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 […]

Iowa Gets A Two-For-One Team If They Elect Hubbell

Iowa voters get a bonus this year when they elect Fred Hubbell as Iowa’s next Governor: Charlotte Hubbell, Fred’s wife and life partner, comes along as part of the deal. The role of political spouses of elected officials vary greatly. Some play no role at all, while others play pivotal roles in successful administrations. Many spouses become important advocates for issues they wish to elevate in importance. Others play a key role in communicating as proxies for the candidate. Charlotte Hubbell has already proven to be a valuable campaign spokesperson for her husband in articulating his policy positions. In addition, […]

Kim Reynolds Took $50,000 From Top Public Pension Enemy

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds received $50,000 in a campaign contribution from Rex Sinquefield, a wealthy Missouri Republican who has waged an all-out war against that state’s public pension system. The Reynolds donation was the only contribution to an Iowa candidate Sinquefield has ever made, and only six individuals in total have given more than $50,000 to Reynolds. That large donation could take on extra scrutiny as Reynolds tries to fight back against growing concerns that she would drastically restructure Iowa’s IPERS system. In recent days, she and other state Republicans have insisted they will not make any changes for the […]

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 […]