Ep96: IA-02 Opening, Buttigieg Visit, NARAL Interview

The Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard talks with State Representative Jennifer Konfrst about Dave Loebsack’s retirement plans and the 2nd District race, Pete Buttigieg’s momentum, and the Noah Wasserman’s arrest. And we talk with two leaders for NARAL, the pro-choice organization, about what they’re seeing candidates talk about on the caucus campaign trail.

Broken Promises: GOP Attempts End Run On IPERS

Do you recall all the Republican promises about protecting Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS) during the Hubbell/Reynolds campaign in 2018? Democrats warned repeatedly that Reynolds and the Republican legislators couldn’t be trusted. Nevertheless, Reynolds and her Republican legislative buddies vowed over and over during that campaign that they would never touch IPERS or the Iowa Police and Firefighters Retirement Fund (411) this year. It was very difficult for Democrats to believe them since Senator Brad Zaun introduced legislation on the first day of last year’s session to replace IPERS and 411 with a 401-K plan. But, they all claimed […]

2020 Campaigns Build Out Their Iowa Teams

As presidential candidates fan out across Iowa to woo caucus-goers, their campaigns are staffing up to build the organizing infrastructure to bring home a win on caucus night. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the most recent top staff hires for the Iowa campaigns. You can see Starting Line’s full tracking list of all the campaign organizations here. John Hickenlooper The former Colorado governor has brought on Des Moines activist Kimberley Strope-Boggus as their state political director. She’s been heavily involved in nearly every major Democratic event and campaign in the Polk County area for several cycles now. Strope-Boggus […]

Terry Branstad Donates To Steve King Primary Opponent Randy Feenstra

Current Ambassador to China and former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad donated $1,000 to the campaign of Randy Feenstra, the Republican primary opponent of Steve King, newly-released fundraising numbers show this afternoon. It’s the latest sign that key Iowa Republican leaders have had enough with the behavior and controversies of King, hoping to see him ousted in a primary rather than the general election. Finance records put out today show Branstad making the donation on March 14. Branstad is the highest-profile Iowa Republican leader yet to publicly show their support for King’s challenger, though he has not publicly endorsed yet. Feenstra, […]

What I’m Listening For On Child Care Policy From 2020 Candidates

Guest post from Tiffany Welch of the Save The Children Action Network organization. My husband and I moved to Iowa from the West Coast in April, 2007. Moving to Iowa was a wonderful decision for many reasons, and I have especially loved participating in Iowa presidential politics. I had my first taste of Iowa caucus excitement when we met the Obama family at an I-Cubs game on July 4, 2007. I have enjoyed meeting presidential candidates from various political persuasions up close over the caucus cycles. I studied human development for my bachelor’s degree, so many of my top priorities […]

The Most Powerful Tech Innovation 2020 Campaigns Aren’t Yet Using

A guest post from Rose Clouston, the Director of Online Training at the National Democratic Training Committee. With a new Democrat announcing their presidential campaign every week, the primary election is shaping up to be a long, drawn-out process. To have any realistic hope of emerging as the nominee, you have to scale from a small team of senior staff to a national movement with thousands of staff and volunteers in a matter of months. Most people assume presidential campaigns operate with endless financial and staffing resources. The truth is every campaign, even the most well funded, has limited time, money, and […]

Setting The Record Straight On Iowa’s Sex Education Classes

A guest post on the state’s sex education programs. My name is Natalie Harwood, and I am a health educator at Planned Parenthood. I work under a public grant called the Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention program (CAPP). Year after year, I see anti-abortion politicians in the Iowa legislature introduce legislation that would prevent Planned Parenthood from using CAPP and other public funds for sexual health education. There seem to be a lot of false assumptions about what Planned Parenthood teaches in sex education classes. I want to set the record straight about our programs. First, here is how Planned Parenthood […]

Dave Loebsack’s Retirement Plans Puts Iowa At Top Of 2020 House Map

Congressman Dave Loebsack will retire after his current term comes to an end, reported the Quad Cities Times this afternoon. He has served in Congress since his 2006 election when he won in a surprise upset, and was Democrats’ lone federally-elected member from Iowa for four years after 2014. An open seat in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District will almost certainly shoot to the top of both parties’ targeted races. Donald Trump carried the Southeast Iowa-based seat by four points in 2016, a sharp reversal from when Barack Obama won it in 2012 by 13 points. However, Democrats began to make […]

Republican Statehouse Emboldened To Move Further Right

Iowa Democrats expected the Republicans in the Legislature would continue their far-right agenda in 2019. Following the experience from the 2017-18 session, Democrats anticipated more of the same this year. The Republicans didn’t disappoint. They didn’t moderate their radical, take-no-prisoners scheme to impose their one-party rule on Iowans. Having taken control of the Iowa Senate in 2016 and reelected Governor Reynolds in 2018, they have been emboldened to move even further to the right. The specific Republican-sponsored bills define a broad ideological assault on good government, basic democratic principles, public education, worker rights and the environment. It’s a continuation of […]

Kamala Harris Lifts Up Other Women Looking To Run During Iowa Swing

Senator Kamala Harris is running for president, but an event of hers in Des Moines yesterday was focused on other candidates – women running or thinking of running for local offices. She spoke with a group of about 125 women at an Emerge Iowa house party, where she acknowledged the many barriers women run into when considering a run. “It’s not your turn, it’s not your time, no one like you has done this before, it will be too hard and difficult to do,” Harris said of what they’ll often hear. Don’t let that discourage you, Harris urged. “I like […]