Democrats’ Digital Ad Strategy Lagging Behind Republicans’ In Iowa

Earlier this year, Facebook began making public every political ad that is run on their platform as part of their effort to create a more transparent process following criticism of Russian influence in the 2016 election. You can now easily find every ad deemed “political” in their Ad Archive, including those currently running, by searching for any candidate’s name. Starting Line pored over every ad run by or about Iowa’s statewide, congressional and state legislative candidates. One consistent theme stuck out: Republicans are running far more creative and comprehensive ad campaigns designed at both persuasion and rallying their base; Democrats […]

Poll Shows Trump’s Trade War May Sink His Closest Iowa Ally

When Donald Trump visited Iowa in July this year, he tossed “Make Farmers Great Again” hats into a crowd outside Dubuque and thanked Congressman Rod Blum for support of his agenda. Blum responded by praising Trump’s handling of the trade wars and tariffs. “Thank you for having political courage to renegotiate these trade deals,” Blum told Trump. “You’ve taken some heat for it in the short-term, but in the long-run, the farmers, the manufacturers, the employers are all going to better off.” As we suspected at the time, Blum may come to deeply regret those words. An ongoing poll from the New […]

Federal Funding For Cedar Rapids Flood Wall Is Not As Advertised

The $117 million in federal funding for the Cedar Rapids flood wall is not as was originally publicly promised, Starting Line has confirmed from multiple sources. Last month, city leaders were informed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that $41 million of the federal funding that was announced in July will instead be a low-interest loan that the city must repay over 30 years. That would present a significant increase in costs to the city to build the wall needed to prevent against future catastrophic floods. Mayor Brad Hart and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz wrote to Congressman Rod Blum […]

How Not To Deal With The Press, A Rod Blum Example

Congressman Rod Blum does not seem to like reporters. Like, he really, really does not like them. At least that’s the case for two Iowa reporters that Blum has clearly built up a hatred for after they asked him tough questions or ran investigative stories on his businesses. He lashed out at both this week, in one case creating a negative story for himself out of nothing. The first incident wasn’t that big a deal, it just highlights how he holds grudges. On Wednesday, Blum lashed out at KCRG and their reporter, Josh Scheinblum, who inadvertently gave Blum his most […]

Abby Finkenauer’s First TV Ad Recalls Days When Politics Didn’t Divide

Abby Finkenauer will launch the first TV ads of the general election in Iowa’s nationally-watched 1st Congressional District race this Tuesday. Her first spot on the airwaves is called “Dinner Table” and focuses on a spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation. The ad begins with Finkenauer describing a typical Saturday night with her family while growing up: talking politics around the dinner table after getting back from church. “We didn’t all agree,” Finkenauer says. “But nobody walked away angry, or not family anymore. That’s how it should be – at home, and in Congress.” She goes on to explain that she’ll […]

The State Of Iowa Races Three Months Out

Iowans will head to the voting booth three months from today on November 6 to vote in one of the most consequential elections in the state’s history. How are each of the major contests shaping up at this stage, two months after the primary and following a relatively quiet summer? Democrats have been optimistic about the chances of a “blue wave” this year, but many still held on to a good deal of skepticism given Republicans’ dominance of recent Iowa elections. Donald Trump won counties in 2016 that Republicans hadn’t carried in decades. Would things really flip back to blue […]

Trump Forgets Rod Blum’s Name In Problematic Iowa Trip

If you missed any of President Donald Trump’s visit to Iowa today, don’t worry. You’ll likely see video clips of the roundtable he held just outside Dubuque for months to come in Democratic campaign commercials. Trump brought several of his cabinet secretaries and his daughter Ivanka with him to a visit at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta for a workforce development event. Governor Kim Reynolds sat right next to him. Trump himself came off as much more coherent than he is at some of his campaign rallies, but there were many things said that could come back to haunt […]

Abby Finkenauer Brings In $765,000 In 2nd Quarter Fundraising

State Representative Abby Finkenauer’s campaign to take on Congressman Rod Blum continues to pick up steam following her large win in last month’s Democratic primary. Finkenauer will report raising over $765,000 in the second quarter of 2018, which appears to be the most ever raised in a single quarter by an Iowa Democratic congressional candidate. That brings Finkenauer’s total raised for her campaign up to $1.8 million, ensuring she’ll be one of the best-funded Democrats in the state for her nationally-watched campaign in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. Her campaign tells Starting Line that they’ve received donations from over 65,000 individuals […]

Digging Into The Data: Fun Numbers From Iowa’s Primary

Now that the dust has settled from Tuesday night’s primaries across Iowa, let’s take a closer look at some of the trends and the county-level turnout numbers. There’s some interesting information there that helps explain what happened, why campaigns end up the way they do and where the Democratic Party is at. Keep in mind, however, that these are all numbers from the “unofficial results.” Late-arriving absentee ballots and other things may change numbers ever so slightly when the official canvass is done later. As always, here’s the spreadsheet I was working with. When Races Swung, They Swung Hard One […]

Abby Finkenauer Wins Primary, Could Be Youngest Woman Elected To Congress

State Representative Abby Finkenauer has won her primary to be the Democratic nominee for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. If she defeats incumbent Republican Rod Blum in November, at 28 she may well be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Another young female candidate in California is running too, but no woman younger than Finkenauer has won a congressional seat before this year. Finkenauer won her four-way primary in convincing fashion, capturing 67% of the vote. Thomas Heckroth came in second with 19%. Iowa’s 1st District will be at the top of the target list for Democrats nationally. EMILY’s List […]