courthouse in Des Moines and watch as he administered the oath of citizenship to newly naturalized citizens of the United States. It was always […]