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 […]

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 […]

Digging Into The Data: Fun Numbers From Iowa’s Primary

Now that the dust has settled from Tuesday night’s primaries across Iowa, let’s take a closer look at some of the trends and the county-level turnout numbers. There’s some interesting information there that helps explain what happened, why campaigns end up the way they do and where the Democratic Party is at. Keep in mind, however, that these are all numbers from the “unofficial results.” Late-arriving absentee ballots and other things may change numbers ever so slightly when the official canvass is done later. As always, here’s the spreadsheet I was working with. When Races Swung, They Swung Hard One […]

One Last Look At Some 3rd District Candidate Stories

Starting Line is taking one last look at the most competitive Democratic primary in the state: the 3rd District race for Congress. Here’s a small bit on each of the three candidates of campaign accomplishments and stories you might not yet have heard about them. Cindy Axne Closes Primary With 100th House Party A recurring criticism of past Democratic congressional candidates in Iowa that have lost in recent years is that they simply did not travel their district enough. This is especially problematic in the 3rd District where incumbent Republican David Young visits all 16 of his counties every single […]

Weekly Round-Up: Glasson’s Legalization Pitch, Axne Hits 100, Early Vote Record

Two days! Just two days to go! Campaign volunteers were treated to some nicer weather this weekend for door-knocking for their favorite candidates during GOTV. That’s all that’s left at this point. The final debates were held this past week (see our takeaways from the gubernatorial one here and the 3rd District one here). Now everyone is simply focused on turning out their supporters on Tuesday. Here’s a look at our weekly round-up of campaign news that you might have missed. Cathy Glasson Backs Legal Recreational Marijuana It can be difficult for candidates to break out of the noise in […]

Key Takeaways From 3rd District Democrats’ Debate

Democrats saw their only debate for the 3rd Congressional District last night in Des Moines, with Cindy Axne, Pete D’Alessandro and Eddie Mauro using what time they had to distinguish themselves before the vote on Tuesday. There was very little back-and-forth between the candidates, but it was still much more engaging than your typical forum. The moderators pressed the Democrats on key differences they have between each other, and asked tough questions on the feasibility of some of their ideas. You can watch the whole thing here if you missed it. Here is Starting Line’s seven takeaways from the debate […]

Weekly Round-Up: New Gov Race Opportunities, Fundraising And Endorsements

So, there was a bit of news that happened in Iowa politics this week. The Des Moines Register story on Nate Boulton and his subsequent withdrawal from the race dominated headlines for most of the week. It shook up a still-fluid primary with less than two weeks to go until the election. And it also overshadowed a key anniversary: Kim Reynolds celebrated her one-year mark as governor on Thursday. Let’s take a look at some of the other storylines that didn’t get full stories from Starting Line this week. Norris Sees New Opportunity To Break Out Starting Line caught up […]

Eddie Mauro, Cindy Axne Lead Tight 3rd District Race, DMR Poll Says

Eddie Mauro and Cindy Axne are locked in a statistical tie for the lead in Democrats’ 3rd District race, the Des Moines Register’s poll released this afternoon found. Mauro comes in at 27% support, while Axne has 26%. Pete D’Alessandro polls at 11%. Another 36% of likely Democratic primary voters remain undecided and a full 82% of respondents say they could still change their minds. That sets up a very uncertain finale to the primary in the 3rd District, a seat that Democrats very much hope to seriously contest in the general election. Republican incumbent David Young has handily won […]

Weekly Round-Up: RV Tours, Unique Ads And More Attacks

With just 18 days left until the June 5 primary, there’s more developments from the campaign trail every day than we have to time to write about. Like our story last Friday, here’s our end-of-week roundup piece for all the campaign news we didn’t do full stories on. Abby Finkenauer’s Newest TV Ad Hits Working Families Theme State Representative Abby Finkenauer begins airing her second TV ad for the 1st District primary today. The ad is titled “Good Lives” and focuses in on a working-class families message. Finkenauer is seen talking with locals in a restaurant while she discusses her […]