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 […]

Everyone Is Running For Everything In Iowa In 2018

Just as reliably as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, not a week goes by in Iowa politics without a new candidate running for this or that major office. Iowa Democrats have about 22 declared or strongly-considering candidates for governor and the three Republican-held congressional districts. The field for every race has continued to grow this summer, though we may be finally nearing the end of the announcement phase. It’s an interesting parallel to the huge, 17-candidate Republican presidential primary field in 2016. Out of power for a while now, there’s fewer influential power-brokers or […]

New Ranking Report Push Iowa Congressional Seats To The Right

The Cook Political Report unveiled its new Partisan Voting Index scores for the nation’s congressional seats, and it’s all bad news for Iowa Democrats. Typically, Cook’s ratings change little year-to-year, but the shifting voter loyalties resulting from Donald Trump’s campaign upended the formula. Three of Iowa’s four congressional districts have moved significantly to the right in the new report. Here’s the updated numbers: Incumbent 2017 Previous CD 1 Blum D+1 D+5 CD 2 Loebsack D+1 D+4 CD 3 Young R+1 Even CD 4 King R+11 R+5 The two Eastern Iowa districts that were once Democratic-leaning (even with Rod Blum carrying the 1st […]

Four Potential Republican Challengers To Dave Loebsack In 2018

Republicans may have wished they’d had a better-funded 2nd District candidate in 2016 when Donald Trump won the Democratic-leaning seat held by Dave Loebsack. The six-term Democrat has weathered every difficult year in Iowa politics and remains in a good position heading into 2018. But that won’t keep serious GOP candidates from taking a close look at challenging Loebsack in the hopes that Southeast Iowa continues to trend toward Republicans. The rumor mill is already churning over who might launch a campaign. Here’s the names Starting Line is hearing: Jeff Kaufmann, Chair of Republican Party of Iowa Kaufmann’s name has been tossed […]

Dave Loebsack Named As A Top Defend District For Democrats In 2018

The best chance for Democrats to stop President Donald Trump’s agenda is to retake the U.S. House in 2018. To do that they’ll have to pick up about two dozen seats, as well as not lose any. Here in Iowa, a top priority will be protecting Iowa’s 2nd District and Congressman Dave Loebsack. If Democrats can’t hold onto well-known legislators like Loebsack, they’ll have little hope for a national take-back. The six-term Democrat was named this week to the DCCC’s Frontline program, their short list of the Democrats’ top defend districts heading into 2018. “This program gives Democratic members additional […]