State Of The Race In Iowa’s 4th District (October 2017)

Starting Line finishes its analysis of Iowa’s four congressional races today by looking west to Steve King country (you can read our previous district posts here: 1st District, 2nd District, 3rd District). There’s no one Democrats would like to see go away more than King, but his reliably Republican district has always made that a near-impossible task. That hasn’t stopped people from trying, nor Democrats from getting excited about each race, and there’s always some slim reason for hope in Iowa’s 4th District. The finance reports are in, so let’s take a look at where the 4th District Democratic primary […]

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 […]

Leann Jacobsen Kicks Off Campaign To Take On Steve King

Spencer businesswoman Leann Jacobsen has officially entered the Democratic primary for Iowa’s 4th District in the hopes of going toe-to-toe with Congressman Steve King next November. She had been considering a run for several weeks, and kicked off her candidacy this morning with a campaign website and video: In the video she comments on the strong communities in Northwest Iowa that are still facing serious problems, pointing to rural hospitals in particular (Jacobsen is a board member for Spencer Hospital). She labels King as “just another politician” who doesn’t focus on the real needs of his district. “A politician who […]

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 […]

Businesswoman Leann Jacobsen Considers Run Against Steve King

One of the longstanding frustrations of moderate Republicans and some independents in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District isn’t so much the incendiary things Steve King says; it’s instead what local issues he isn’t talking about. While King is complaining on Twitter about immigrants and touting far-right European political movements, small town economies in Western Iowa are struggling. Now Leann Jacobsen, a Spencer city councilwoman whose expertise is building up small business communities in Northwest Iowa, is thinking about challenging King in 2018. “I have 30 years of business experience which provides a lot of passion around seeing business succeed, from start-ups […]

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 […]

Payback Time: Iowans Vow Revenge For AHCA Vote

Despite a deluge of phone calls, emails and in-person meetings from concerned Iowans, Iowa Republican Congressmen Rod Blum, David Young and Steve King all voted in favor of the AHCA healthcare bill. The legislation that repealed many provisions of the ACA passed by just two votes. Had any two of those Iowa members flipped their vote, it would have gone back to the drawing board. Democrat Dave Loebsack was the lone no from the state’s delegation. Reaction to the vote in Iowa was swift and overwhelmingly negative online and among people who need their healthcare coverage to live. The bill will take […]

Weaver: Iowa Voters Want To Hear About The Issues

It’s not easy running for public office. Especially at the federal level and in an era where dark money routinely funds hit pieces on good people. As a candidate, your entire life gets put under a magnifying glass and opposition groups can spend tremendous amounts of money to discredit you or scare you away if they think you are a threat. Last month, the top Republican smear group in the country, America Rising, started digging into every aspect of my personal and professional life. Because I’m a government employee, they (through the Freedom of Information Act) were able to request […]

Evans: You Won’t Beat Steve King With A Former Psychic

Two of my friends are polar opposites when it comes to politics. One is oh so liberal. Excuse me, oh so progressive. The other is conservative. Quite so. They don’t often agree on issues. On other topics, they are fine. Just not on politics. That’s the reason it was so unusual earlier this month when these two found themselves agreeing on one of the most-talked-about news developments in Iowa politics since Bruce Braley made those stupid, derogatory comments about the possibility “a farmer” — read that, Chuck Grassley — might end up chairing the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. The latest […]

Dirk Deam Passes On 4th District, Fred Hubbell Rumors Heat Up

Iowa State University professor Dirk Deam won’t be running for the Democratic nomination in Iowa’s 4th District this cycle. His now-ended campaign informed Starting Line that some new family health obligations will keep him from devoting the full time he felt he needed to run an all-in candidacy. Kim Weaver was already strongly favored to carry the primary, considering her name recognition with Democratic activists and newfound fundraising abilities. Deam, well-liked and respected by students and activists in Ames, may have emerged as a real threat to her over time, but Weaver now has an easy path to the nomination. That may […]