How John Delaney Is Directing His Iowa Efforts To Down-Ballot Dems

If Democrats learned anything from the past decade, it’s that holding the presidency while losing statehouses, governor’s mansions and Congress greatly limits your ability to accomplish anything. So, it’s been a delicate balance for 2020 hopefuls as they visit early states like Iowa. You want to introduce and promote yourself, while still helping out the candidates running in tough races this year. As one of just two declared Democratic candidates for president, Congressman John Delaney of Maryland has been in an unique position as he’s traveled Iowa. He doesn’t need to be coy about his intentions of why he’s in […]

Booker Sets The Bar High For 2020 Field After First Iowa Visit

Boone County Democratic activists didn’t know they were hosting a major event with Cory Booker until late this past Saturday. About 36 hours later, over 200 cheering people gave the New Jersey senator a hero’s welcome at a Monday mid-day rally in the small town of 12,000. When Booker entered the county party’s headquarters to an amped-up audience that was literally packed to the rafters, it felt like a real “moment.” Booker had gotten a lift to the event on congressional candidate J.D. Scholten’s “Sioux City Sue” RV. About a dozen people waited out on the sidewalk, peering down the […]

Eric Swalwell Gets Some Free TV Time In Iowa

Another potential 2020 Democratic contender is appearing in Iowa TV ads over a year out from the Iowa Caucus, though he’s not having to pay for them. Iowa Senate Republicans have decided to use Congressman Eric Swalwell of California as their new boogeyman in local legislative races. Their latest TV ad is attacking Democratic state senate candidate Vicky Brenner for hosting a fundraiser with Swalwell, then links her to policies they claim he supports. Swalwell has travelled extensively across Iowa to help down-ballot Democrats as part of his preparation for a potential presidential run. “She brought in liberal San Francisco […]

On Day Of Rage, Cory Booker Preaches Hope, Resilience

When Senator Cory Booker took the stage at Iowa Democrats’ largest event of the year last night, emotions were running high in the room of over 1,100 party activists. Most were still seething or depressed over the Brett Kavanaugh vote that took place just hours earlier. Booker had jumped on a plane immediately after voting against the nomination and flew to Iowa for what was essentially a major debut of his potential presidential run. But rather than take the anger of the evening and whip the crowd into a frenzy, Booker delivered a sermon of hope, love and resilience, urging […]

New Iowa Caucus Poll Has Opportunities, Warning Signs For 2020 Dems

A private poll was commissioned last month on likely Iowa Caucus-goers’ early thoughts on the 2020 race, and the results give us some fascinating clues as to where each White House contender may start off in the lead-off caucus state. Starting Line got a look at it today. The David Binder Research poll was commissioned by the Focus on Rural America organization and surveyed 500 Democrats who said they would definitely or probably attend the caucus in 2020. It ran from September 20th to the 23rd. Download the full poll here. Vice President Joe Biden tops the list of candidates […]

John Delaney Expands Caucus Staff With Experienced Iowa Operative

Congressman John Delaney is building out his Iowa team this week with the hiring of Greg Hauenstein as their new digital director. Hauenstein, a longtime digital media producer for Iowa campaigns, adds to Delaney’s early caucus operation as the Maryland congressman continues to get a head start on organizing over the rest of the 2020 field. “We are thrilled to welcome Greg to our team. Greg and his work are well respected by political professionals in Iowa and around the country,” said Monica Biddix, Delaney’s Iowa communications director. “He not only brings his skills and talents to our operation but […]

Cory Booker To Headline Major Iowa Democratic Party Event

Senator Cory Booker will headline the Iowa Democratic Party’s biggest event of the year in early October, the party announced this afternoon. He’s the featured guest for this year’s Fall Gala (formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner), which will be held on Saturday, October 6. It’s the New Jersey senator’s first trip to Iowa this election cycle, and it comes just as Booker’s national profile is larger than ever for his role in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings. Booker drew headlines this week for clashing with Iowa’s Senator Chuck Grassley and releasing documents on Kavanaugh from the Judiciary Committee that […]

Ep53: New Caucus Rules & Julian Castro Interview

 Iowa Starting Line Podcast host Pat Rynard talks with former IDP executive director Norm Sterzenbach about the DNC’s changes to caucus states and superdelegates. And we sit down with Julian Castro to discuss his potential 2020 run and what he sees as key to Democrats’ success.

A Looming 2020 Litmus Test: Lock Him Up?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in national politics over the past several years, it’s that the issues we think will matter to voters are not always the ones that do come the election. Media firestorms can change the public attention’s at any moment, while new policy ideas can catch on fast. Medicare-for-all was hardly discussed before catching on in recent years with a significant part of the Democratic Party. Abolishing ICE had a quick rise on the left. And Donald Trump brought back talk of trade policy in a way others hadn’t for years during the 2016 campaign. So, […]

A Look At How A Julian Castro Run Could Play Out In Iowa

For an initial Iowa visit to test the presidential waters, Julian Castro hit all the usual marks last week. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary spent his three days in the lead-off caucus state meeting activists, touring the State Fair and introducing his life story and overall vision for the country. But many of his specific stops – and the warm receptions he got at them – pointed to the strategy he may use if he does throw his hat in the 2020 ring. At age 43, Castro is more accomplished than many of the potential White House hopefuls […]