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 Most Telling 10 Seconds Of The First Governor’s Debate

The first debate between Governor Kim Reynolds and Fred Hubbell was a contrast in styles: a combative and engaged incumbent and a poised, collected challenger. There were no knock-out blows and few major missteps, but one odd response from Reynolds may linger throughout the campaign. That moment came about 45 minutes into the debate, when a moderator asked the governor who in her party she disagrees with the most. For a full ten seconds, Reynolds went quiet, put her head down and went deep into thought. It felt like even longer to those watching in the debate hall. “We’ve been […]

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 […]

Will The 2018 Election Be Decided By… The Issues?

In a year of non-stop political twists and turn, the most bizarre development of all may yet come in the Iowa governor’s race: actual policy issues are determining who wins the race. That’s what appears to be the case, anyway, with just six weeks remaining before the November election. The latest Des Moines Register poll shows Fred Hubbell with a narrow lead over Governor Kim Reynolds, but it’s the breakdown of voter attitudes on Medicaid and personal attacks on Hubbell that tell the larger story. The Register polled how voters felt about the biggest lines of attack being used in […]

Legal Bribery? Reynolds’ Latest Ethics Issue Sets Bad Precedent

Perhaps Governor Kim Reynolds should just stay off planes. The AP’s Ryan Foley reported this afternoon that Reynolds had once again taken a questionable plane ride paid for by a donor that has business with the state of Iowa. Dave North, the CEO of Sedgwick, a company that is contracted by the state to handle workers compensation claims, reimbursed his company for the use of the corporate jet to fly Reynolds and her family to an ISU bowl game. It happened on December 30, 2017 for the Liberty Bowl. Reynolds drew scrutiny for another free trip in May of last […]

Hubbell Points Out Big Hypocrisy In Latest Reynolds Ad

Governor Kim Reynolds is desperately trying to use distorted and negative ads to damage Fred Hubbell. Reynolds’ latest charge is that Hubbell, while head of the Iowa Power Fund, wasted taxpayer money and didn’t create any jobs. Yet, Reynolds is on record praising the very investments made by the Power Fund under Hubbell’s leadership. Reynolds’ Director of Economic Development, Debi Durham, described the Power Fund board and staff in glowing terms. “They did what they were asked to do,” she says of the board and the staff. “It accomplished a great deal.” The Power Fund began in 2007 as a […]

Follow The Money On Reynolds, Wellmark And Pre-Existing Health Conditions

After years of state and national progress on healthcare access, Governor Kim Reynolds brought back one of the worst features of pre-ACA healthcare: denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. And the company that was chosen to offer up the new plans just so happens to have been a major contributor to the Brandstad/Reynolds ticket for years. That’s what happened earlier this year when Reynolds signed a bill allowing Wellmark and the Iowa Farm Bureau to sell healthcare plans that don’t actually qualify as “healthcare.” The move was made to offer a cheaper alternative to Iowans who simply couldn’t afford the rising […]

Will Governor’s Race Come Down To Medicaid Or Younkers?

When Iowans enter the voting booth in November, which will weigh more heavily on their mind: Younkers or Medicaid? That seems to be what the race for governor is boiling down to at this point as Governor Kim Reynolds and Fred Hubbell are now months into their TV ad campaigns. Reynolds hopes to turn Hubbell’s business executive experience from the 1980s into a liability. Hubbell wants voters to focus on the broken privatized Medicaid system that many see Reynolds mismanaging. This week, Hubbell rolled out his hardest-hitting ad to date, one that features a quadriplegic man whose in-home care was cut […]

Reynolds’ Team Helped Man Wanting To Run On Mollie Tibbetts’ Murder, He Says

A man with a long history of bizarre, racist social media posts, including those which claimed Barack Obama was a secret Muslim, thanked Governor Kim Reynolds today for her team’s assistance in trying to get him on the ballot for Attorney General. [Update: Starting Line hears that while Republicans initially helped Anderson with signatures, around noon on Saturday the party and Reynolds pulled their support from his effort.] West Des Moines Republican and attorney Patrick Anderson waged a last-minute effort this week to collect enough signatures to oppose Attorney General Tom Miller on the November ballot. No Republican had yet […]

Get Ready For The Ugliest Iowa Election Ever

You may as well get used to the above image. You’ll be seeing it hundreds of thousands of times between now and November in countless Republican ads, both in Iowa and around the country. The disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts in Brooklyn, Iowa came to a sad and tragic end today when it was announced that investigators found a body they believed to be the young college student in a Poweshiek County corn field. This afternoon, the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation released the name of the person they had taken into custody: Cristhian Bahena Rivera, originally of Mexico. The man apparently […]