Ep91: Media Mania For Beto & Biden, Special Election Win

The Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard is joined by State Representative Jennifer Konfrst to talk about the media hype around Beto O’Rourke and Joe Biden. We also discuss how candidates like Kirsten Gillibrand are impressing people on the ground, and we talk the special election results in the SD 30 race.

Booker, Gillibrand Talk Trans Rights In Iowa

Democratic candidates running for president are increasingly talking about the rights of transgender Americans while out on the campaign trail. Two contenders who traveled through Iowa this past week – Senators Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand – both had extended discussions at events in Davenport about their past support for the LGBTQ community and future plans. Part of what’s driving the conversation is Donald Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the military, which goes into effect next month. Booker said the ban was “ridiculous, insulting, un-American.” State issues are cropping up as well. An Iowa Supreme Court decision earlier […]

Bernie Sanders Expands His Iowa Caucus Operation

Senator Bernie Sanders continues to build out his Iowa Caucus team, one that will likely end up as one of the largest of the 2020 field. The campaign tells Starting Line that they have hired Michael Fasullo to serve as their Iowa field director and Tony Anthony as the deputy caucus director. It’s a second round in the Iowa Caucus for Anthony, who filled the same role in Sanders’ 2016 Iowa team. In the time since, he ran DC Attorney General Karl Racine’s reelection race and managed Paul Pelletier’s congressional run in Virginia’s 10th District. Fasullo also has some Iowa […]

New 2020 Poll Shows Iowa Leaders, Super PAC Skepticism

A Public Policy Polling survey shows former Vice President Joe Biden with a nearly two-to-one lead over his nearest competitor, Senator Bernie Sanders, in a new poll of likely Iowa Caucus-goers. Biden, who is expected to soon enter the presidential race, starts with 29% support in the poll, compared to Sanders’ 15%, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 8%, and Beto O’Rourke’s 7%. The poll, which ran from March 14 to 15 (during the first two days of O’Rourke’s candidacy) and surveyed 678 likely caucus-goers, was commissioned by the End Citizens United organization, a group pushing campaign finance reform issues in the 2020 […]

Bloom Where You’re Planted: Thoughts On A College Admissions Scandal

The altar at the First United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls was decorated with bouquets of beautiful flowers last week. Dozens of people gathered there to celebrate the life of a wonderful woman at the conclusion of her 84 years on this Earth. Those blossoms offered especially poignant symbolism. Ruth was a true treasure — to her family, to her friends, to her community where she lived, and, when you stop to think about all of the people like her, to the world around us. Like the phrase encourages us, Ruth bloomed where she was planted. But sitting in that […]

Ep90: Running A Presidential Campaign, Joe Sanberg Interview

The Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard is joined by Cory Booker’s national campaign manager Addisu Demissie to talk about managing presidential candidates, how campaigns fill out their schedules, and what organizing tactics they’re focused on this year. And we interview entrepreneur Joe Sanberg, a possible 2020 candidate who has hired J.D. Scholten to push the Democratic field on poverty issues with the Working Hero Iowa organization. 

Amy Klobuchar Knocks EPA’s Secret Waivers That Boost Big Oil

Senator Amy Klobuchar blasted the Trump Administration’s continued use of blending waivers for renewable fuels usage while in Iowa this weekend. Using it as an example of how Donald Trump’s presidency has hurt rural America, she linked the EPA’s decisions to the first decline in ethanol prices in many years. “For the first time, we’ve actually seen decreases in prices in biofuels. You know why?” Klobuchar said at an event in Davenport on Sunday afternoon. “[Former EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt] has been granting these secret waivers, right. That way, what happens when he does that is they go to oil […]

Okay, The Beto Hype Makes Sense Now

Who the hell is Beto O’Rourke? That’s what many Iowans – myself included – wondered as they squeezed their way into packed coffee shops last week to catch a glimpse of the newly-announced presidential contender. Was O’Rourke the breakout, generational star he was hyped up to be, or a flash-in-the-pan media sensation who benefited merely from challenging someone as reviled as Ted Cruz? The internet, as it often does, had its opinions. While O’Rourke’s every move dominated the cable news airwaves, the Twitter crowd was decidedly more skeptical. As many political observers (accurately) pointed out, O’Rourke is certainly not as […]

2020 Dems’ First Big Iowa Cattle Call Is All About Rural America

Busloads of farmers and other rural advocates from across the Midwest are rallying in Iowa to put their concerns at the front and center of the 2020 presidential race. The Heartland Forum is happening March 30 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, and it’s going to be epic. In the first and likely only forum dedicated to rural issues in the 2020 presidential race, The Storm Lake Times, the Iowa Farmer’s Union, the Open Markets Action Fund, and the Huffington Post will welcome the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for President. Organizers tell me that so far, candidates Elizabeth […]

The Cavalry Arrives For Democrats’ Special Election Candidate

No matter what happens on the March 19 special election in Cedar Falls, you certainly can’t say the Democratic Party didn’t do what they could to hold Senate District 30. Presidential candidate after presidential candidate has visited Black Hawk County over the past month to rally volunteers and voters, mobilize students to vote, and knock on doors. The party has been working overtime to hold on to a key suburban swing district in Cedar Falls and Waterloo. Democratic State Senator Jeff Danielson abruptly resigned in mid-February over a dispute with his firefighting job and the city. The seat has trended […]