EMILY’s List Endorses Six Women In State Legislative Primaries

Photo: top, left to right: Molly Donahue, Lindsay James, Ann Fields. Bottom, left to right: Lori Egan, Janice Weiner, Mary Stewart. The influential pro-choice organization EMILY’s List is wading in to several state legislative primaries in Iowa. The national group announced this morning that they are endorsing six female candidates in local races: Molly Donahue (HD-68) Lori Egan (HD-56) Ann Fields (HD-28) Lindsay James (HD-99) Mary Stewart (SD-41) Janice Weiner (SD-37) Each race involves a Democratic primary (see our posts on the House and Senate primaries). Some are in highly competitive races, while others face relatively easy paths to the […]

The Republicans Most At Risk For Their Abortion Ban Vote

The 6-week abortion ban law that Republicans passed this week should get bogged down in the courts for years, but the political fallout from it will come much sooner. While some in the far-right evangelical community will be happy, most Iowans aren’t eager to see the state be known as the most restrictive in the country on women’s reproductive rights. And the further details of it – like forcing women to report a rape long before they may be comfortable doing so – could prove very politically damaging to those who voted for it. Governor Kim Reynolds’ signing of the […]

A Dark Day In Iowa

Shortly after 3:00 this afternoon, Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in Iowa. It is the most restrictive measure in the entire country. “It’s a big day in Iowa,” Reynolds said at the bill signing in her office, surrounded by young children, activists and legislators. “I believe that all innocent life is precious & sacred, and as governor, I have pledged to do everything in my power to protect it … This is about life, and I’m not going to back down.” The law will be scheduled to go into effect on […]

Veto It, Reynolds, And Finally Become Your Own Governor

Governor Kim Reynolds has until Saturday to decide whether to sign or veto Republicans’ 6-week abortion ban. There’s probably a 99% chance she signs it. But before it actually happens, let’s take a look at the potential political fallout – as well as her huge opportunity here – and consider how things could play out. (This will be about the political aspect of it – the policy and moral side is pretty clear.) Notably, Reynolds’ office has reiterated with reporters several times this week that she’s “pro-life,” but they conspicuously haven’t committed to signing it yet. Still, the most likely […]

What The 6-Week Abortion Ban Means To This Pregnant Iowan

This past weekend, my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief as we crossed the threshold of fetal viability: this is the point in gestation—23 weeks—at which a fetus can have a reasonable chance of surviving in a NICU should some series of complications lead to preterm labor. Of course, there is a reason a fetus gestates for forty weeks; if ours did make an arrival this week, we would likely be looking at a months-long NICU stay, an inconceivably large bill, untold stress, and the certainty of an uncertain future as far as the baby’s health is concerned. […]

Iowa House Primaries To Watch In 2018 – Democrats

Democrats have a good opportunity at retaking the Iowa House in the 2018 elections, but which candidates get the party’s nomination in competitive primaries could prove a key factor. There are a lot more legislative primaries than usual this year – 25 in all for the House. Part of that is due to all the retirements from Republican legislators (as well as a few Democrats). Part of it is thanks to newfound enthusiasm from both parties’ base. Democrats have a dozen primary contests, two of which are for open safe Democratic seats. I have a good handle on the dynamics of […]

Iowa Republicans Double Their Female Senators To… Two

Annette Sweeney won the special election tonight to replace former Senator Bill Dix, defeating Democrat Tracy Freese 56% to 44% in the heavily-Republican Senate District 25. She will be sworn into office in the near future, though it might not happen before the legislature adjourns for the year. Despite the Republican win, it was yet another special election in which Democrats outperformed their previous margins from 2016. Donald Trump carried this district by 26 points and registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats here by a two-to-one margin. Sweeney won it tonight by just 12 points, a 14-point swing in the margin […]

Iowa Senate Primaries To Watch In 2018

While most of the attention will be focused on the governor’s race and congressional primaries for the next two months, key match-ups for the Iowa Statehouse will be decided on June 5 as well. While many primaries for the Iowa House and Senate are lower profile affairs than the heavily-targeted swing district battles in the general election, they still decide who gets elected to the legislature. In many ways, that’s what make these races more interesting. Candidates running in primaries are largely on their own, competing without the party’s professional help except in very specific circumstances. You end up with […]

GOP Senator Waylon Brown’s Clerk Fired For Sexual Harassment

Yet another person in the Iowa Senate has lost their job over a sexual harassment matter. Senator Waylon Brown’s legislative clerk, Jake Dagel, was fired this week following a complaint made against him for sexual harassment. Secretary of the Senate Charlie Smithson confirmed the firing to Starting Line late this afternoon. “A credible complaint of sexual harassment was made,” Smithson said in an email. “Upon acknowledging the conduct in question, Mr. Dagel was immediately terminated under the Senate’s strict policy prohibiting harassment in the workplace.” Dagel clerked this year for Brown, who represents Senate District 26 in Northern Iowa and was […]

Why Some Dems Voted For The Farm Bureau Health Insurance Bill

When you look at the roll calls to see how many Democrats voted for SF 2349, it seems stunning that they voted for this flawed bill. But the answer lies in election year politics and the Republicans using their power to force Democrats to vote in a no-win situation while giving a big wet kiss to Farm Bureau and Wellmark. Earlier I wrote about Senator Liz Mathis asking new Senate Leader Senator Jack Whitver to add the language from HF 2462 to the Health and Human Services appropriation bill when it comes to the Senate floor for vote. This bill […]