2nd Democratic Debate Recap And Analysis

For a while on Saturday afternoon it looked like the Democratic debate might be lost to history as events in Paris overshadowed the day’s affairs. The mood on Drake University’s campus was somber, the campaigns scaled back their activities, much of the press was focused on Paris and there was just a lack of overall energy present. And then the debate started and we ended up getting a great, well-moderated, substantive and entertaining discussion where the candidates sharply argued their differences without getting too nasty. All three Democrats performed well Saturday night, with Martin O’Malley the most obviously improved of […]

Martin O’Malley Not Out Of It Yet As He Prepares For Next Phase

He hasn’t broken into the double-digits in state or national polls. He failed to ignite a spark after the first national Democratic debate or Iowa’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. He has yet to dominate a news cycle in the national media. But Martin O’Malley is holding his own in the fight for the nomination, and he should not be discounted out of the race just yet. “We are positioned better than any candidate in this race to beat expectations,” said O’Malley’s Iowa state director Jake Oeth in a conversation this week with Starting Line about their next steps. O’Malley and his staff […]

Big Debate Question: Will O’Malley Seize His Chance?

Tonight’s long-awaited first Democratic debate could serve as a pivotal moment in the fight for the nomination, and no one has more on the line than Martin O’Malley. After agitating for months for more debate opportunities, the first one has finally arrived for the little-known former Maryland Governor, his big opportunity to be seen by millions of Democrats. A good night for O’Malley could help him be seen as a legitimate contender by Democratic primary-goers; a bad night could spell the beginning of the end for his underdog campaign. O’Malley’s inability to rise above a few percentage points in any […]

Iowa’s Youngest Democratic County Party Chair Endorses O’Malley

Guest post from Taylor Van De Krol He brings excitement. He brings energy. He understands the importance of retail politics in the first in the nation caucuses. His detail-oriented, goal-driven, and actions-over-words mentality gives me confidence that he is the right choice. Our country needs a fresh face and a new vision. That’s why I’m supporting former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for President. At the age of 24, I am the youngest Democratic county chair in the state, less than half the age of the average chair. For more than four years, I have been politically active working for a […]

Key Takeaways From A Week Of Caucus Events

Starting Line has been out on the Iowa Caucus trail a lot recently, hitting up both Democratic and Republican events, mostly in central Iowa the last week and a half. There’s always something interesting to take out of each candidate’s visit, though oftentimes not enough to fill a full post (or I’m just too tired by the time I get home). So here’s a collection of observations and analysis of a number of caucus visits I’ve been to recently. (Also, if you’re not following me on Twitter, you’re missing out on about 50% of the reporting Starting Line does). Trump […]

Odds & Ends: O’Malley Bar Strategy, Sanders’ Coalition, Refugee Comments

After five days on the road with the top three Democratic presidential candidates, I’m back at home decompressing and sorting through all the interesting tidbits that didn’t make it into my main posts. Here’s some good odds and ends of what I saw out at eight Sanders events, four Clinton events and an O’Malley one: Martin O’Malley’s Policies and Pints Strategy For a candidate who has yet to break above 7% in an Iowa poll, O’Malley certainly continues to draw good crowds on the Iowa Caucus trail. Several of those nice turnouts have come in local Iowa bars, as the […]

Senator Rich Taylor Is Martin O’Malley’s First Iowa Legislator Endorsement

Update 9/8: The O’Malley campaign released a list of 17 Iowa endorsements the day after Labor Day, framing it as part of their entrance into a new phase of campaigning in the Iowa Caucus. A handful of these names were already known from a while ago (well, to me anyway), but there’s several important new ones. Senator Rich Taylor joins Representative Dan Kelley as his first two endorsers from the Iowa Legislature. Nathan Blake, an Assistant A.G., school board member and well-known Des Moines Democrat is now on board. So is Bev Strayhall, one of Eastern Iowa’s most important activists. […]

Caucus Campaign Scenes From Day 1 Of The Iowa State Fair

It’s the most fun eleven days of the political season: the Iowa State Fair during the Iowa Caucus! The campaign festivities got off to a great start on Thursday with three presidential candidates (and a former POTUS) making speeches, shaking hands and eating pork chops-on-a-stick. Mike Huckabee, Jim Webb and Martin O’Malley traversed the fairgrounds and gave their pitch to the crowd at the Des Moines Register’s Soapbox (you can watch all the speeches in their entirety at the Register). Here’s our fun takeaways from the day (which, as always, turned into a way longer post than it needed to): […]

Mental Health Closures Destroying Branstad Approval, New Poll Shows

PPP Polls released two extremely interesting Iowa-focused polls on Monday and Tuesday, taking a look both at the presidential race and Iowa issues. The first poll surveyed candidates’ favorables within their party and how they compare for the caucus. The second poll looked at potential matchups for the general, but also took a fascinating look at several Iowa politicians and issues. Here’s some key takeaways I noticed: Branstad Brand Badly Damaged It turns out kicking disabled Iowans out of their professionally-run care facilities is an unpopular thing to do. Who knew? Branstad’s overall approval numbers continue to nosedive after the […]

Jim Webb Shines, Lincoln Chafee Bombs At Labor Convention

Four of the five Democrats running for President spoke to an AFL-CIO convention at Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona, giving Iowa labor leaders a policy-focused look at their potential candidates. Richard Trumka, the national president of the AFL-CIO sat on a panel of four to quiz the White House hopefuls on working class issues. Only Hillary Clinton wasn’t able to make the event, denying a chance for labor to get her to commit one way or the other on $15/hour. The event was last Thursday, but with the GOP debate on immediately afterwards this post got delayed. We’ve written plenty […]