State Of The Race In Iowa’s 3rd District (October 2017)

Starting Line’s analysis of Iowa’ four congressional races continues today with the most intriguing primary of all: the Des Moines-based 3rd District. Four, possibly five Democrats have a real shot at winning the party’s nomination to take on incumbent Republican Congressman David Young. It’s also more likely than not that the nomination goes to a convention if no candidate gets to 35%, the amount required by Iowa law to avoid doing so. Young himself prevailed in a nominating convention in 2014 after coming in 5th place in the primary. Could the Democrat who finally defeats him come out of a […]

Austin Frerick Proposes Farm Bill Plan To Save Leopold Center

Governor Terry Branstad’s line-item veto earlier this year of a provision that would have eliminated Iowa’s Leopold Center was little comfort to conservation advocates considering Republicans slashed nearly all the program’s funding. The Leopold Center focuses on sustainable agriculture research, and its defunding was seen as part of a continuing Republican effort to undermine clean water projects. So 3rd Congressional District candidate Austin Frerick is proposing going around state government actors entirely to keep the center operating. Frerick is rolling out a new policy idea today that would establish a reliable source of federal funding for the Leopold Center and […]

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 […]

Iowa Starting Line Poll For Iowa Governor, 1st And 3rd Districts

We’re nearing the end of the announcement phase for most key races in Iowa for 2018. At this point most of the announced or exploring or “considering it” candidates are known, so I thought it’d be a good time to kick off a series of Starting Line polls. Throughout this year and next, we’ll run polls once or twice a month on various races, issues and random fun Iowa politics stuff. Share these posts with your friends and encourage them to vote! And if you want to make sure you hear about each new Starting Line poll, sign up for […]

Coach And Businessman Eddie Mauro Joins Democrats’ 3rd District Race

The Democratic field of candidates for the 3rd District grows ever larger today, with Eddie Mauro officially launching an exploratory committee. The baseball coach from the well known Des Moines South Side family had been considering a run for several weeks now, and is now pitching his experience as a community activist and business owner as a good contrast to Republican Congressman David Young. “Despite the demand for change that Iowans wanted in 2016, Donald Trump and David Young have failed to deliver,” Mauro said in a press release. “They said what they needed to say to win the vote, […]

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 […]

3rd District Candidate Heather Ryan’s Disturbing Past Comments, Videos

Des Moines political activist Heather Ryan, a candidate running in the Democratic primary for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, wrote a book four years ago in which she used the terms “ungrateful cunt” and “psychotic bitch” to describe individual women she worked with in the child pageant and reality TV industry. She also described two female Republican politicians as “vagina endowed wastes of human flesh.” And after a bitter falling out with her main client, she made a short film in which her character kidnaps and plans to murder a child pageant star, who in the film has striking similarities to […]

Cindy Axne’s Path From Community Activism To Congressional Candidate

While raising her two young sons in West Des Moines, Cindy Axne found a problem: the school district claimed there was only enough space for half of local children to attend full-day kindergarten. A lottery system was used to decide who got to get in, which her first son lost out in. So she started working on a solution, lobbying the school board for eight months to expand it to everyone. She ran the numbers of how it affected kids to show the district the inequity it was causing. But if that didn’t persuade them, she had backup options. “If […]

Can We Start Focusing On The More Winnable Races Now?

Kim Weaver’s candidacy has ended, and a follow-up story from the Des Moines Register raised serious questions about her reasoning for doing so. But whatever, it’s time to move on. Hopefully, part of moving on for Iowa Democratic activists will be a renewed focus on the 1st and 3rd congressional districts. Barring something incredibly dramatic, those two races will be much closer than the deep-red 4th District. And their outcome could very well determine whether Democrats retake the U.S. House and thus are able to launch actual investigations into the Trump Administration. One could make a very compelling argument that the congressional […]

Uh Oh: David Young’s Seat Endangered After AHCA Vote, Ranking Group Says

Republican incumbent David Young’s vote in favor of the AHCA bill makes his reelection much more difficult, the country’s top congressional ranking website reported this morning. The Cook Political Report moved Young’s 3rd District from Likely Republican to Lean Republican in their new ranking of the country’s swing seats. His was one of twenty Republican-held seats that Cook downgraded for the party due to the vote on the very unpopular piece of legislation. “House Republicans’ willingness to spend political capital on a proposal that garnered the support of just 17 percent of the public in a March Quinnipiac poll is […]