Iowa Democrats Fill 94% Of State Legislative Races

If Democrats needed one more sign of just how energized their voters are for the 2018 election, they got it on Friday evening at the end of candidate filings for Iowa state offices. Democratic candidates have stepped up to compete in 94% of all state legislative races, a major coup for the party who sees a potential blue wave year coming in November. They also have candidates in every statewide race, while Republicans left Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller and State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald without opponents. See the entire list here. It also improves significantly on past years’ performances, where many […]

Meet Tracy Freese, The Democrat Running For Bill Dix’s Vacant Seat

This wasn’t the election scenario Tracy Freese envisioned when she first launched her campaign to take on Bill Dix, but she’ll take it. A special election date of April 10 was just set yesterday by Governor Kim Reynolds to fill former Senate Majority Leader Dix’s seat in the Iowa Senate. It comes after the senator’s swift resignation on Monday once a video and article showing he was engaged in a romantic relationship with a lobbyist was published. Freese, a Democrat, told Starting Line she was inundated with phone calls shortly after the story broke. She was on a spring break […]

Republicans Look To Upend Home Rule On County Supervisor Districts

Guest post via Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Freise. The Iowa Senate is considering a bill that would force Iowa’s 10 most populous counties (and only those 10) to use districts to elect Supervisors.  Not only that, but supervisors would be elected only by the people in those districts, not by everyone in the county.  It’s called HF2372, and it’s a bad idea.  And I say this not just because I have a dog in this hunt. The numbers say I’d stand a pretty good chance if I were to run for re-election, with or without the districts (no decisions on […]

More Resignations And Mounting Fallout From Bill Dix Scandal

The consequences of now-former Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix’s relationship with a lobbyist did not end with just with his abrupt resignation. Ripple effects from the scandal that shook the Statehouse continue to be felt in the Capitol and beyond. Here’s what’s happening: Top Senate Aide Steps Down Ed Failor, the senior aide to former Senator Dix, announced late Tuesday afternoon that he was resigning from his position. He explained that he wanted the new Republican leader (who will be selected today) to be able to put together his own team in the office. Some members of the Republican caucus […]

Democrat Tracy Freese Will Have Head Start In Race To Replace Dix

Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix’s abrupt resignation from the Iowa Senate following Iowa Starting Line’s article sets up a hurry-up-and-win special election for his now-vacant seat. When vacancies occur during the legislative session, the governor must schedule the election “at the earliest practical time” and give at least 18 days notice. It’s likely the special election will be held in the first or second week in April. Democrat Tracy Freese, a small business owner from Grundy County, has been running since last year for what she originally thought would be a matchup with Dix. She announced yesterday afternoon that she […]

Senator Bill Dix Resigns Following Iowa Starting Line Article

Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix announced this afternoon that he was resigning both from his leadership position and from the Iowa Senate following this morning’s publication of a Starting Line article that showed him in what appeared to be a romantic relationship with a Statehouse lobbyist. Senate Republicans announced they would hold a vote for a new leader this Wednesday. Senators Jack Whitver, Randy Feenstra and Charles Schneider are rumored to be potential candidates. Dix had weathered previous controversies over his leadership and handling of the Kirsten Anderson sexual harassment reporting and trial, but today’s new controversies proved to […]

Video Appears To Show Bill Dix In Romantic Relationship With Lobbyist

A video recently obtained by Iowa Starting Line appears to show Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix in a romantic relationship with a Statehouse lobbyist while out at a Des Moines bar. The evening the two were together happened on Thursday, March 1 at Waveland Tap on University Avenue. The people who captured the moment on their camera phone say they recognized Dix from media reports, including those surrounding the Senate Republican sexual harassment trial and settlement. They observed Dix flirting with and occasionally kissing a younger woman at the bar in the evening. They are not affiliated with a campaign […]

Mark Chelgren Leaving Senate, Mariannette Miller-Meeks Announces Run

Democrats won’t have “Senator Sizzler” to kick around anymore. But Democrats’ chances of making up ground in the Iowa Senate also got a little harder today with Senator Mark Chelgren’s announcement that he wouldn’t run for reelection in 2018. Three-time congressional candidate, ophthalmologist and former state public health director Mariannette Miller-Meeks declared she would run instead. The handoff occurred this morning at the Wapello County Republican convention. Senate District 41, which covers Ottumwa, Fairfield and Davis and Van Buren counties, has been a top target for Democrats since Chelgren won the blue-collar district in an upset in 2010. Chelgren ousted […]

GOP’s Campus “Free Speech” Bill Actually Targets LGBTQ Students And More

Guest post via Keenan Crow of One Iowa “There’s something insidious about this bill,” warned Independent Senator David Johnson during the Senate floor debate on SF 2344, a bill which purports to be about free speech on Iowa’s college and university campuses. “I can read the lobbyist declarations for myself,” Johnson continued. “The Family Leader and Americans for Prosperity are for this bill. Those against it include the ACLU and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund. Think about this ladies and gentlemen, what is this really?” Iowa’s only independent Senator is unfortunately correct. While protecting free speech on campus is […]

You May Soon Be A Felon If You Lose An Injury Claim Against Your Employer

If you sue your employer after getting injured on the job and fail to win your case, you might end up as a felon under a fraud case thanks to the bill Senate Republicans passed last night. Senate File 2305, floor managed by Senator Jake Chapman of Adel, would create a new unit within the Iowa Insurance Division to prosecute workers compensation fraud. It also makes committing such fraud a felony – a Class C felony if its for a claim more than $10,000 and a Class D felony if its for a claim under $10,000. Workers would also have […]