What Many Democrats Still Don’t Get About Rural Campaigning

Fred Hubbell campaigned extensively throughout rural Iowa during the 2018 election. Voters may just not have noticed it. As Iowa Democrats pick up the pieces from another stinging statewide loss, a lot of focus has been paid to the party’s continued lopsided defeats throughout rural Iowa. Carrying only 11 counties statewide, as Hubbell did against Governor Kim Reynolds, simply doesn’t cut it no matter how huge the vote margins are out of the state’s urban centers. It’s a trend that’s clearly been evident in the decade after Chet Culver’s 62-county win in the 2006 governor’s race, and one that’s deepened […]

The Beginning Of The End For Steve King?

Steve King may have narrowly survived his closest reelection yet earlier this month, but he’s not out of the woods just yet. The firestorm of outrage over his latest dalliances with white supremacists and groups with Neo-Nazi ties appears to be having lasting impacts with both Republican insiders and voters. A primary to King is almost certain in 2020, one that could be well-funded and backed by prominent Republican leaders. Governor Kim Reynolds warned King last week that he “needs to make a decision if he wants to represent the people and the values of the 4th District or do […]

Ep72: What’s Next In Iowa Politics, Todd Prichard Interview

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard and Statehouse reporter Caroline Cummings discuss what the 2018 election means for the next big stories in Iowa politics, including Steve King, Joni Ernst and the Iowa Caucus. And we interview Todd Prichard about being elected leader of the House Democrats.

Post-Election Soap Opera Unfolds In Warren County “Hit Piece”

Several Iowa Republicans are facing a serious ethics investigation after a participant in their self-described “hit piece” against Representative Scott Ourth ratted them out to the Iowa Ethics Board. The case revolves around Republican candidate Rebel Snodgrass, his volunteers and former Democratic Representative Dan Kelley’s involvement in a slanderous mailer sent to households in Warren County. Late this week, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board gave its director, Megan Tooker, subpoena power to launch a full investigation into the actions of Kelley and Snodgrass’ campaign. At issue is who and which committee actually paid for the anti-Ourth mailer. A […]

Todd Prichard Elected Leader Of Iowa House Democrats

House Democrats elected Todd Prichard as their new minority leader this afternoon. The Democratic legislators gathered in Des Moines at the Statehouse for their post-election caucus, choosing their new leadership group for the next session after Mark Smith decided to not run for reelection for the party’s top spot in the House. Democrats also elected Jo Oldson of Des Moines as the Minority Whip, a new position they hadn’t had in recent years. The new assistant leaders are Wes Breckenridge, John Forbes, Brian Meyer and Sharon Steckman. “House Democrats are ready to get to work in January to improve the […]

House Democrats Get It

According to a report in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Todd Prichard is on track to be the next leader for the Iowa House Democrats. That’s a very good thing. Democrats in Iowa face a lot of challenges as they head into another two years of all-Republican control of state government. The party made important gains in last week’s elections by turning the suburbs blue, increasing base turnout, flipping two congressional seats, winning the State Auditor race and capturing some new state legislative districts. But two big sticking points remain for Democrats in their quests for top-of-ticket statewide wins and legislative […]

Ep71: Statehouse Election Recaps

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard and former legislator Nate Willems recap all the races for the Iowa House and Iowa Senate, and look ahead to see where Democrats go from here to regain the majority.

Who Will Run Against Joni Ernst In 2020?

The postmortems of the 2018 election are still being written, but that’s not stopping anyone from speculating and planning for Iowa’s 2020 Senate race. That’s actually typically what happens immediately after any election – winners plot out their next longterm moves and losers consider if they still have the fire in them to make another run. Senator Joni Ernst will be a difficult incumbent to beat, but there’s some reasons for hope. Iowa voters seemed much more upset at national politics than they were at state politics this year, electing Kim Reynolds while also sending Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne […]

Mark Smith Won’t Seek Reelection As House Dem Leader

Representative Mark Smith will not seek another term as House Minority Leader, Starting Line has learned from multiple Democratic sources. He announced his decision yesterday in an email to fellow Democratic House members. It’s an unexpected changing of the guard after Democrats picked up a net gain of five or six seats on Tuesday, one of the state party’s bright spots from the evening. Final ballots or a recount may yet determine the outcome of Decorah’s HD 55. Smith has faced challenges from within his caucus in past years, but House Democrats’ wins this cycle were generally seen as a […]

Ep70: Post-Election Reactions And Analysis

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard walks you through the good, bad and depressing from Iowa’s election night on Tuesday. We cover the statewide and congressional races, looking at what it means long-term for Iowa politics.