A New Iowa Partnership To Help 2020 Candidates Go Viral

In every presidential campaign cycle, candidates in a crowded primary field are always looking for that “breakout moment.” The clever debate stage quip that gets replayed endlessly on cable news. The powerful speech at a major state party fundraiser that wows the crowd. But one method that may surpass the potential of all those this year is a viral moment caught on camera at an event or in an interview, one that could happen at literally any moment. With so much of the active Democratic voter base getting their news about the candidates from stories that pop up in their […]

The New Sights, Players, And Hang-Out Spots Of The 2020 Iowa Caucus

For those who have been involved in multiple caucus cycles, you know that the campaign process in Iowa often takes on its own unique character. Every cycle, there are a new group of key local players, issue groups, favorite hang-out spots, and campaign strategies that all make frequent appearances on the caucus campaign trail. We’re only in the early stages of the official 2020 caucus campaign season here in Iowa, but Starting Line has already started to notice several developing trends. Here’s some of the Iowa places that candidates will often visit, the people and groups everyone will meet, and […]

Right-Wing 2020 Smears Already Seeping Into Iowa Media Coverage

Does Cory Booker want to ban the eating of meat? No, of course not. And it’s such a preposterous suggestion, most people would roll their eyes and ignore it. But that didn’t keep a local Iowa TV station from running a story based on the fake controversy that generated from an online right-wing freakout over an old Booker interview. KCCI put out a story after Booker’s first trip to Iowa about the online chatter over the Veg News interview where the senator talked about his veganism choices. In the station’s defense, it didn’t repeat some of the more ridiculous conservative […]

Amy Petersen Announces Run For Danielson’s Senate Seat

A Cedar Falls Democrat just announced her candidacy for the Senate District 30 special election, and it’s hard to imagine anyone with a better profile for public office. Amy Petersen, a professor of special education and a labor activist, wrote on Facebook this morning that she will seek the party’s nomination to replace Jeff Danielson, who resigned two days ago. She is a: Professor of Special Education at the University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls native Disabilities rights activist First-time candidate Union activist and former executive board member for the UNI faculty union Researcher/writer on inclusive education and the challenges […]

For Senate Democrats, A Tumultuous Three Years

Jeff Danielson’s decision to resign from the Iowa Senate yesterday was the latest reminder of how much upheaval the Senate Democrats have experienced in recent years. The Democratic side of that chamber is a very different place than it was a little over two years ago in mid-2016. A slew of departures – both voluntary and not – have resulted in a complete reshuffling of their membership. Of the 26 Democratic senators who were serving through 2016, only 11 remain today. Seven were defeated over the course of two campaign cycles, but eight others left for a wide variety of […]

Ep81: New Legislators, School Funding, And Pete Buttigieg Interview

The Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard is joined by State Representative Lindsay James to talk about presidential drop-ins at the Statehouse, what it’s like being a new legislator, and what the Republican school funding bill means. And we interview Mayor Pete Buttigieg during his first trip to Iowa since announcing his presidential run.

Jeff Danielson Resigns From Iowa Senate, Opens Up Swing District

Democratic State Senator Jeff Danielson is resigning effective immediately from both the Iowa Senate and the Cedar Falls Fire Department, Starting Line has learned. That will trigger a special election for Danielson’s Cedar Falls-based Senate District 30 in the middle of this year’s legislative session and Iowa Caucus campaigning. “I would not be leaving the Senate if I were not leaving the firehouse,” Danielson told Starting Line this afternoon. “I’m forever thankful to the Cedar Valley and the citizens who have supported me in my service both at the firehouse for 25 years and in the Senate for the last […]

Key GOP Lawmaker Sounds Favorable On OTC Birth Control

Republican State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Dubuque County described Governor Kim Reynolds’ over-the-counter birth control proposal as a “good concept” this afternoon. Lundgren made a number of seemingly favorable comments on the legislation during a taping of ABC 5’s This Week In Iowa political show. “Republicans in the House and the Senate, we certainly want to limit abortion, and one good way to do it is to prevent pregnancy,” Lundgren said, while noting that she had only recently gotten the bill language. “I think the Governor’s initiative is to make sure there is access for women.” Lundgren is the chair of […]

Soup, Spaghetti, And Lots Of Democrats

Iowa Democrats get their first taste of some multi-candidate caucus events during the next two weeks, served up with sides of soup and spaghetti. Three Democratic county parties will host at least two to three presidential candidates at their local fundraisers in Central and Southern Iowa. The Monroe County Democrats will hear from Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney, and Eric Swalwell this Sunday in Albia at their annual Spaghetti Supper fundraiser. It’s one of the Minnesota senator’s first events in Iowa since her campaign announcement last weekend. Swalwell is expected to kick off his presidential bid sometime soon. Just up the […]

How Iowa’s Caucus Reform Will Change Campaign Strategies

The Iowa Democratic Party unveiled their long-discussed plan to reform the Iowa Caucus process yesterday, laying out what would be the most significant changes to the caucus since its creation. They included a new virtual caucus option, an important tweak to viability procedures, a new reporting system for the raw vote, and a recount option. A 30-day comment period will now commence before a final vote is taken by the state party on implementing the new plan. All together, the IDP’s proposal greatly expands access and options for Iowans who can’t or don’t want to attend their local precinct caucus […]