Rich Leopold Ends Gubernatorial Campaign

Polk County Conservation Director Rich Leopold announced this morning that he was ending his campaign for Iowa Governor. Leopold, the state’s former DNR director, was the first candidate to announce back in January. He cited the difficulty of running an effective-enough outsider campaign to actually win statewide. The challenge of raising sufficient funds to fully compete in the Democratic primary ended up being too much of a challenge for Leopold. The simple fact of the matter in running a statewide race is that you have to communicate with hundreds of thousands of voters so they know who you are and what your […]

Can We Start Focusing On The More Winnable Races Now?

Kim Weaver’s candidacy has ended, and a follow-up story from the Des Moines Register raised serious questions about her reasoning for doing so. But whatever, it’s time to move on. Hopefully, part of moving on for Iowa Democratic activists will be a renewed focus on the 1st and 3rd congressional districts. Barring something incredibly dramatic, those two races will be much closer than the deep-red 4th District. And their outcome could very well determine whether Democrats retake the U.S. House and thus are able to launch actual investigations into the Trump Administration. One could make a very compelling argument that the congressional […]

Iowa GOP Women Breaks Glass Ceilings, But Still Have Work To Do

It’s been a banner two weeks for Iowa Republicans. Last Wednesday they saw Terry Branstad step down for his Chinese ambassador role, swore in Kim Reynolds as governor, celebrated it this Friday night and hosted Vice President Mike Pence at Joni Ernst’s Roast And Ride. And at every opportunity during it, Republicans have pointed out how it was their party to get several key female firsts. “Tonight is an evening of breaking glass ceilings,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told the crowd at Reynolds’ inauguration party in a Des Moines hotel ballroom. Republicans pointed to Joni Ernst as […]

Joni Ernst: “No Regrets” On VP Chance. Ah, But What If?

Under a blazing hot sun yesterday, Senator Joni Ernst drove into her annual Roast And Ride fundraiser with Vice President Mike Pence at her side. Both were on motorcycles. But had just a few political calculations gone differently last year, it might have been Ernst who wore an official vice presidential riding jacket. Last June and July, during the speculation over who Donald Trump would pick as his running mate, Ernst’s name came up often as being on Trump’s short list. There was chatter in some Republican circles that she was actually the favorite, so long as she wanted it. It’s […]

Are Iowa Democrats Headed For A Gubernatorial Convention?

Just a couple months ago, Iowa Democrats were wondering if we’d have more than one or two candidates in the race for governor in 2018. Now, about one year out from the primary, we’re up to nine contenders who have either officially declared or have set up an exploratory committee. Of the four people exploring (Mike Matson, Fred Hubbell, John Norris and Cathy Glasson), Hubbell sounds certain to do a full run and Glasson is extremely likely. Norris should make an official decision very soon. Where will this incredibly crowded field leave Democrats next year? Quite possibly in a contested state convention […]

Indivisible Scores First Win In Iowa With City Council Victory

Democrats in Iowa got some encouraging news with a special election city council win last night in the small, rural town of Solon. The race in rural Johnson County certainly wasn’t the biggest campaign battle ever, but it proved that relatively new, progressive activists could run for local office and win with a concerted campaign effort. Lauren Whitehead, who helped start Iowa’s statewide Indivisible chapter, defeated incumbent Dale Snipes 64% to 36% in a special election to fill the remainder of the term that Snipes had been appointed to. Whitehead, 36, has been involved in local Iowa campaigns for a few cycles, […]

Democrats Plan Event To Counter Joni Ernst’s Roast And Ride

Iowa Republicans are getting ready for their exciting weekend of motorcycles, hog roasts and celebrating senators intent on taking away people’s healthcare. But Democrats don’t plan on letting them have all the fun in Boone for Joni Ernst’s Roast And Ride fundraiser this Saturday. A Picnic For The People is being planned by the Boone County Democrats to serve as a more substantive alternative to Ernst’s event. The Democratic gathering looks to link activists and voters up with progressive issue groups and candidates. There’s already a long line of speakers planned for the event, including: Derek Eadon Rob Hogg Mark Smith […]

Cathy Glasson Launches “Bold, Progressive” Gubernatorial Bid

Democrats have another contender for the 2018 gubernatorial nomination: Cathy Glasson. She kicked off an exploratory committee today with a video outlining what she calls a “bold, progressive” agenda for Iowa. An ICU nurse at the University of Iowa Hospitals for over 20 years, she’s the president of Iowa’s SEIU 199 (the union that covers healthcare workers) and lives in Coralville. In her well-produced introductory video, she questioned the premise that Iowa’s economy is strong, pointing out that 2/3 of Iowans work for less than $20/hour, and that many people are working two or three jobs to get by. “Working people in […]

Maybe He’s Tired: Trump Postpones Cedar Rapids Rally

In very sad(!) news today, Donald Trump announced he will be cancelling his planned Thursday rally in Cedar Rapids, due to an “unforeseen change in President Trump’s schedule.” It will be rescheduled at a later date, possibly as soon as early in the following week. Some people were a little surprised when Trump scheduled a campaign rally in Iowa, just five months into his presidency. He’s held political events like these in a few other states since taking office, as it seems to rejuvenate the president, who loves events where he’s cheered on by thousands of supporters. Their purpose beyond that, however, […]

Republicans Make Same Mistake They Mocked Hatch Campaign For

Iowa politics can be fun when you have a long memory. Take today, for instance. Kim Reynolds announced Adam Gregg as her “acting” lt. governor (due to Attorney General Tom Miller’s ruling, he will be essentially a staff role for the time being). In doing so, Reynolds effectively announced the Republican ticket for 2018. As such, they did what campaigns often do: set up websites and campaign committees and twitter accounts and Facebook pages. Reynolds’ new gubernatorial campaign website is, which as I noted earlier today, might confuse some people as to what exactly is Reynolds’ political side and which […]