Ashley Hinson Files For 1st District Run Against Abby Finkenauer

State Representative Ashley Hinson of Marion has filed official papers to make a run for Congress in Iowa’s 1st District. The filing appeared online this morning, two days after Hinson posted about a four-day trip she recently made to Washington, D.C. A run by Hinson had been speculated during most of this legislative session, though she seemed intent on waiting after the session had adjourned. She doesn’t appear to have an active website up yet, nor has there been any official announcement yet that Starting Line has seen. A two-term state representative first elected in 2016, Hinson has proven a […]

Abby Finkenauer Appointed To Key Infrastructure Subcommittee Spot

Iowa will now have a bigger say in how the nation’s infrastructure needs are addressed. Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer has been appointed to the role of Vice Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. That subcommittee handles the planning for construction and maintenance of highways and transit facilities, as well as the regulation for commercial vehicles. A new surface transportation reauthorization bill will assign hundreds of billions of dollars for highway, transit, and bridge projects. It’s a noteworthy position for a freshman legislator to hold. Finkenauer’s past service in the Iowa House’s Transportation Committee helped in […]

Rod Blum Is Still Running Ads In His Old District

Congressman Rod Blum was defeated in his reelection effort by Abby Finkenauer last November, but that hasn’t stopped the Republican from staying politically active. In fact, he’s still running advertising online. A quick review of the Facebook Ad Archive shows Blum continuing to pay for Facebook ads over the past two months. The “paid for” line simply lists “Rod Blum,” as opposed to the “Blum For Congress” disclaimer used back during the election. These ads also come from his former official Facebook page, Congressman Rod Blum, and not his old political account. The ad buys are relatively small, less than $100 […]

In Iowa, The Trump Era Realignment Intensifies

Two waves hit Iowa on Tuesday. Unfortunately for Democrats, the red one was just a little bit stronger and in just the right places for Republicans to win statewide and in specific state legislative seats. The election results continued the trend of intensifying polarization in Iowa and national politics, exacerbating both parties’ weaknesses and strengths in different communities. That process started many cycles ago, but Donald Trump really sped things up. Fred Hubbell carried only 11 counties, a steady decline from Barack Obama’s 38-county win in 2012, though better than Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance where she won just six. And […]

The Most Shocking Number From Iowa’s Election Night

Democrats were feeling good early on last night. Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer had both made history in their congressional victories. J.D. Scholten was actually leading Steve King. Democrats swept a series of Iowa House races in the Des Moines suburbs. Fred Hubbell jumped out to a big lead when Polk County came in fast. But as the evening wore on, the mood soured. Kim Reynolds picked up steam as rural counties reported, and she started winning a handful of blue-collar Eastern Iowa counties that Democrats needed to hold. Eventually, she won. How? Many Democrats were stunned that both Finkenauer […]

Abby Finkenauer Makes History, Beats Rod Blum

Abby Finkenauer will go to D.C. early next year as one of just two women elected to Congress under the age of 30 (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the other winner). She joins Cindy Axne in the joint honor of being the first women elected to the U.S. House out of Iowa, as well as the first Democratic women elected to federal office here. The 29-year-old state legislator ousted incumbent Rod Blum from Iowa’s 1st District this evening. It was the end to Blum’s controversial and contentious second term in office, one where a series of angry outbursts and unforced errors from […]

Potential Scenarios For Tonight’s Iowa Elections

It’s here. It’s finally, finally here. Iowans are headed to the polls this morning, and there’s already reports of long lines and enthusiastic new voters registering at their voting place. After high-profile campaigns that have lasted an intense 16 months or more, most candidates, volunteers, staffers and rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans are just eager for it to be done – and to see who wins. Democrats have become cautiously optimistic in the past week, though memories of devastating election nights in 2016, 2014 and 2010 weigh heavy on their minds. But there are very legitimate reasons to feel good about […]

These Counties Have Already Surpassed Their 2014 Early Vote

Iowa is on pace to easily surpass its final 2014 early vote totals before Election Day. Democrats’ numbers are looking particularly strong, pulling away by a strong margin from Republicans in the last week. There are 35,192 more registered Democrats who have voted early than registered Republicans. At this point in 2014, Democrats held only a 6,829 lead. Let’s dive in to all the numbers, including a look at what counties are turning out strongly for either party (as always, you can look at my full county spreadsheet here). First, here’s the current statewide early vote totals: Requested Voted Dem […]

Which Iowa Counties Are (And Aren’t) Turning Out Big For 2018

Thousands of Iowans are casting their ballots every single day as we enter the final 20 days of the campaign. Democrats started out with a big lead, but it’s recently narrowed to what the party has typically seen in the past. We’re now at a pretty decent place to start digging into the numbers more (also see our previous post on legislative districts’ early vote). Republicans’ absentee request mailer caused big daily jumps for their totals over the past week, but that’s largely stabilized now. Looking back at the 2014 midterm early vote numbers is still comparing apples and oranges […]

Rod Blum Closes Ugly With Race-Baiting Ad

Rod Blum isn’t very subtle with his closing message for his reelection campaign. A new TV ad that appears to have started running today repeatedly hits challenger Abby Finkenauer for saying, “I legislate with my heart too much.” But it’s the first few seconds that will grab people’s attention and could cause backlash. Right after the ad shows Finkenauer saying the line on the floor of the Iowa House, an image of three heavily-tattooed Hispanic men pop up on screen over her: Blum claims that Finkenauer “put criminal illegal aliens back on Iowa streets” while the image of MS-13 gang […]