Jeff Danielson Resigns From Iowa Senate, Opens Up Swing District

Democratic State Senator Jeff Danielson is resigning effective immediately from both the Iowa Senate and the Cedar Falls Fire Department, Starting Line has learned. That will trigger a special election for Danielson’s Cedar Falls-based Senate District 30 in the middle of this year’s legislative session and Iowa Caucus campaigning. “I would not be leaving the Senate if I were not leaving the firehouse,” Danielson told Starting Line this afternoon. “I’m forever thankful to the Cedar Valley and the citizens who have supported me in my service both at the firehouse for 25 years and in the Senate for the last […]

Key GOP Lawmaker Sounds Favorable On OTC Birth Control

Republican State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Dubuque County described Governor Kim Reynolds’ over-the-counter birth control proposal as a “good concept” this afternoon. Lundgren made a number of seemingly favorable comments on the legislation during a taping of ABC 5’s This Week In Iowa political show. “Republicans in the House and the Senate, we certainly want to limit abortion, and one good way to do it is to prevent pregnancy,” Lundgren said, while noting that she had only recently gotten the bill language. “I think the Governor’s initiative is to make sure there is access for women.” Lundgren is the chair of […]

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. […]