Food, Fun And Five Candidates At The Iowa State Fair

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro brought his entire family to the Iowa State Fair, while former Congressman John Delaney flipped some burgers and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard grabbed a root beer. Meanwhile, Andrew Yang gnawed on a giant turkey leg and Marianne Williamson met voters at the Iowa Democratic Party’s booth. Here’s what their days at the Fair looked like: Julian Castro Julian Castro was the first candidate to speak at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox Friday morning, so he spent the rest of the morning enjoying the Iowa State Fair with his family. Castro’s 4-year-old son, Cristian, quickly stole […]

Parade Of Candidates Try To Stand Out At Wing Ding

By now, Iowa acivists have seen in-person or heard on TV more than two dozen Democrats running for president. Whether they attended the Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids, the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding Friday night in Clear Lake or an intimate gathering at a coffee shop, voters are beginning to narrow down their long lists of favored presidential candidates. At the Wing Ding, Iowans heard from 20 Democratic candidates running to unseat Republican president Donald Trump. The sold-out Clear Lake event, beginning in 2003 as a modest gathering of local Democrats, featured nearly every candidate running for president […]

Who Convinced Iowans In The 2nd Democratic Debate (1st Night)

Iowans watched from bars, house parties and restaurants tonight as ten Democratic candidates faced off in the first night of the second debate. Team Starting Line was once again out at neutral debate watch parties organized by Democratic Party groups. Our reporters went to Ames, Des Moines, Keokuk and Winterset to see how caucus-goers reacted to the contentious back-and-forth between the White House hopefuls. Here’s what they thought of the candidates and the policy discussions: Winterset Debate Watch Party Lynette Judd, 52, Winterset Judd was interested in the Medicare for All discussion, and was pleased to hear big ideas being […]

Good News, Cory Booker! Des Moines Has A New Vegan Spot. Our Review.

There’s a new option for candidates with certain dietary choices (i.e., Cory Booker) in Des Moines: Dirt Burger, a vegan burger spot in the East Village. It’s a welcome addition to Des Moines’ diverse, ever-expanding restaurant scene, and here just in time for all the campaign staff and candidates who are coming in from out of state. Starting Line did a team lunch outing a few weeks back to try out their burgers and write up a review. The Restaurant Dirt Burger is located at 407 E. 5th Street in Des Moines’ East Village, and is open Sunday through Thursday, […]

Scenes From The Iowa Caucus Trail – June 30

Welcome to our first Scenes From The Iowa Caucus Trail piece! The Starting Line team has long wanted to do some sort of regular Sunday morning series to give our readers something consistent to read with their coffee and morning news shows. We’ve settled on doing a round-up of all the fun, weird and insightful moments from the Iowa Caucus trail from the past week. There are lots of interesting things we see while out at events that don’t necessarily make for a full story. Some of those we put in our subscription-based newsletter, which comes out Monday, Wednesday and […]

Marianne Williamson Finds New Fans In Iowa After Debate

Fresh off her presidential debate performance, one that catapulted her to the top of Google candidate searches for the evening, Marianne Williamson returned to Iowa today for a series of events with local Democrats. At an event in Grimes, the author acknowledged that some of her comments on stage about the lack of importance of policy plans may have come off as “silly.” She noted the social media jokes that followed, but reassured the crowd she both had extensive policy ideas and knew the necessity of getting them passed. “I am a left-wing Democrat. I am a progressive Democrat,” Williamson […]

Yes, Marianne Williamson Is Also Like That In Person

If you haven’t stopped thinking about Marianne Williamson’s debate promise to harness love to cast out Donald Trump, just know this: that moment was 100% pure, unadulterated Marianne, and yes, she is always in that mode. Iowans have gotten the full Marianne Williamson experience up close for almost a year. She started with early, testing-the-waters visits last fall, and has been sharing her unique, spiritual and anti-establishment message in living rooms, alternative book stores and Yoga studios ever since. Many of those events have started off with a poetry reading and sometimes local musical performances. She’s been a frequent visitor […]

Who Stood Out To Iowans In Democrats’ Second Debate Night

The second group of ten Democratic presidential candidates took the stage in Miami tonight, all while thousands of Iowans got together at debate watch parties to check out their choices. Iowa Starting Line once again sent our team to multiple watch parties, including in Burlington, Winterset, Clive and several Des Moines locations. You can see our earlier reaction story here. Here’s what Iowans had to say, both during the second half of the debate and after it was all over: Winterset Debate Watch Party Jenny Hargrove, 30, Winterset “I really appreciate the things that Bernie has had to say, but […]

Early Reactions From Iowans On The 2nd Debate Night

Iowans gathered once again at debate watch parties across the state to watch the second night of the first Democratic debates. Many took notes as they intently watched the candidates square off with one another. Iowa Starting Line sent our team out again to multiple watch parties, including in Burlington, Winterset, Clive and several Des Moines locations. Here’s what Iowans told us. Winterset Debate Watch Party Two dozen local Democrats came out to a restaurant in Winterset to watch the debate, many of whom who were out for last night’s debate as well. Julie Feirer, 50, Winterset “I like that […]

Who Impressed Iowans In The First Democratic Debate

Tonight was the biggest night of the year yet for the Democratic field, and hundreds of Iowa caucus-goers filled bars, coffee shops, homes and county party offices to watch the first debate. Team Starting Line deployed reporters to seven different debate watch parties throughout Iowa, speaking with voters in urban, suburban, rural, college town and blue-collar areas of the state. Here’s what Iowans had to say, both during the second half of the debate and after it was all over: Des Moines Debate Watch Party Blake Hanson, 30, Urbandale Hanson came into the night with Booker, O’Rourke and Biden as […]