Good News, Cory Booker! Des Moines Has A New Vegan Spot. Our Review.

There’s a new option for candidates with certain dietary choices (i.e., Cory Booker) in Des Moines: Dirt Burger, a vegan burger spot in the East Village. It’s a welcome addition to Des Moines’ diverse, ever-expanding restaurant scene, and here just in time for all the campaign staff and candidates who are coming in from out of state. Starting Line did a team lunch outing a few weeks back to try out their burgers and write up a review. The Restaurant Dirt Burger is located at 407 E. 5th Street in Des Moines’ East Village, and is open Sunday through Thursday, […]

What Should Iowa Politicos Be Thankful For This Year?

As we near the holiday season, there’s a lot for Iowa elected officials, candidates and activists to be thankful for. Some will look back at the year as the breakout moment of their political career. Most will just be happy when 2017 is finally over. Unless next year turns out to be worse. Which it probably will be. For now, let’s take a brief look at what various Iowa politicos should be thankful for as the year starts to come to close. Governor Kim Reynolds should be thankful for… Being Iowa’s governor in the age of Trump. Were it not […]

We Polled Troy Price’s Favorability Just For Kicks. Here’s What We Found

When putting together Starting Line’s poll, there were a number of suggestions of people outside of the gubernatorial and secretary of state race to test their favorability among likely primary-going Democrats. Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price’s name was one suggestion, to which I figured, hey, why not? Just how well does the Democratic base know their chair, and do they like him? The results were….. not that interesting. 66% of respondents said they hadn’t heard of Price. 18% had no opinion. 10% rated Price favorably, while 5% saw him unfavorably. I wouldn’t put too much stock into that unfavorable […]

Omaha, Please Elect Richie Rich So Des Moines Can Get An NFL Team

In the race to be the next economic powerhouse city of the Midwest, the future winner will be crowned by one decisive factor: whether Omaha or Des Moines lands an NFL team. Wait, what? That’s emerged as a key issue for Omaha’s increasingly ridiculous mayoral race, or at least for its most colorful candidate. Taylor Royal, a Donald Trump-loving, 27-year-old business grad being financed by himself and his rich father, has made attracting an NFL team to Omaha a central part of his campaign since last Fall. That’s gotten him some mocking national attention, and now he’s running ads on that and more […]

Aw, Yeah. Joe Biden Gets Fresh With Chuck Grassley’s Wife

How will we miss Vice President Joe Biden once his time in office soon ends? Let us count the ways. Top among them will certainly be the delightful “Uncle Joe” antics we see every other January at the Senate swearing-in ceremony. In his role as Vice President, Biden serves as the official President of the U.S. Senate. In theory he gets to cast a tie-breaking vote when the Senate is deadlocked 50-50, but in reality his main official duty is to swear in the newly-elected and re-elected senators every two years. And he sure does make the most of it. Whether […]

I Challenge Speaker Linda Upmeyer To One Million Debates

I am announcing today that I, Pat Rynard, am challenging Republican Speaker of the Iowa House Linda Upmeyer to one million debates between now and Election Day. Although I have not informed Speaker Upmeyer of this ahead of time, I will premptively call her out for shamefully avoiding these fair and reasonable debates. What is Speaker Upmeyer hiding? Is she afraid to confront the real issues in front of hardworking Iowa voters? Shameful, I say. Shameful. Now, does it make sense for a random Democratic-leaning writer to debate the Speaker of the House? Not really. Is holding one million debates between […]

How Trump-Loving Branstad Should Deliver His Condition Of The State

While Iowa Governor Terry Branstad remains officially neutral in the Iowa Caucus, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t spend a lot of time with the candidates and their families. This past week Branstad invited Donald Trump’s son along for his annual hunting fundraiser in Centerville. The business mogul’s son was all too eager to attend, and brought Branstad a gift: a camo “Make America Great Again” hat, which Branstad donned in a picture that made its rounds on the internet. We thought the hat actually looked pretty good on the Governor. So much so that maybe it’s time Terry Branstad take […]

The Christmas Gifts Voters Should Give Each Candidate

It’s almost Christmas and Starting Line is in the festive mood. The presidential candidates have worked long and hard this year, and perhaps it’s time for the voters to reward them with a gift for the holidays. But what to get each? They almost all are certain to end up on the naughty list for various misdeeds in 2015 (Trump’s done enough to land him there for at least three lifetimes), but that’s alright. Here’s our ideas of the best gifts voters could get each candidate: Have some ideas of your own? Leave them in the comments section or on […]

Photos: Iowa Republicans’ Spooky (And Silly) Halloween Costumes

Iowa Republicans got into the full spirit of Halloween this weekend, with a number of activists donning some creative and creepy outfits at two recent events. Rand Paul held a Halloween costume party in the back room of Buzzard Billy’s in Des Moines on Friday night, which ended up being perhaps the strangest Iowa Caucus event Starting Line has attended this year (and that’s saying something!). Then on Saturday the Republican Party of Iowa held their big Growth And Opportunity event at the State Fair. 10 candidates attended and all the campaigns decorated booths in the Halloween theme. Here’s our […]

We Review Ted Cruz’s Ridiculous Children’s Coloring Book

Few other presidential candidates’ campaign events are as stage-managed as Ted Cruz’s. Fancy backdrops, dozens of volunteers in matching t-shirts to welcome you, well-produced introductory videos and free pocket constitutions are present at nearly every Cruz event in Iowa. And the best piece of campaign chum you’ll find when you go see Cruz in person? The professional children’s coloring book produced by his campaign. Now, to be clear, I think having a coloring book to hand out to children is actually a good idea for candidates like Cruz who are appealing to the evangelical set. You see lots of families […]