Iowa House Democrats Strike First With TV Ads In Key Races

Several Iowa House Democratic candidates are up on TV this week, beating their Republican opponents to the punch in a reversal from the 2016 election. Four challenger candidates and one incumbent began airing ads on Tuesday on both broadcast and cable. More are expected to go up on TV soon. During the 2016 election, six Democratic House candidates aired TV ads on broadcast channels, with another two on cable channels only. Most of those were closer to the election. Better-funded campaigns should benefit Democrats’ efforts to retake the Iowa House this year. A couple of their most promising candidates were […]

A Democratic Iowa House Majority (Part 4): Blue-Collar Districts

For Starting Line’s fourth piece about important swing districts in the battle for the Iowa House, we look at three blue-collar seats spread around the state. Democrats are mostly on defense here, and they really can’t afford to lose much in their effort to pick up a net of 10 seats for the majority. Blue-Collar Districts: 2 Defend, 1 Pick-Up Opportunity When the Donald Trump phenomena hit Iowa, it hit hardest in many of the medium-sized blue-collar towns, especially along the Mississippi River. Other towns with large populations of white, working-class or lower-income Iowans (like Council Bluffs and Fort Dodge) […]

A Democratic Iowa House Majority (Part 3): Rural Exurb Districts

In the third in our series of looks at competitive Iowa House seats that could decide the majority, we focus on three districts that wrap around metro areas in Eastern Iowa. A variety of circumstances in each could provide Democrats chances to fill the final piece in their 51-seat majority. Rural Exurb Districts: 3 Pick-Up Opportunities There are several House districts around the state that straddle both sides of rural and suburban communities. None of Iowa’s metro areas have substantial amounts of the more traditional “exurban” areas that larger cities in America have, but these districts have at least one […]

A Democratic Iowa House Majority (Part 2): Eastern Iowa Suburbs

For the second in our series of in-depth looks at where the key Iowa House battlegrounds stand for November, we turn to suburban districts in the eastern part of the state. Iowa has seen similar trends to other parts of the country where suburban voters, who are typically college-educated and have higher incomes, are moving toward Democrats. The problem for Iowa Democrats, of course, is that we don’t have that many suburban areas in the state. The party will have to capture as many of these seats that are trending their way as possible to make up for the rural […]

A Democratic Iowa House Majority (Part 1): Des Moines Suburbs

For many Iowa Democrats, retaking the Iowa House majority is the top priority this year second only to the governor’s race. And if Governor Kim Reynolds is able to hold on to Terrace Hill, controlling one of the legislative chambers will be essential to halting Iowa’s descent into red-state status and further far-right policies. To win back the House, Democrats need to pick up a net of ten seats to get out of their current 59-41 minority. That’s no easy task even in a good year. The party has recruited a strong slate of candidates, many Republican incumbents opted for […]

Van De Krol Drops Out Of Senate Race

Democrats are back to the drawing board in Senate District 15. Taylor Van De Krol, nominated at a special convention two weeks ago to replace Senator Chaz Allen, withdrew his candidacy with the Secretary of State’s office earlier today, that office confirmed. UPDATE: A special nominating convention will be held next Wednesday at 7:00. UPDATE: Van De Krol released the following statement late this afternoon: “I am announcing today that I have withdrawn my name as the Democratic candidate in Senate District 15 for personal reasons. “I encourage the Democrats in Jasper County and eastern Polk County to move swiftly […]

Rick Bertrand Changes Mind, Runs For Reelection In Sioux City Seat

State Senator Rick Bertrand kicks off his third campaign for the Sioux City Iowa Senate seat by breaking a promise from his first: to not seek a third term. That old pledge went out the window today as Bertrand reversed course from earlier in the year and was confirmed as the party’s nominee at a special convention this evening. Bertrand passed on another run earlier in the year, holding out on a decision until just before the filing deadline to make things more difficult for the Republican leadership he had repeatedly clashed with. Republican Steven Stokes filed his paperwork to […]

Zach Nunn Enters SD 15 Race, Shakes Up Both House And Senate Map

State Representative Zach Nunn announced this morning he would leave his seat in the Iowa House to run for Senate District 15, recently vacated by Senator Chaz Allen. It turns a seat that was a safe Democratic hold just a few weeks ago into one where Republicans will likely have the upper hand. But it also gives Democrats a great new opportunity in capturing a House seat in their quest to flip that chamber – and could indicate Republicans are already worried it will. Nunn is a two-term legislator from House District 30, which covers Altoona, Bondurant, Mitchellville and the […]

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 […]

Taylor Van De Krol Wins Contested Convention For Senate District 15 Nod

Taylor Van De Krol, a 26-year-old Senate clerk, aide to Matt McCoy and former county party chair will be Democrats’ nominee for their must-hold Senate District 15 seat. Democratic central committee members from Jasper and Polk counties met this evening in Colfax, picking Van De Krol on the first ballot with 55% of the vote in a three-person field. Senator Chaz Allen surprised Iowa political watchers last month by announcing that he would not seek reelection to the swing district that covers Newton and Eastern Polk County. A popular former mayor, Allen was seen as a sure bet against Republican […]