Rizer, Miller, Baudler Retirements Shake Up Iowa House Map For 2018

A trio of retirements announced in the past several days could have a big impact on who controls the Iowa House after the 2018 elections. Open seats always create more competition, and the retirements of Ken Rizer, Helen Miller and Clel Baudler could turn districts with strong incumbents into key battle ground races. Rizer’s Marion-based district in the Cedar Rapids suburbs was already going to be a top-targeted campaign. His House District 68 was narrowly won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, 48% to 45%, and is the type of suburban seat Democrats believe may swing toward them in a good […]

Iowa House Clerk Arrested For A Drunk And Disorderly, Escorted From Capitol

The big lights of the Iowa Capitol aren’t for everyone, and each session one or two young clerks or pages invariably find a way to publicly embarrass themselves or get fired for something ridiculous. One Iowa House clerk made their exit from the state’s august debating chamber in style today, being forcibly removed from the Statehouse by four state troopers after showing up drunk – at 9:00 in the morning. But the 21-year-old female clerk didn’t leave without a fight. Multiple sources who witnessed all or part of the wild incident tell Starting Line that the clerk started the day […]

Which Legislative Candidates Stood Out In Fundraising Reports

The gubernatorial fundraising totals drew the big headlines from the January 19 fundraising deadline, but there was plenty of other interesting news in some of the legislative filings. Today, we’ll just look at the people challenging incumbents or running for open seats, most of whom are first-time candidates. Later in the week we’ll delve into the full fundraising reports for everyone. Democrats There were a number of surprises and strong performances among this group of candidates. Here’s who caught Starting Line’s eye. Zach Wahls: Senate District 37 (open seat) Total Raised: $54,090 Wahls, who came to national fame in 2011 […]

GOP Legislator Calls Out Party’s Water Quality Bill For What It Is, Attacks Leaders’ Integrity

Republican legislators and Governor Kim Reynolds were ready to congratulate themselves today for quick passage of a water quality bill they brought to the House floor this morning. After about 45 minutes of debate, the bill passed 59-41, but not before Representative Chip Baltimore delivered a scathing critique of the legislation’s merits and the process that got it there. “The Senate didn’t really care about water quality in the first place,” Baltimore said in a blistering six-minute speech. “This is indeed a recession in terms of policy. I don’t consider that to be leadership. To be perfectly blunt, the tactics […]

Democrats Have Strong Candidate Against OWI Republican Legislator

State Representative Chip Baltimore was removed from the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee this morning following his arrest last week for an OWI and weapons charge. Speaker Linda Upmeyer announced that Representative Zach Nunn will be taking over in his place. Baltimore, a Republican legislator from Boone County, was pulled over on Highway 30 in Ames around 3:30 a.m. on Friday after local police got calls of an erratic driver on I-35, the Ames Tribune reported. When Baltimore was stopped, police found he had a 0.147 blood alcohol level, nearly twice the legal limit to drive. He was also […]

Kristin Sunde Launches Campaign For Key West Des Moines House Seat

When Kristin Sunde and her husband Matt took care of two foster children in their West Des Moines home, they started to become concerned with what they saw in the complicated and sometimes-frustrating Department of Human Services system. The state’s Medicaid process presented problems, too – at one point the Sundes were on the hook for a $15,000 emergency room bill for one of those children that Medicaid wouldn’t pay at first. “Once we started fostering kids and saw what we saw, I told my husband I should really call [Senators] Janet Petersen or Matt McCoy and talk to them […]

After Big Spending, GOP’s Jacob Bossman Wins Sioux City Special Election

It took over $117,000 in spending for Republican Jacob Bossman to hold a house district that Donald Trump won by 30 points, but the Chuck Grassley staffer prevailed for his party by defeating Democrat Rita DeJong 55% to 44%. Still, Democrats improved by 19 points over their 2016 margin, giving hope that a 2018 blue wave could be coming for all but the most-Republican districts. If Republicans have to spend that much to defend a seat this favorable to them, many suburban and small-town seats could be in-play for Democratic pick-ups. When polls opened in Sioux City this morning, the […]

Republicans Pour $117,000+ Into Sioux City Special Election

Republicans are taking absolutely no chances in preventing a potentially demoralizing upset loss in this Tuesday’s special election in Sioux City. Newly released financial reports show that the Republican Party of Iowa has now pumped just over $117,000 in all into Chuck Grassley staffer Jacob Bossman’s campaign to replace Jim Carlin in the open House District 6 seat. Bossman faces retired school principal and Democrat Rita DeJong. Many Iowa politicos are watching this race closely after Democrats surprised by keeping a heavily-Republican district close in a senate special election last month. HD 6 was won by Donald Trump by 30 […]

How A GOP Legislator Distracts, Inflames In A Year Of Facebook Posts

A guest post from Matt Chapman, an activist from Dallas County, with an in-depth look at one Iowa Republican senator’s Facebook posts. It’s a long but interesting consideration of how legislators use their social media during the legislative session. Some politicians are embracing Facebook to reach out to constituents and some are not. Some home pages seem benign, and some manipulate and divide the electorate. While his district is to the west of mine, Jake Chapman’s Facebook page is ground zero for this kind of divisive politicking. Most of these posts were during the 2017 session and most of them […]

Compare Kim Reynolds’ Speech To Her Budget Proposal

Governor Kim Reynolds laid out her agenda for the 2018 legislative session this week, presenting a set of lofty goals that hit on topics that typically have bipartisan support. But as Joe Biden often said, “show me you budget and I’ll show you your priorities.” So, let’s take a look at the budget for Fiscal Year 2019 that Reynolds released after her speech and see how it lines up with her words. Overall, Reynolds’ budget is a $196 million increase over the revised 2018 budget, though it doesn’t appear to account for potential tax cuts that Republicans are intent on making. […]