Iowa

So much Iowa, so little time
Snapshots of a state that will be a big deal politically for a while

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg talks with attendees at a campaign event in Fairfield, Iowa, on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — It is difficult for some people to accept that Iowa, a relatively small state in the middle of the country, has such an outsize role in determining the next president. But the Hawkeye State is more of a microcosm of U.S. politics and the country than it might first appear.

Iowa’s population of roughly 3 million people is tiny compared to mega-states like California, Texas and Florida, and it has a lack of racial diversity (it is about 87 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). But its voting patterns and political infrastructure make it a valuable barometer. 

Hinson on Republican Party and suburban women: ‘Words matter’

Ashley Hinson works the grill at the Iowa State Fair. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Ashley Hinson thinks she can bridge the divide between the Republican Party and suburban women. “I am one,” she said.

Iowa culture shock: Moving to the Midwest to staff a presidential campaign
Getting to know Hy-Vee supermarkets and Kum & Go gas stations

Democratic presidential candidate former Rep. John Delaney speaks at the Iowa State Fair on Friday August 9, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

See the Iowa Caucuses early on Aug. 30!
Iowa Cubs baseball team renames itself after home-state political process

The Iowa Cubs will rename themselves the Iowa Caucuses for their Aug. 30 game against the Memphis Redbirds. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — If you just cannot wait until Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 3, 2020, then consider visiting here on Aug. 30, when Minor League Baseball’s Iowa Cubs rebrand themselves for the night as, yes, the Iowa Caucuses. 

“I absolutely love it,” said David Redlawsk, chairman of the political science department at the University of Delaware and author of “Why Iowa?: How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process.”

The Iowa State Fair: Our hits, misses and lessons learned
Political Theater, Episode 88

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, says a quick hello to her son, Gunnar, as he works at a corn dog booth at the Iowa State Fair on Monday August 12, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — For all its quaintness and fun, the Iowa State Fair does a pretty good job of approximating politics at the national level, be it questions about electability and charisma or trade and agricultural policy.

“The debate within the party that is happening right now, is happening right in front of me at the Iowa State Fair between these two people,” CQ Roll Call senior politics writer Bridget Bowman says, recounting a conversation between a couple after hearing South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg speak at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox on Aug. 13. The couple, both of whom told Bridget they were impressed with Buttigieg, were torn between what was more important for a Democratic candidate: offering bold ideas or being more likely to beat President Donald Trump.

Democrats go on defense in crucial heartland House race in Iowa
GOP has sights on Iowa’s 2nd District, which backed Trump in 2016

Former Iowa state Sen. Rita Hart is running for the Democratic nomination for Iowa’s 2nd District after Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack opted against reelection. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

WHEATLAND, Iowa — Republicans sense an opportunity in the rolling corn and soybean fields in southeastern Iowa. But Democrats won’t be giving up their hold on this heartland district without a fight.

Republicans’ path to the House majority runs through the 31 Democrat-held districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. And one of them, Iowa’s 2nd District, ranks among the GOP’s best pickup opportunities next year because it’s the only one of the 31 without an incumbent defending the seat.

Hickenlooper says he’ll give ‘serious thought’ to Senate run after dropping presidential bid
Colorado and national Democrats see former governor as best chance to capture Gardner’s seat

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, shown in Iowa on Saturday, announced Thursday he is ending his bid for the presidency. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ended his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, and said he will consider a run against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in a battleground state Democrats need to win to take control of the upper chamber.

“People want to know what comes next for me,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.”

The Iowa State Fair: Why do you have to come here to be president?
Political Theater, Episode 87

Iowa State Fair mascots walk by the Administration Building at the Iowa State Fair on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa plays a big role in presidential politics because of its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Even by that standard, though, the Hawkeye State this time feels busier, more significant.

There are more than 20 Democrats running for president, and unlike in previous years, no one is writing the state off. There are also several competitive congressional races here. That means a very busy Iowa State Fair, because all these politicians want to meet voters, make their case at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, flip pork chops at the pork tent and eat.

Former Iowa governor: Take rural voters seriously
Ex-USDA secretary helped 2020 Democrats shape their rural policies

Livestock in the agriculture building at the Iowa State Fair. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack helped devise a handful of Democratic presidential candidates’ rural platforms, including those of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden, as part of his effort to boost Democrats’ appeal to rural voters.

New calls for Rep. Steve King to resign in wake of graphic comment about rape and incest
Liz Cheney, No. 3 House Republican, joins Democrats in calling on Iowa congressman to stand down

Iowa Rep. Steve King is facing renewed calls to resign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowa Rep. Steve King is facing new calls to resign in the wake of his latest inflammatory remarks — this time for saying humanity might not exist were it not for rape and incest.

Speaking before the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, the Republican congressman made the comment while defending his opposition to exceptions for rape and incest in anti-abortion legislation, The Des Moines Register reported