Abby Finkenauer Considering Run For Congress In Iowa’s 1st District

Second-term U.S. House member Rod Blum could face second-term Iowa House member Abby Finkenauer in his reelection campaign in 2018. Finkenauer, the 28-year-old Democratic legislator from Dubuque, has been strongly considering a run against the Republican incumbent for several months now. Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, where Blum won by 53.7% to 46.1% over Monica Vernon in 2016, will likely be heavily targeted by both parties once again. “I’ve been listening to my constituents and friends across the 1st District who are asking me to seriously consider running,” Finkenauer told Starting Line. “The 1st District [has] people who work hard, want a fair shot, and […]

Hilarious: Joni Ernst’s Name Blurred Out In Anti-Rod Blum/Trump Ad

Donald Trump: bad. Joni Ernst: good? That at least must be what the polling shows for a Democratic Super PAC hitting Rod Blum over his support of Donald Trump. Priorities USA, the well-funded organization supporting Hillary Clinton, just released a new ad showing Blum giving a speech where he says, “Send me back to Congress, and you send Donald Trump to the White House!” The location of the speech is immediately apparent to anyone involved in Iowa politics – it’s at Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride from September. But viewers might not notice because Joni Ernst’s name has been blurred […]

Rod Blum Is Too Extreme Even For Republicans

First District Congressman Rod Blum, elected in 2014, made the first vote of his career a protest vote by voting against the reelection of John Boehner as House Speaker. Blum was one of 25 rogue Tea Party-supported members to vote against Boehner. Boehner has since resigned and the radical House Freedom Caucus has taken credit for pushing him out. The establishment Republicans have punished Blum for voting against Boehner and apparently still have hard feelings about Blum’s protest vote. That was evident due to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) refusal to assist Blum’s campaign until recently. The NRCC operates […]

Meet Iowa Democrats’ All-Female Tickets

When voters go to the polls in the Northeast Iowa counties of Allamakee and Clayton this year, this is what they’ll see in the Democratic column of their ballot: President: Hillary Clinton U.S. Senate: Patty Judge Congress: Monica Vernon State Senate: Jan Heikes State House: Patti Ruff Voters in Marion and Dubuque will see similar all-female tickets from the Democrats. In Marion, Senator Liz Mathis and State House candidate Molly Donahue are on the ballot. In Dubuque, Senate President Pam Jochum and Representative Abby Finkenauer fill out the down-ballot slots. Those three districts make up a particularly historic ballot for […]

New Iowa Registration Numbers Post-Primary And What They Mean

The Iowa Secretary of State’s office released this morning the updated registration totals for July, which are the first to show major shifts from the June 6 primary. Overall, Republicans saw the largest registration gain, adding 10,094 voters to their rolls while Democrats had 4,823 new registrants. No Party totals dropped by 9,499. Those top-lines are pretty good for Republicans, but lets take a deeper look to see why registration levels changed and where. As before with the early vote numbers, you can take a look at the spreadsheets I threw together if you want to play around with it […]

Monica Vernon Gets Ground Game Assist From Progressive Turnout Project

Democrats will be getting some extra ground forces in their battle to flip Iowa’s 1st District back to their control. The Progressive Turnout Project is launching a full field operation to assist Democrat Monica Vernon in her campaign against Republican Congressman Rod Blum. They already have more than ten organizers on the ground in the district, with plans to add more between now and the election. The 1st District is seen by Democrats nationally as one of their best chances for a pick-up, and key to the party’s chances of retaking the House (no longer a complete impossibility with Trump […]

Digging Into Iowa Primary Numbers To See How Voters Make Their Decisions

Before we move completely on the general election, let’s take one last look at some of the specific numbers from last week’s Iowa primary. For a website like Starting Line, we love having numbers to pore over and didn’t want to move on before examining a few more interesting trends. One thing I think you can discover in these numbers is how voters make their decisions in little-publicized, low-turnout elections. For many of the Iowa primary races, press coverage was limited to a handful of news articles and campaigns didn’t spend nearly as much on advertising as will happen in […]

Key Takeaways From The Iowa Primary Results

Iowans didn’t have to stay up too late last night to see who came out on top of the main primary races on both the Democratic and Republican side. For the most part things played out as people expected. Starting Line will spend part of the next week taking some dives into specific primary results and what it means for the general. For the moment, let’s take a look at some of the main takeaways from the night:   Hogg Keeps It Close, Has A Bright Future Things looked bleak for Rob Hogg when the Des Moines Register released a poll on […]

What To Watch For In Today’s Iowa Primaries

It’s primary day in Iowa! Polls are open until 9:00PM, and campaigns are going all-out today to get their identified supporters to the polls. What should Iowa politics watchers keep their eye on tonight? Starting Line has a few suggestions below. You can also watch myself and The Iowa Republican’s Craig Robinson do live commentary on the results tonight with the ABC 5/WOI team. We’ll be covering the results on The CW Channel (Channel 9 in Des Moines, I believe), then on Channel 5 during their 10:00 newscast. Make sure to tune in for some good, informed analysis!   Iowa Senate In […]

A Day On The Trail With Monica Vernon

Monica Vernon’s Memorial Day started like many other Iowans: doing a little bit of yard work. She picked several pink peonies from her garden to fill a vase to welcome home her youngest daughter, Eleanor, flying in later in the day. That was about all there was time for, though, as her campaign manager arrived to her Cedar Rapids house around 7:15 AM, lattes in hand, to head out for a morning of campaigning. Middle daughter Frances, also visiting home during Memorial Day, offered to drive. Vernon has centered much of her second run for the 1st Congressional District around her […]