Bernie Sanders Rallies The Base With J.D. Scholten

Bernie Sanders got the band back together at his rally in Sioux City for Steve King opponent J.D. Scholten yesterday evening. A crowd of 500 people, many of whom caucused for Sanders three years ago, packed an auditorium at Morningside College to hear the senator’s familiar lines about economic inequality and universal healthcare. At this rally, however, Sanders’ message was urgent and simple: put aside any frustrations you have with politics and just go vote. “I think that what J.D.’s election is all about is voter turnout,” Sanders said. “And I believe that if working people and young people and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

On The Road With J.D. Scholten’s Campaign To Defeat Steve King

There’s few summer activities more quinesstential than a father/son road trip in an RV. Stopping at small town restaurants. Sleeping in a pull-down bed. Navigating through country roads. But one extra feature of J.D. Scholten and his father Jim’s tour around Iowa in their new RV is that J.D. is also running for Congress. As Scholten was entering the final months of Democrats’ three-way primary to take on Steve King, he faced a difficult problem: Iowa’s 4th Congressional District is a sprawling, 39-county swath of Western and Northern Iowa. Scholten leads the pack of Democrats vying for the nomination in […]

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 […]

Several Counties See Early Vote Jumps Before Primary

Woodbury County is voting their butts off. New early vote data from Friday shows a big jump in absentee ballot requests in several counties. The Northwest Iowa county anchored by Sioux City saw a particularly large increase, bringing them to the fourth-most in the state and nearly surpassing Johnson County. (See our earlier post from last week if you want to compare – download our new spreadsheet here.) Here’s the top 10 counties ranked by the raw number of absentee ballots after the second week of early voting:  D Requested Polk  5,348 Dubuque  1,908 Johnson  1,447 Woodbury  1,404 Linn  1,273 […]

New Endorsements, Ads And Trips As Primary Draws Closer

With just three and a half weeks remaining in the Democratic primary, the candidates are criss-crossing the state and blanketing the airwaves and mailboxes with ads. They’re also rolling out endorsements from late-deciding leaders to project momentum. Here’s a look at some of the key developments from this week and what’s ahead. The First Gubernatorial Debate Make sure to block off some time this Sunday evening for the Democrats’ first gubernatorial debate. All six candidates gather in Davenport for a debate sponsored by KWQC and the Quad Cities Times – it starts at 6:00 PM and you can watch the […]

Report Sees Multiple “Risks” For Steve King’s Reelection

Is Congressman Steve King at risk of losing reelection? Every single cycle, Democrats hope and pray that this will finally be the year that the reviled Republican will go down in electoral defeat. And every cycle, the conservative lean of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District dashes those hopes. But this year at least one major political ranking site is starting to see some danger signs for King. The Cook Political Report saw four risk factors for King, which showed he may not be fully prepared in his reelection campaign “to withstand a hostile political environment.” Cook laid out seven potential risk […]