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 […]

Senate GOP Seeks To Increase Majority With Female Candidates

Many political pundits are predicting that 2018 will be the “Year of the Woman” in the November election. A record number of women are on the ballot in Iowa for federal and state offices this year – 98 as of last week. And while most are Democrats, not all are. Iowa Senate Republicans have six female candidates in high-profile swing districts, which could significantly change the makeup of their caucus – they have only one female senator right now: Amy Sinclair. Four of the female Republican candidates are challenging incumbent Democrats in potential swing districts, while two are running to hold […]

Iowans Having To Sue For Basic Care; Mathis Proposes Medicaid Fix

After Senator Charles Schneider was sworn in as Senate President on March 15, Senator Liz Mathis took to the floor for a point of personal privilege. You can view her comments here at 9:15.10. It’s about five minutes. “Why should a man on Medicaid have to go to court to receive bowel care?” she asked. “I repeat, why should a man on Medicaid have to go to court to receive bowel care?” Senator Mathis then explained that a recent lawsuit was brought by a man who needed help with his bowel habits. Managed Care lowered his caretaker from seven days […]

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 […]