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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Corbett, Caligiuri Booted From Ballot, Greenfield Still Going

The state’s three-person elections commission met this afternoon in a lengthy hearing to consider eight objections to various candidates’ ballot petitions. It was the most challenges anyone could remember there being in a single year, and it included several major candidates like Kim Reynolds, David Young and Steve King. They also addressed the major situations with Ron Corbett, Ginny Caligiuri and Theresa Greenfield. The election commission is made up of Secretary of State Paul Pate, Attorney General Tom Miller and State Auditor Mary Mosiman. Their decisions caused major shake-ups in Iowa politics, knocking off Kim Reynolds’ only primary challenger – […]

How Congressional Primaries Stack Up With New Fundraising Numbers

Federal candidates’ campaign finance reports for 2017’s 4th quarter were due this past week, and they once again give us a sense of where the money aspect of Iowa’s congressional races stand. The dynamics of the 1st District primary largely stays the same, while the numbers cast a slightly new light on the 3rd and 4th District contests. Starting Line will take a brief look at each district. 1st Congressional District Abby Finkenauer’s $302,000 haul didn’t just surpass all the Democratic candidates in her race and the other districts – she out-raised every single incumbent member of Congress in Iowa, […]

State Of The Race In Iowa’s 2nd District (October 2017)

With the 3rd quarter financial filings all getting posted on Monday, Starting Line continues its series of reports on where the field stands in each Iowa congressional district. Up today: Iowa’s 2nd District, where incumbent Democrat Dave Loebsack, the last elected Democrat on the federal level in the state, is looking to secure a seventh term in 2018. Incumbent: Six-term Democrat Dave Loebsack 2016 Result: Dave Loebsack 53.7%, Christopher Peters 46.2% 2016 Presidential: Trump 49.1%, Clinton 45.0% Location: Southeast Iowa, Davenport, Iowa City, Ottumwa, Clinton Iowa City physician Dr. Christopher Peters is looking for a rematch with Loebsack in 2018, and so far he’s […]

An Iowa Politics Primer Guide For Students

School has been back in session across Iowa for college and high school students for a few weeks now. While Donald Trump is certainly a constant topic of discussion, important Iowa campaigns are well underway for governor, Congress, the Iowa Legislature and other statewide offices. Starting Line thought it’d be helpful to put together a simple primer guide all in one place for those races and the overall dynamics of Iowa politics to help students who want to get a good baseline knowledge of what’s happening. Many politically-engaged students will already know this information. But perhaps they have out-of-state friends […]