2016 Elections

John Pemble/IPR

Democrats in the Iowa Senate who stood in the way of gun rights bills are now facing opposition for re-election in several districts around the state.  

The Iowa Firearms Coalition is working to defeat the incumbents, in hopes of achieving a Republican majority in the Senate.

Last year the Republican-controlled House approved bills to protect the confidentiality of gun permit holders, and to eliminate age restrictions for children handling guns with adult supervision.    In 2015 a wide-ranging gun bill would have eliminated background checks for private handgun sales.

The Procrastinator's Politics - Ep.4

Oct 31, 2016

The spookiest, most chilling story of the year thus far? How about this entire election season? This episode starts with a "horrifying" tale that's too scary for the campfire, but just terrifying enough for the 24-hour news cycle. If you haven't voted yet, catch up on our election coverage: We'll talk the third congressional district race and hear from U.S. Senate Independent Candidate, Michael Luick-Thrams. 

Episode 4: 

Michael Leland/IPR

As Iowans prepare to cast their ballots next week, the race is on for control of the Iowa Senate where Democrats have a slim 26-24 majority.    If Republicans take enough seats to win the majority,   it will mean the GOP will be in charge of both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office for the first time since the 1996 election.   Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kauffman says the two parties are competing hard in competitive districts across the state.

Amy Mayer/IPR

Iowa's 4th Congressional District covers 39 counties, from the northwest corner through much of north-central part of the state. It's the largest and most conservative district--38 percent of registered voters are Republicans.

That hasn't deterred Democrat Kim Weaver from launching a campaign to unseat seven-term incumbent Steve King.

In fact, it has attracted the attention of some out-of-state politicians. At an event in Ames, Congressman Eric Swalwell, (D-Calif.) who was born in the district, came through to campaign for Weaver.

Pat Blank/IPR

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told a large crowd of supporters in a Cedar Rapids amphitheater last night that he was happy to hear that the FBI is reviewing newly-discovered emails related to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s private server. 

“The biggest political scandal since Watergate, and it’s everybody’s hope that justice, at last, can be delivered,”   Trump told a crowd packed into a downtown riverfront amphitheater.

Clay Masters

Carl Bernstein is a name many remember from the Watergate era of the 1970s. On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist on the life of Hillary Clinton.

A Woman in Charge is the title of the book from 2007 that Carl Bernstein wrote about Clinton’s life, from her upbringing in Illinois to the U.S. Senate and the White House. 

John Pemble / IPR

A year before the Iowa caucuses, hundreds of journalists come here to cover the many presidential candidates. This month, a Los Angeles crew is in Iowa filming six 30 minute episodes of a comedy television series about being a reporter during the campaign season.  “Embeds” centers around four young reporters covering a presidential candidate struggling to stay in the race.  

nshepard / Flickr

On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with two Iowa voters who we've been checking in with since the Iowa Caucuses now that we're just a few weeks away from Election Day 2016. During this hour, we also digests this week's political news with analysts Hans Hassell of Cornell College and Justin Holmes of the University of Northern Iowa.

Photo by Amy Mayer / Iowa Public Radio

Food and farming are not high on list of issues voters consider important this election season. In fact, neither issue even registers on the most recent Pew poll. Agricultural policy, however, is strongly connected to a number of significant voter concerns like healthcare, immigration, and the economy.

No more putting it off!

How do you take breaks from the constant election newscycle? On this edition of the Procrastinator's Politics, we talk with some folks on the streets of Iowa City about the ways they avoid endless discussions about Trump's twitter feed. We'll also catch you up on the political coverage you need to hear, about the second congressional district race and our interview with the Democrat running for U.S. Senate, Patty Judge.

Episode 3:

Joyce Russell/IPR

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is speaking out against the reported behavior of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump toward women over the years. 

But she predicts that when Iowa voters go to the polls next month they will focus on other issues.      

At the Branstad administration’s weekly news conference, Reynolds was asked about reports of sexual harassment and assault against Trump.

Elizabeth Kimmel / The Gazette

While the unprecedented nature of the 2016 election has given politicos plenty of fodder for conversation, it also could change the script for how our political system moves forward. With many members of the Republican party disavowing their presidential candidate, how the GOP will move forward after this election remains to be seen. An even larger question is how the United States's political process will move forward if Republican nominee Donald Trump follows through on threats to reject the results of the election.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is expecting early voting totals to be about the same as in past presidential elections, about 43-percent of Iowans voting before Election Day.

But Pate says he’s especially interested in the turn-out and voting preferences of millennial voters. 

Photo by Clay Masters

In the weeks leading up to the elections, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has been spouting claims that the U.S. election system is rigged.

Drake University’s Dennis Goldford, professor and chair of the political science department and Flansburg Fellow for the Harkin Institute, says Trump's rhetoric is not only wrong, but it’s also “dangerously inflammatory.”  

Trump: John Pemble/IPR file photo, Clinton: Clay Masters/IPR file photo

While the third and final presidential debate set for Wednesday evening will surely be marked by the candidates' disagreements, a forum debating their positions on food and farm issues Wednesday morning was notable for showcasing where the nominees agree.

Michael Leland/IPR

Farmers in northeast Iowa are destroying several thousand acres of corn and soybeans in fields flooded by torrential September rains. Most of the corn and soybeans in those fields will be destroyed this fall to prevent the seeds from sprouting next spring.

Brian Lang, a Decorah-based Iowa State University Extension Agronomist, estimates ten-thousand crop acres were under water a month ago.

Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

The race for Congress in Iowa’s 2nd District pits the lone Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation against a Republican challenger, who until recently aligned with the Libertarian Party. It’s a contest in which both candidates are viewed as moderates.

No more putting it off! Here's a study method to help you prepare: candidate arithmetic.  It's a quick, simple way to get to the facts. 

Join us weekly until the election. 

Episode 2:

Jon Pemble/IPR file

The heads of both Iowa’s Republican and Democratic parties say they’re not concerned about party unity. That’s in spite of the fact both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the least-liked presidential candidates in the history of U.S. polling.

On the Republican side of the aisle, scores of prominent GOPers are refusing to support or defend Trump. This include several Iowa state lawmakers.

But chair Jeff Kaufmann says some of these un-endorsements are politically motivated.   

Phil Roeder / Flickr

Religious voters have become increasingly divided this election season, with a survey this Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute showing White Catholics favoring Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 46 to 42 percent. Conversely, Evangelicals have stayed steady in their support of Trump: in that same survey there was no significant change in White Evangelical Protestants support for Trump, with 65 percent of them still supporting the Republican nominee.

John Pemble

"The shackles have been taken off me, and I can now fight for America the way I want to,"  Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday. In an O'Reilly Factor interview, Trump also said he doesn't need establishment support to win the election.

Clay Masters/IPR

Former President Bill Clinton kicked off a bus tour in Iowa today, encouraging voters to vote early for his wife, Hillary Clinton. Early voting began in the state last month.

The rally at Simpson College began with U.S. Agriculture Secretary and Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack listing Midwest Republicans who have distanced themselves from their presidential nominee.

“There are senators from Nebraska and from South Dakota that have disavowed Donald Trump but unfortunately and tragically not the senators from Iowa,” he said.

Blum and Vernon campaign photos

Iowa’s 1st Congressional District covers 20 counties in the northeast part of the state and includes the cities of Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, and Waterloo.

One of the things that sets it apart from the other three districts is that roughly 37 percent of the voters have identified as no-party.

Chris Larimer is a political science professor at the University of Northern Iowa. He says there are other factors that make the First District different.

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton face off in the second presidential debate Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate.

Clay Masters/IPR

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders campaigned at Drake University in Des Moines today on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I’m here to say vote for Hillary Clinton on Election Day and the day after that we’re going to roll up our sleeves and make sure that we bring forth the most progressive agenda in the history of the United States of America,” Sanders said.

Sanders did well with young voters in last February’s Iowa caucuses, and narrowly lost to Clinton.  That group has been a crucial voting bloc for Democrats in past presidential elections. 

Ben Kieffer

Last night, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence squared off in the only vice presidential debate of the 2016 election.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with analysts Steffen Schmidt of Iowa State University and Jeff Taylor of Dordt College in Sioux Center. They discuss their view of last night’s debate, the state of the presidential race, and why they think a large majority of Evangelicals support Trump, while polls show Catholics overwhelmingly favor Clinton.

Photo of Tim Kaine: Amy Mayer, Photo of Mike Pence: Gage Skidmore

Tonight, Indiana Governor Mike Pence debates U.S. Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia in this election’s only vice-presidential debate. Tim Walch, presidential historian and retired director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, points out that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the inception of vice-presidential debates, and he explains how those past events have likely affected what to expect this evening.

“First of all, don’t screw up,” Walch says.

Courtesy of Charles Aldrich

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Charles Aldrich. Aldrich would like to see an end to foreign aid, a complete withdraw of U.S. troops overseas, and an end to the contract with the Federal Reserve. In this interview, he also discusses his views on federal drug policy and NSA surveillance.

John Pemble

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, as the senator faces an election for what could be his seventh term in the Senate.

This week, Congress overwhelmingly rejected President Obama's veto of legislation allowing relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.

Clay Masters / IPR

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaigned in Iowa Des Moines today, the same day early voting for the November election began in Iowa, and a day after her main opponent, Republican Donald Trump, campaigned in Council Bluffs.

Clinton spoke to hundreds of supporters on at Cowles Commons plaza in downtown Des Moines, asking them if they were ready to go to the polls.

“Well, luckily in Iowa you can start today, lots of folks don’t have that opportunity across the country,” she said.

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