How To Win Polk County (Part 4)

Sean Bagniewski was elected as one of the youngest chairs in the history of the Polk County Democratic Party in March of 2017. As his first term comes to a close, he authored this series of four articles for Iowa Starting Line on what has worked well in Iowa’s largest county party, home to almost one third of the state’s Democrats and a prime battleground for the Iowa Caucuses.  In this final installment of four, he analyzes the popularity and success of a traditional absentee ballot chase. He also analyzes the strengths of a balanced yard sign program. He closes […]

How To Win Polk County (Part 3)

Sean Bagniewski was elected as one of the youngest chairs in the history of the Polk County Democratic Party in March of 2017. As his first term comes to a close, he authored this series of four articles for Iowa Starting Line on what has worked well in Iowa’s largest county party, home to almost one third of the state’s Democrats and a prime battleground for the Iowa Caucuses. In this third of four installments, he discusses the need for the Democratic Party to be a bigger community for the wave of voters activated since 2016. He also examines the […]

How To Win Polk County (Part 2)

Sean Bagniewski was elected as one of the youngest chairs in the history of the Polk County Democratic Party in March of 2017. As his first term comes to a close, he authored this series of four articles for Iowa Starting Line on what has worked well in Iowa’s largest county party, home to almost one third of the state’s Democrats and a prime battleground for the Iowa Caucuses. In this second of four installments, he discusses the strategies for organizing the booming numbers of Democratic volunteers during the lead-up to the 2018 midterms. He also focuses on how party […]

How To Win Polk County (Part 1)

Sean Bagniewski was elected as one of the youngest chairs in the history of the Polk County Democratic Party in March of 2017. As his first term comes to a close, he authored this series of four articles for Iowa Starting Line on what has worked well in Iowa’s largest county party, home to almost one third of the state’s Democrats and a prime battleground for the Iowa Caucuses. In this first of four installments, he analyzes the 2018 election results that registered Polk County’s highest Democratic vote margins in history. With the electric combination of strong candidates and suburban […]

Democrats Elevate Midwest’s Cheri Bustos To Run DCCC

The woman in charge of Democrats’ campaign efforts in the House next year will be Cheri Bustos, one of the party’s leading strategist on winning difficult Midwestern seats. The Illinois congresswoman was selected today by her House colleagues to chair the DCCC, the party’s campaign arm that oversees most House races. She beat out two Democrats from Washington State, winning with 117 votes to Suzan DelBene’s 83 votes and Denny Heck’s 32 votes. Another contender for the job from New York dropped out for health reasons. In selecting Bustos, Democrats now have someone who’s extremely skilled at getting elected in […]

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 […]

A Word Of Warning From A Rural Democratic County Chair

A guest post from Brian Bruening, chair of the Clayton County Democrats in Northeast Iowa.  It’s easy to get caught up in national Democratic excitement after the November 6th election. We flipped two house districts in Iowa as part of the Democratic wave the crashed over the US House. However, on the state and local levels, November 6 was a bigger Democratic disaster than the Republican wave of 2010. While we flipped several Iowa House seats from Republican control in affluent suburban districts, a voting trend seen nationwide, Democratic representation in the Senate was decimated, and only one statewide office was moved […]

Amy Klobuchar: Midwest Dems Won’t Be Left Behind Again

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar made a swing through Iowa this weekend to help boost some of her fellow Midwestern Democrats in important races. She noted at a canvass kick-off event with Cindy Axne that the party needed to refocus their attention to the region. “The other lesson we learned over the past two years is we’re not going to leave the Midwest behind,” Klobuchar said of Democrats’ past efforts. “This is the moment for the Midwest, and we don’t want to be forgotten again in a national election.” She ticked off a number of U.S. Senate races, like Joe Donnelly in […]

Let America Vote’s Iowa Team Surpasses 80,000 Doors Knocked

A guest post from Zack Davis, the state director for Let America Vote-Iowa. Photo: Let America Vote-Iowa Deputy Field Director Maddy Leahy with candidate Kenan Judge, whom she ran into as she was knocking doors for him in his district on Sunday. On June 9th, Let America Vote launched a boots-on-the-ground campaign in Iowa to elect voting-rights champions from Sioux City to Davenport and from the state House to the governor’s mansion. We assembled a team committed to partnering with campaigns and allies and adding real value to the effort to win back Iowa in 2018. And in the four and […]

Iowa, You Inspired Me. And In November, You’ll Lead The Way

Guest piece from New Jersey Senator Cory Booker on his recent trip to Iowa. It was an honor to be in Iowa last Saturday until Tuesday of this week, traveling across the state in support of your incredible ticket of Democratic candidates. What I witnessed lifted, encouraged, and inspired me: 1,200 Iowa Democrats filling a convention hall to support candidates up and down the ballot. Dozens rallying in the rain on a front porch in Adel before voting early at the county courthouse. Many more packing shoulder-to-shoulder into a storefront campaign office over the lunch hour in Boone. Filling a […]