Monday Power Ranking: 1st District – Democrats

Iowa’s 1st Congressional District is home to one of the most fascinating primaries in the country. With Rod Blum widely seen as the country’s most endangered Republican incumbent, Democrats are eager to retake Bruce Braley’s old seat. Here’s how we see the race shaping up right now: 1. Monica Vernon The second place finisher from 2014 and Jack Hatch’s running mate maintains her front-runner status for 2016, but just barely. Patel’s fundraising abilities won’t make this an easy race for Vernon. Fortunately for Vernon, she has the strong support of Emily’s List behind her – she was the first endorsed […]

Rumor Roundup: Ravi Patel’s Super PAC, Webb’s Loss, Adams In, Bertrand for Governor

We hear all kinds of interesting things here at Starting Line, and figured it was about time for another fun Rumor Roundup. Here’s the latest political chatter making its way around Iowa: Super PACs Coming in 1st District Primary All the cool kids these days are getting their own Super PACs. Starting Line hears that the initial stages of setting up a Super PAC for Ravi Patel, Democratic candidate in the 1st District, is underway. Jeff Link, Bruce Braley’s top strategist from the Senate campaign, is rumored to head up the effort. A number of firms in D.C. are reportedly […]

1st District Fundraising: Patel Leads, Vernon’s OK, Blum’s Lousy

The 1st quarter fundraising reports came out recently, and the race for Iowa’s 1st District continues to be one of the most interesting in the country. Let’s take a look at the numbers: Rod Blum Raised – Individuals: $49,043 Raised – PACs: $70,499 Raised – Candidate Loans: $500,000 Total: $620,512 Spent: $20,697 Cash on Hand: $644, 373 Let’s start with the incumbent. Freshman Congressman Rod Blum did himself no favors in dismissing the idea that he’s the most vulnerable Republican in the country. He raised an anemic $49,043 from individual donors, and another $70,499 from PACs, which included the likes […]

Former SNL Actor Gary Kroeger Enters Iowa’s 1st District Race

Gary Kroeger made it official last night: he is a candidate for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, set to face Monica Vernon, Ravi Patel and possibly Swati Dandekar for the Democratic nomination. He announced his campaign to a crowd of supporters in Cedar Falls last night. Kroeger is looking to position himself as the most progressive option in the race. “I am an unapologetic, lifelong progressive and a proud lifelong Democrat,” the father of two sons said in a release. “Many recognize the need for a new kind of leader in Washington yet rely on the same pool and the same […]

Ravi Patel Announces for Congress – Our Profile

Update: This morning Ravi Patel officially announced that he is a Democratic candidate for the 1st Congressional District. In a press release he calls himself a “pro-growth progressive” and says, “We need a fresh perspective, we need new leadership, and we need innovative thinkers who are genuinely interested in seeing our country succeed.” Below is our profile of him that we posted earlier this morning: For a 29-year-old, Ravi Patel is already a lot of things in life. He’s a successful businessman in the hotel world, a start-up entrepreneur, a first-generation American and an up-and-coming politician. It sounds like Patel […]

10 Iowa Democrats Who Can Lead the Party Back to Power

Iowa Democrats have reason for optimism as they look to the future, despite the terrible results from the 2014 election. A crop of inspiring leaders are looking for their moment on the bigger stage. Republicans like Terry Branstad and Chuck Grassley won’t be around in office forever, but even before they depart, multiple opportunities exist for Democrats to retake power in Iowa. The potential Democratic candidates include veterans, clean energy leaders, business entrepreneurs, and young people. Even though state Republicans boast about having a deeper bench of future candidates, Democrats certainly aren’t in a “Help us Liz Mathis, you’re our […]

Vernon’s In. Former SNL Actor and More May Join Race for Congress in IA-01

Less than three months after Rod Blum’s election to Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, Democrats are lining up to get another crack at the Democratic-leaning seat. Cedar Rapids businesswoman Monica Vernon announced her second bid on Thursday. Vernon enters the race in a much stronger position than she did last time, when she was a little-known city councilwoman facing questions about her past Republican affiliation. Her presence on the Democrats’ statewide ticket quieted that narrative, and it also introduced her to activists and donors around the state.