Prediction: You’re Going To Love Rita Hart

Fred Hubbell could not have made a better pick for his running mate. That’s just my opinion, of course, but I think it will become yours as well once you get to know Rita Hart. I first met Rita when I was the field director for the Senate Democrats in 2012. That was her first run for office in Senate District 49, which covers Clinton County and parts of rural Scott County. Though a first-time candidate, many of us were impressed with how sharp a political mind Rita already had. She won her strongly-contested primary by racking up lopsided margins […]

How The Rita Hart Pick Impacts The Senate Map

With Rita Hart joining Fred Hubbell on Democrats’ statewide ticket, Hart’s Senate District 49 now becomes an open seat for the party. And while this used to be a district with a decent Democratic lean thanks to the city of Clinton’s working-class base, Donald Trump carried it 51% to 42% in 2016. Hart was still heavily favored to win thanks to her past success in the rural areas of the district, but her withdrawal could turn this into a toss-up. Democrats will have to hold a special nominating convention, probably later this month, to put a new candidate on the […]

Hubbell Picks Rita Hart, Democrats’ Best Messenger For The Rural Vote

For his running mate pick, Fred Hubbell has looked east to rural Wheatland, Iowa, population 764. State Senator Rita Hart will be officially introduced as Democrats’ Lt. Governor nominee at the state party convention today. The Hubbell campaign announced the choice first thing this morning. Hart’s selection puts one of the party’s most credible rural voices on the ticket, and lifts up a legislator who, though not well-known among the larger activist crowd, was seen by many behind the scenes as a rising star with great potential. Some in Democratic circles see Hart as the party’s answer to Joni Ernst: […]

A Clue To Fred Hubbell’s Lt. Governor Short List?

Fred Hubbell is slated to officially announce his pick for his Lt. Governor running mate at Iowa Democrats’ state convention this Saturday. It’s the last piece of business for the statewide Democratic ticket, and speculation about who Hubbell may choose is running rampant in various political circles. And there may be one clue sitting online as to who could be on a possible short list. As reader Taylor Gipple noticed, several website domains with potential Democratic ticket names were reserved on Monday, June 11. Here’s all the ones that Starting Line found on the ICANN domain registry look-up website: […]

Ep38: Primary Results Aftermath & L.G. Speculation

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard discusses the aftermath of the Iowa primary, including optimism for the exciting Democratic ticket, who Fred Hubbell may pick for Lt. Governor and what Starting Line will be up to during the next two weeks.

Taking A Two-Week Break From Writing

I’m going to be taking a break from writing on Iowa Starting Line for the next two weeks now that the primary is over and most of my post-election wrap-up pieces are done. That’s not a break from work, though (and I still have two or three stories that I’ll probably get pulled into writing). The business side of Starting Line was badly neglected during the primary, with simply too many candidates, too much breaking news and too few hours in the day to get everything done. I prioritized getting our readers as much news as possible this year, figuring […]

Polk County Dems’ Turnout Numbers Should Worry GOP Incumbents

One of the best signs for Iowa Democrats coming out of last week’s primary was the sheer turnout numbers for the party across the state. Democrats broke their previous record of 148,000 votes in a statewide gubernatorial primary, producing over 176,000 votes in that race on election night (the total may climb a bit after the official canvass result). It was an optimistic sign that the party’s base is more fired up and engaged than ever ahead of the crucial 2018 election. Few places in the state was that more apparent than in Polk County, where initial turnout percentages for […]

Digging Into The Data: Fun Numbers From Iowa’s Primary

Now that the dust has settled from Tuesday night’s primaries across Iowa, let’s take a closer look at some of the trends and the county-level turnout numbers. There’s some interesting information there that helps explain what happened, why campaigns end up the way they do and where the Democratic Party is at. Keep in mind, however, that these are all numbers from the “unofficial results.” Late-arriving absentee ballots and other things may change numbers ever so slightly when the official canvass is done later. As always, here’s the spreadsheet I was working with. When Races Swung, They Swung Hard One […]

Democrats’ New Generation Of Leaders Win Primaries, Look To November

Many of Democrats’ elected officials at all level of Iowa government will look a lot younger if things go well this November. A new generation of young Democrats won primaries and secured nominations in last night’s primary in key races across the state. Half of Iowa Democrats’ congressional candidates will be under 40. As will half of their non-incumbent statewide candidates. And exciting, young Democrats prevailed in several local legislative primaries that will ensure them a seat at the Statehouse. That all is no small feat in a state with a much older population that often prefers to vote for longtime […]

Deidre DeJear Wins Primary, Could Be First Black Statewide Official

Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear narrowly defeated Jim Mowrer in the Democratic primary today, propelling her to a matchup with incumbent Republican Paul Pate. Were DeJear to win in November, she would become Iowa’s first black statewide elected official. DeJear’s candidacy for the top elections official post will be a deeply personal effort for the 32-year-old business owner. Born in Mississippi, her father didn’t have the chance to vote for much of his life in the Deep South state. “When my dad was born, he didn’t have the opportunity to vote,” DeJear told Starting Line for an earlier story. […]