A Long Legislative Session Ahead For Nate Boulton

State Senator Nate Boulton won’t have a lot to do this legislative session after being named to no committee spots this week, and it doesn’t really get any better for him from there. Boulton was left off Senate Democrats’ committee assignments for the 2019 session as part of the ongoing fallout from allegations of sexual misconduct that drove him from the gubernatorial race. “I will defer making any committee assignments for Senator Boulton until the Senate Ethics Committee completes its ongoing investigation into the complaint filed against him,” Senate Democrats Leader Janet Petersen said in a statement. Petersen had called […]

Dems Score First Legal Victory In Getting Winneshiek Absentee Ballots Counted

Democratic candidate Kayla Koether has won an important first step in the legal battle to get 33 absentee ballots counted in the House District 55 race, an election where she trails Republican Representative Michael Bergan by nine votes after last week’s recount. This morning a judge ordered the Winneshiek County Auditor to take the ballots in question to the Waterloo Post Office to have their barcodes scanned. The 33 ballots arrived at the auditor’s office after the election with no postmark, and Auditor Ben Steines refused to count them. The Secretary of State’s office backed up that decision. However, an […]

Post-Election Soap Opera Unfolds In Warren County “Hit Piece”

Several Iowa Republicans are facing a serious ethics investigation after a participant in their self-described “hit piece” against Representative Scott Ourth ratted them out to the Iowa Ethics Board. The case revolves around Republican candidate Rebel Snodgrass, his volunteers and former Democratic Representative Dan Kelley’s involvement in a slanderous mailer sent to households in Warren County. Late this week, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board gave its director, Megan Tooker, subpoena power to launch a full investigation into the actions of Kelley and Snodgrass’ campaign. At issue is who and which committee actually paid for the anti-Ourth mailer. A […]

Todd Prichard Elected Leader Of Iowa House Democrats

House Democrats elected Todd Prichard as their new minority leader this afternoon. The Democratic legislators gathered in Des Moines at the Statehouse for their post-election caucus, choosing their new leadership group for the next session after Mark Smith decided to not run for reelection for the party’s top spot in the House. Democrats also elected Jo Oldson of Des Moines as the Minority Whip, a new position they hadn’t had in recent years. The new assistant leaders are Wes Breckenridge, John Forbes, Brian Meyer and Sharon Steckman. “House Democrats are ready to get to work in January to improve the […]

House Democrats Get It

According to a report in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Todd Prichard is on track to be the next leader for the Iowa House Democrats. That’s a very good thing. Democrats in Iowa face a lot of challenges as they head into another two years of all-Republican control of state government. The party made important gains in last week’s elections by turning the suburbs blue, increasing base turnout, flipping two congressional seats, winning the State Auditor race and capturing some new state legislative districts. But two big sticking points remain for Democrats in their quests for top-of-ticket statewide wins and legislative […]

Iowa Exit Poll Has Warning Signs For GOP Legislation

The recent 2018 election failed to end the Republicans trifecta lock on Iowa government. Democrats picked up several house seats, but remaining in the minority makes it extremely difficult to pass any progressive legislation in the next two years. Republicans will continue to control the legislative agenda. However, a 2018 exit poll suggests there are issues Democrats may be able to leverage based on voters’ answers on a variety of questions. The results of the poll suggest Iowa voters hold views much more in line with Democrats than Republicans. It validates Iowa voters support for many progressive policies even though […]

Mark Smith Won’t Seek Reelection As House Dem Leader

Representative Mark Smith will not seek another term as House Minority Leader, Starting Line has learned from multiple Democratic sources. He announced his decision yesterday in an email to fellow Democratic House members. It’s an unexpected changing of the guard after Democrats picked up a net gain of five or six seats on Tuesday, one of the state party’s bright spots from the evening. Final ballots or a recount may yet determine the outcome of Decorah’s HD 55. Smith has faced challenges from within his caucus in past years, but House Democrats’ wins this cycle were generally seen as a […]

Smear Campaign Backfires On Anna Bergman

The House District 44 candidate forum on October 11th between candidates Democrat Kenan Judge and Republican Anna Bergman was a policy-based discussion that was civil and informative. Before the forum, the Bergman and Judge campaigns talked policy. But the second the forum was over, Anna Bergman posted an attack ad against her opponent on social media and broadcast TV. There would be no chance to confront Anna Bergman on the allegations in person with no events left before the election. It was a dishonest style of gutter politics that, at best, only makes folks angry on all sides of issues. […]

Last-Minute Spending Shifts In Battleground Legislative Races

The final finance reports for Iowa races were released on Friday, and spending from both parties point to a changing battleground map for control of the Iowa Statehouse. Democrats are now targeting several extra suburban races that were not on the targeted list before, while Republicans are dumping money into some of their incumbent seats that were previously regarded as safe holds. Let’s go through those spending numbers to see which have been the most expensive races in the state and where things moved around in the final weeks. To do that, I’m just going to focus on the “in-kind” […]

Meet The 29-Year-Old Farm Girl Who Could Flip The Iowa House

As Democrats look to rebound in Iowa in 2018, one of their toughest tasks is winning back the rural voters that abandoned them for Donald Trump two years ago. Taking back the Iowa Legislature all but requires it, as several key swing districts are mostly rural. To accomplish that on the local level, the party needed legislative candidates that came off as small-town authentic and knowledgable about agriculture. Kayla Koether, the Democratic nominee in the Decorah-based House District 55, has all those attributes and more, and is running one of the more interesting campaigns in the state at age 29. […]