In Iowa, Tulsi Gabbard Urges End To Party Infighting

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard keynoted Democratic barbecues this Sunday in Ames and Iowa City, hitting themes of party unity, love and anti-war in well-received speeches. Gabbard has visited Iowa before for local party events in 2015 and 2016, but has not come to the caucus state nearly as often as other well-known Democrats and rising stars have. She noted that her trip this weekend was thanks to a “very patient and persistent” former Bernie Sanders activist that invited her to the Ames event. Gabbard began her speech with describing the “Aloha spirit” and how its idea of interconnectedness applies to […]

Scenes From The Polk County Democrats Steak Fry

The Steak Fry returned to Iowa in style today, with perfect weather greeting about 1,500 Democrats to Des Moines Water Works Park. The Polk County Democrats pulled off a successful revival of the Tom Harkin tradition, recreating the feel of the annual event that often attracted national speakers and press. The white tents were pitched, candidates flipped steaks, a giant American flag flew behind the stage and campaigns marched noisy supporters into the event. A trio of national rising stars in the Democratic Party – Congresspersons Tim Ryan, Cheri Bustos and Seth Moulton – keynoted the event. And candidates for […]

Progressives Get Look At Future Leaders, Medicare-For-All Pitch At Corn Feed

Under a hot September sun, progressive activists, Democrats and issue advocates gathered this weekend for the third annual Progress Iowa Corn Feed. Three prominent out-of-state leaders keynoted the event: Center For American Progress president Neera Tanden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. Merkley and Buttigieg’s profiles have been on the rise in Democratic politics recently. Merkley has been a leader on a new Medicare-for-all plan in the Senate, and is rumored to be considering a presidential run. Buttigieg, a 35-year-old mayor, unsuccessfully ran for DNC chair and has traveled the country recently to promote his new […]

O’Malley Backs Boulton; Will Other 2020 Hopefuls Endorse?

Frequent Iowa traveler Martin O’Malley lent Nate Boulton a hand this week in his gubernatorial bid, endorsing the senator on Tuesday and holding a fundraiser for him in Des Moines on Friday tonight. It was an expected move for the 2016 presidential candidate, who was supported by Boulton during his Iowa Caucus bid. But will O’Malley’s endorsement be the first of many of White House hopefuls choosing a side in Iowa’s many large primary fields? It depends. The O’Malley and Boulton connection is unique: O’Malley had a tight-knit, fiercely loyal groups of supporters during the Iowa Caucus, Boulton among them. […]

They’re Back: Chances To See Potential 2020ers This Week

What does the future leaders of the Democratic Party and issue advocacy look like? Iowans will get several chances in the coming weeks to get a glimpse of a few possibilities. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigeg will headline Progress Iowa’s annual Corn Feed fundraiser this Saturday, along with Center For American Progress President Neera Tanden. Merkley and Buttigeg have both been mentioned as potential 2020 presidential candidates in the wide-open Democratic primary. Merkley’s stock in some progressive circles has been on the rise after he was the only senator to endorse Bernie Sanders […]

The Forces Behind Each Major Democratic Primary Candidate

Back in the old days of Iowa Democratic politics (when the party won a lot more often), political power was typically concentrated among a few statewide elected officials. Party chairs were usually hand-picked by Tom Vilsack, Chet Culver or Tom Harkin, and the type of sprawling primary fields we have for 2018 were very uncommon. There were still competitive primaries, of course, with different factions lining up behind their favorite candidate. The 2006 gubernatorial race was a good example of this: legislators and many of the unions backed Mike Blouin, Ed Fallon won over progressive activists (called liberals back then) […]

Paul Ryan Challenger Cathy Myers Has Deep Iowa Politics Ties

Janesville school board member Cathy Myers hopes to knock off Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st District next year, but her story in politics began in Iowa. And just like any good Iowa politics story, it involves Jimmy Carter, motorcycles, national conventions, a legislative legend and some corn detasseling. Cathy Myers is the daughter of Dick Myers, who was once the Democratic minority leader in the Iowa House and an all-around institution in Iowa politics. She grew up with her family in Iowa City and Coralville, where her parents ran the Hawkeye Truck Stop at the Coralville exit off I-80. […]

Campaign Updates: Olson In, Hubbell Endorsers, Boulton Education Push

It’s been a busy couple of days for Iowa campaigns. Here’s a quick look at many of the new developments. Tyler Olson Is Back On The Ballot Former state representative and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Tyler Olson is running for an at-large Cedar Rapids City Council seat. He announced on Tuesday that he would seek the seat that incumbent Ralph Russell just decided to retire from. No one else is in the race yet, though candidates still have until late September to file for the November 7 election date. Many who had seen Olson as a promising rising star in the […]

Jim Mowrer Looks To Hold Paul Pate Accountable For Uncounted Votes

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate never really paid a political price for the 5,842 uncounted votes in Dallas County in the 2016 general election. Jim Mowrer plans to change that. The veteran and past congressional candidate kicked off his bid for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state the other week, focusing his early messaging on criticism of the Dallas County mess. “The Secretary of State, the man in charge of our elections, didn’t count nearly 6,000 votes,” Mowrer told Starting Line recently. “And I have seen first-hand the cost of our freedom and our democracy, and it is […]

Rising Stars Kander And Swalwell Urge Boldness, Support Medicare-For-All

The theme of the night for the Democratic Wing Ding Dinner in Clear Lake, Iowa on Friday night was “Rising Stars,” meant for keynote speakers Jason Kander and Congressman Eric Swalwell, both 36, but also for the many young candidates for Iowa office. About half the Democratic candidates there running for governor, secretary of state and Congress were under the age of 40. The dynamic highlighted a growing trend in the party that finds itself out of power: without older, longtime incumbents holding the reins of power in Iowa or nationally anymore, a younger generation has found room to step […]