Iowa Sees Largest Drop In Energy Rating After Gary Carlson’s Bill

Iowa’s national role as a leader in clean energy took a major hit thanks to a Republican-passed bill (SF 2311) in 2018. State Representative Gary Carlson spearheaded the effort, and Governor Reynolds signed it into law this past May. The bill cripples Iowa’s 28-year history of energy efficiency programs with massive cuts. It also allows municipal utilities to penalize solar-generating customers. The new law cuts funds dedicated to rebates for energy efficiency appliances, retrofitting homes and energy efficiency initiatives by as much as two-thirds. The bill caps contributions at 2 percent of a customer’s electric or natural gas bill. The […]

Jack Whitver Is In Trouble

Republicans may yet lose two senate majority leaders in the same year. That’s seems to be the goal of the Senate Democrats as the party launched a massive ad blitz today to take down Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver in his Ankeny district. Amber Gustafson, a gun safety leader and community volunteer, debuted her first TV ad with a significant amount of funds behind it. Data in the public record shows her spending a combined $113,030 on KCCI and WHO-TV, accounting for 279 spots, for the final three weeks of the campaign. That will keep first-time candidate Gustafson competing nearly neck-and-neck […]

Rick Bertrand Denounced Bill Dix, But Bertrand Was Part Of The Problem

Sioux City Senator Rick Bertrand talked a big game in criticizing former Majority Leader Bill Dix’s handling of sexual harassment in the Iowa Senate, but it turns out Bertrand was part of the problem. That’s what was revealed in yesterday’s in-depth Des Moines Register article about the culture of sexual harassment at the Capitol. The investigation unearthed new details about Bertrand’s personal behavior in the Senate, most notably that he made a sexual overture about the top Republican staffer’s wife. “He one night said it was bath night at his apartment, was it okay if he invited my wife?” Ed […]

Look Out: Data Shows Democrats Eager To Vote In Key Swing Districts

Iowans have started voting as we head into the final weeks of the 2018 election, and campaign staff and volunteer work is paying off in many important legislative swing districts. A look at the early vote data shows high percentages of registered Democrats requesting absentee ballots in a host of top-targeted battleground seats. Interestingly, the top areas in the state for Democratic absentee requests are a mix of urban, suburban, blue collar and rural regions. The only common denominator is the important local races. Let’s take a look at the Secretary of State’s early vote data that was put out […]

Eric Swalwell Gets Some Free TV Time In Iowa

Another potential 2020 Democratic contender is appearing in Iowa TV ads over a year out from the Iowa Caucus, though he’s not having to pay for them. Iowa Senate Republicans have decided to use Congressman Eric Swalwell of California as their new boogeyman in local legislative races. Their latest TV ad is attacking Democratic state senate candidate Vicky Brenner for hosting a fundraiser with Swalwell, then links her to policies they claim he supports. Swalwell has travelled extensively across Iowa to help down-ballot Democrats as part of his preparation for a potential presidential run. “She brought in liberal San Francisco […]

Louie Zumbach Just Making Stuff Up In His Reelection Campaign

Stretching the truth in political ads is pretty run of the mill in today’s campaigns, but State Representative Louie Zumbach of Coggon takes the tactic to an utterly absurd level in his latest mailer. In a direct mail piece that voters in House District 95 (rural Linn County) received recently, the one-term Republican incumbent pitches his policies as “Moving Iowa Forward.” He also warns that his Democratic opponent, Christian Andrews, would do quite the opposite and “would move Iowa backwards.” Zumbach lists three scary-sounding things next to Andrews’ photo: Over $2 billion in new spending A broken state budget Higher […]

Statehouse TV Spending Shows Where GOP Is Worried

The battle for control of the Iowa Statehouse is fully underway on the TV airwaves across the state. And who’s spending money where gives us a very good hint of what each party is seeing in their internal polls. House Democrats and Senate Republicans began running positive ads in a number of districts two weeks ago, with House Republicans joining the fray last week. It sounds like a fresh round of ads are now going negative on Senate Democrats. Some campaigns have already reserved ads through the election. Let’s take a quick look at which candidates are on TV right […]

Senate Republicans Launch TV Ads; Here’s What They’re Saying

Iowa Senate Republicans launched their first wave of TV ads this Tuesday in six districts, five of which are pick-up targets for them. The move seems aimed at keeping Democrats on defense this year, despite Republicans already holding a 29 – 20 advantage in the Senate. Broadening that majority any further could keep the chamber in their hands for several campaign cycles, even if Fred Hubbell retakes the governor’s mansion. Republicans may be the only ones on the air in many of the battleground senate districts depending on how much funds Senate Democrats have been able to raise. House Democrats […]

Iowa House Democrats Strike First With TV Ads In Key Races

Several Iowa House Democratic candidates are up on TV this week, beating their Republican opponents to the punch in a reversal from the 2016 election. Four challenger candidates and one incumbent began airing ads on Tuesday on both broadcast and cable. More are expected to go up on TV soon. Senate Republicans also unveiled their first TV ads, which we cover in this post. During the 2016 election, six Democratic House candidates aired TV ads on broadcast channels, with another two on cable channels only. Most of those were closer to the election. Better-funded campaigns should benefit Democrats’ efforts to […]

A Democratic Iowa House Majority (Part 4): Blue-Collar Districts

For Starting Line’s fourth piece about important swing districts in the battle for the Iowa House, we look at three blue-collar seats spread around the state. Democrats are mostly on defense here, and they really can’t afford to lose much in their effort to pick up a net of 10 seats for the majority. Blue-Collar Districts: 2 Defend, 1 Pick-Up Opportunity When the Donald Trump phenomena hit Iowa, it hit hardest in many of the medium-sized blue-collar towns, especially along the Mississippi River. Other towns with large populations of white, working-class or lower-income Iowans (like Council Bluffs and Fort Dodge) […]