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 […]

David Young Falls To Cindy Axne in 3rd District Race

Harnessing a Democratic wave in suburban neighborhoods, small businesswoman Cindy Axne has defeated Congressman David Young in a race many thought might be a long-shot for Democrats at the beginning of the 2018 cycle. WHO-TV projected early tonight that Axne would defeat Young tonight, largely thanks to a massive 40,000-vote lead out of Polk County. Axne makes history with her victory as the first woman elected to the U.S. House from Iowa, and she may be joined in that distinction with Abby Finkenauer depending on the outcome in the 1st District. She is also the first Democratic woman elected to […]

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 […]

NextGen Launches Major Digital Effort To Turn Out Young Iowans

NextGen Iowa is launching a major digital advertising campaign that goes through the final weeks of the election, targeting young Iowans to encourage them to vote on November 6. The $162,000 online expenditure in Iowa is part of a national $4 million effort from the progressive organization that is focusing on youth turnout this year. The ad blitz kicks off on October 15 and is targeted at over 170,000 Iowans between the ages of 18 and 35. They will run on a wide array of websites, social media sites and video services, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, Hulu, Vevo, […]

There’s Now More Democrats Than Republicans In IA-03

Democrats are increasing their number of registered voters at more than double the rate of Republicans in Iowa, according to the latest registration numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office today. In the 3rd Congressional District, Democrats have overtaken Republicans’ registration advantage for the first time ever since the district’s current lines were first redrawn in 2012. It’s also the first time that Democrats outnumber Republicans in three of the state’s four congressional districts. Statewide, there’s 1,724 newly-registered Democrats since the September report. Republicans only gained 786 new registered voters for their party. But the No Party crowd grew […]

Democrats’ Digital Ad Strategy Lagging Behind Republicans’ In Iowa

Earlier this year, Facebook began making public every political ad that is run on their platform as part of their effort to create a more transparent process following criticism of Russian influence in the 2016 election. You can now easily find every ad deemed “political” in their Ad Archive, including those currently running, by searching for any candidate’s name. Starting Line pored over every ad run by or about Iowa’s statewide, congressional and state legislative candidates. One consistent theme stuck out: Republicans are running far more creative and comprehensive ad campaigns designed at both persuasion and rallying their base; Democrats […]

Republicans Attack Cindy Axne For Defending… Puppies (Yes, Really)

We have an early frontrunner for this year’s dumbest and most dishonest Iowa political ad. It comes to us courtesy of the Republican Party of Iowa, who have a 30-second ad up attacking Democratic 3rd Congressional District candidate Cindy Axne for being a “lobbyist.” Now, this is one of those political hit jobs that can be “technically” true while it’s also wildly misleading. Yes, Axne registered as a lobbyist at the Iowa Statehouse for a single day-of-action event where she talked with legislators. For whom did she register with? The Iowa Voters For Companion Animals. She was at the Capitol […]