The Real Reason Why Iowa Republicans Keep Winning

Time and again this legislative session, Republicans passed legislation that supposedly polls very poorly with Iowa voters. And yet most political pundits predict that Kim Reynolds and the GOP ticket holds the upper hand heading into the 2018 election. A victory then by the new Reynolds and Adam Gregg team would solidify Republicans’ electoral stranglehold on the Hawkeye state where they control both U.S. Senate seats, three of four congressional districts and five of seven statewide offices. So why have Republicans been so successful here the last four campaign cycles, despite Iowa’s swing state reputation (former reputation after 2016, perhaps)? The answer is obviously many […]

Joni Ernst: “No Regrets” On VP Chance. Ah, But What If?

Under a blazing hot sun yesterday, Senator Joni Ernst drove into her annual Roast And Ride fundraiser with Vice President Mike Pence at her side. Both were on motorcycles. But had just a few political calculations gone differently last year, it might have been Ernst who wore an official vice presidential riding jacket. Last June and July, during the speculation over who Donald Trump would pick as his running mate, Ernst’s name came up often as being on Trump’s short list. There was chatter in some Republican circles that she was actually the favorite, so long as she wanted it. It’s […]

Maybe He’s Tired: Trump Postpones Cedar Rapids Rally

In very sad(!) news today, Donald Trump announced he will be cancelling his planned Thursday rally in Cedar Rapids, due to an “unforeseen change in President Trump’s schedule.” It will be rescheduled at a later date, possibly as soon as early in the following week. Some people were a little surprised when Trump scheduled a campaign rally in Iowa, just five months into his presidency. He’s held political events like these in a few other states since taking office, as it seems to rejuvenate the president, who loves events where he’s cheered on by thousands of supporters. Their purpose beyond that, however, […]

Where Are They Now: Recent Iowa Political Hires Round-Up

In the world of Iowa politics, people move around from job to job a lot. This is especially so in the months after an election, as former campaign staffers figure out their next move. It hasn’t been an easy transition for many Democratic operatives, as when all your candidates lose in an election, there’s not that many landing spots in government to go to. But plenty of talented, experienced political staffers and former candidates find new opportunities all the time. Here’s an update on some Iowa politicos that you might know, and where they’ve moved to in the last month […]

Ron Corbett Looks To Challenge Kim Reynolds For Iowa Governor

In a radio interview this morning with Simon Conway on WMT Radio, Republican Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett announced he will not seek reelection for mayor. Instead he is taking a very serious look at challenging Kim Reynolds for Iowa Governor in 2018. Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey declined to primary eventual-Governor Kim Reynolds for the Republican nomination shortly after the announcement that Terry Branstad would be nominated as President-Elect Donald Trump’s ambassador to China. That would make Reynolds the incumbent running for reelection in 2018, rather than a Lt. Governor seeking the office on her own. That situation makes a potential primary challenge […]

Bye Bye Branstad. Hello Governor Reynolds.

It’s official: Terry Branstad will be the next ambassador to China. Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the President Elect announced Branstad’s appointment at a fundraiser this morning. An official statement is expected later today, and there will likely be some sort of announcement or celebration of the move at Trump’s rally in Des Moines tomorrow. Branstad leaving the governorship for China will cause a massive sea change in Iowa politics. The longest-serving governor in American history, Branstad and his team wielded huge influence behind the scenes for Iowa Republicans for decades. His lasting popularity among Iowa voters allowed him […]

So, This Is Really How It’s Going To Be, Eh?

At this point nothing really surprises me anymore about Donald Trump, but that doesn’t make his actions any less shocking or disturbing. There were many theories just before and after the election about what kind of president Trump would become. Would he settle down, be surrounded by smart advisers and become a more traditional Republican president? Or would he govern as he campaigned, recklessly with little clear indication of any ideology other than an obsession with power, lurching from one self-created crisis to the next? I always figured it would be the latter, that what you see is what you get […]

Branstad To China? How It Would Impact Iowa Politics In 2018

As many predicted, Governor Terry Branstad has emerged as the top contender to be President-Elect Donald Trump’s ambassador to China. Branstad will meet with Trump in New York this week, and then appear with him at a “Thank You Tour” in Des Moines on Thursday. Were such an appointment to be made, it would cause a huge shake-up in Iowa’s typically stable politics. But would Branstad accept and how would it change the Iowa political landscape? First off, frankly, from a purely foreign policy perspective, Branstad would probably do a good job at it. He’s a longtime friend of Chinese […]

As Trump Goes Nuclear, Could His Iowa Backers Face Same Scrutiny?

There are two reasons state and local campaigns don’t typically engage in extremely personal attacks on political opponents: 1) The candidate or people running the campaign are decent-enough human beings to not bring up their opponent’s very personal failings, embarrassing moments or private life, and 2) It usually backfires. Now, as we all know, some times the desire to win will overcome that first reason. It is the second that keeps our Iowa politics from devolving into tabloid-style muck. Yes, Iowans are seeing a lot of very nasty stuff in TV ads right now, but it revolves mostly around policy differences or obscure […]

A Tale Of Two Reagan Dinners

Iowa Republicans’ twin Reagan Dinner fundraisers provided oddly perfect bookends to possibly the most volatile four-day stretch ever in American politics, encapsulating everything the beleaguered party experienced throughout it. The state party hosted their annual Reagan Dinner in Des Moines on Saturday night, while the Scott County Republicans held their own of the same name in Bettendorf on Tuesday night. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton headlined each. I attended both events. The Des Moines event, held in the upstairs ballroom at the Iowa Events Center, was a dimly-lit affair with red backdrops, a dark setting that matched the mood of the attendees and […]