2018 Election

The 2018 Midterm Election is November 6th. IPR is providing coverage of the candidates for public office, and will be providing live results coverage on election night. 

This year's ballot includes Governor, Attorney General, Scretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor, Secretary of Agriculture, the four Congressional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, all 100 seats of the Iowa House of Representatives, and 25 of the 50 seats in the Iowa Senate. 

Currently, Iowa has a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both the Iowa House and Senate. 

Republican Steve King has represented Iowa in Congress for eight terms. In the upcoming election, he faces democratic challenger J.D. Scholten. Will the predicted midterm blue wave affect Iowa's fourth district? 

During the second half of this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with political analysts Valerie Hennings, associate professor of political science at Morningside College and Dave Andersen, assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University about Iowa's 4th district. 

david young and cindy axne
John Pemble/IPR file

Two candidates running for Congress in Iowa’s competitive 3rd District debated a wide range of topics Thursday night in Johnston.

Republican Congressman David Young of Van Meter has been campaigning on what he says is his record of protecting people with preexisting medical conditions during his two terms in the U.S. House.

Democrat Cindy Axne of West Des Moines doesn’t see it that way.

Rodney White/Des Moines Register

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell took questions on a wide range of issues in their first debate Wednesday, sponsored by KCCI-TV and the Des Moines Register.    They weren’t shy about challenging each other’s positions and moderators had some trouble keeping the crowd out of the debate.   

Excitement ran high outside the debate venue on the Ankeny Campus of Des Moines Area Community College, where competing crowds chanted in favor of Hubbell and Reynolds.     James Stauch of West Des Moines had this advice for the Democratic challenger.

Clay Masters/IPR

President Donald Trump was in Council Bluffs Tuesday night to announce a regulatory change that would lift a ban on selling an ethanol-gasoline blend during the summer months. Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency prohibits the sale of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol, commonly called E15, during the summer months.

“My administration is protecting ethanol,” Trump told the crowd gathered at the Mid America Center. “Today we are unleashing the power of E15 to power our country all year long.”

John Pemble /IPR

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds is making the case she should be elected to her job for the first time in November. She took over when former Gov. Terry Branstad left office to be U.S. Ambassador to China in 2017. Reynolds, 59, served as Branstad’s Lt. Governor since he was voted back into office in 2010.

A recent Iowa poll shows Reynolds in a close race for the governor’s office against Democrat and retired businessman Fred Hubbell. Hubbell, 67, says a larger-than-expected budget surplus of $127 million shows Reynolds is doing a poor job of managing the budget.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell has been critical of the state’s budgeting practices under Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. Hubbell, a 67-year-old retired businessman, says recent figures from the state revenue estimating conference are an indication of fiscal mismanagement. The $127 million surplus was larger than budget officials expected.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Melissa Gesing is the new executive director of 50-50 in 2020, a non-partisan organization with the goal of having an equal number of women and men holding office by the end of the decade.

mary mosiman
John Pemble/IPR file

A legal question has become central to this year’s unusually high-profile race for state auditor: does the elected auditor have to be a certified public accountant (CPA) for the auditor’s office to issue financial audits?

There doesn’t seem to be a simple answer.

When she was campaigning at the Iowa State Fair, State Auditor Mary Mosiman, a Republican, said she’s the only CPA running for auditor this year, and that makes a difference.

Thomas Hawk via flickr creative commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/14471621099/

A political advocacy group is banking on a digital ad campaign to get young Iowans to the polls. 

John Pemble/IPR

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jake Porter was not invited to participate in the three debates between Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell. Porter says it’s too bad because he would’ve added to the conversation.

“We would talk about things that may get ignored now like criminal justice reform (and) things that often aren’t talked about,” Porter says. “Also, different ideas for the budget."

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board today threw out ethics complaints against Gov. Kim Reynolds for accepting gifts of free flights on private jets, including a trip to a bowl game in Memphis last year.   

Since May of 2017, in nine instances the Reynolds campaign traveled on private planes. and reported it as in-kind campaign contributions.     

Board Chairman James Albert questioned the board’s attorney Megan Tooker about precedent for such free travel.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

There’s a close race for governor in the state right now between incumbent Republican Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell. With less than two months before the election, IPR Morning Edition Host Clay Masters dicsusses the status of the race with Des Moines Register Chief Politics Reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel.

Joyce Russell/IPR

The Democratic Party of Iowa today accused Gov. Kim Reynolds  of corruption in office for taking campaign contributions from one of the managed care organizations that are  benefiting from the privatization of Medicaid services in Iowa.    

According to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Board, the political action committee for Anthem, Inc., the parent company of Amerigroup, has given $2500 this year to the Reynolds campaign.  A contribution of $1500 arrived on August 22, two days before contracts were signed with the private firms.

Clay Masters/John Pemble / IPR

House Republicans running in tough races this fall have two choices when it comes to how they handle President Trump. Embrace him and hope that rallies Trump’s base to their side or stay away from the president and hope that will draw in more moderate and independent voters. Consider two incumbents in neighboring Iowa districts who are testing out these strategies.

When President Donald Trump came to Peosta, Iowa this summer he was on stage with the district’s two-term Republican Congressman Rod Blum.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Senior Legal Counsel and special adviser Sam Langholz told a conservative crowd in Urbandale today that the election for governor this year could affect the makeup of the Iowa Supreme Court for decades to come.      

Langholz spoke to about 50 people at a breakfast meeting of the Westside Conservative Club at the Machine Shed restaurant.

He cited recent court decisions that conservatives opposed, and suggested that future appointees could mean different results. 

Joyce Russell/IPR

Democrat J. D. Scholten who’s running for Congress in Iowa’s 4th  District says incumbent Republican Steve King is abdicating his leadership by declining his invitation for three campaign debates.  

Joyce Russell/IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds today defended her call for immigration reform following the killing of University of Iowa student Molly Tibbetts, allegedly by a man federal officials say is an undocumented Mexican immigrant.  

Following the discovery of the victim’s body, President Trump, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Gov. Reynolds all issued statements highlighting the immigration status of Cristhian Rivera who is jailed on a first degree murder charge.    

Rich Mason/flickr

Some Iowans who registered to vote this summer and received their voter registration cards in the mail are about to receive a second mailing with updated cards. 

That follows a court ruling directing the secretary of state not to distribute materials that say an ID is required to vote this year.    

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the law complained that the secretary of state’s office was distributing materials saying voter identification is required at the polls this year, when that’s not required until next year.    

John Pemble/IPR

The Republican candidate for Congress in Iowa’s 2nd district spoke from the Des Moines Register Soapbox Friday, calling the incumbent “a nice guy but part of the status quo.”

Iowa city physician Christopher Peters hopes to unseat six- term Democrat Dave Loebsack. 

Peters said he would have voted differently from Loebsack on a host of issues, from health care to banking reform. 

He brings his medical expertise to the campaign.

KOMU News / Creative Commons

In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to public radio reporters from Iowa, Ohio, Kansas and Missouri to see hower voter laws are changing across the Midwest.

Iowa

A 2017 voter law required voters to provide an identification numbers from a driver’s license, a non-driver’s license or a voting card in order to apply for an absentee ballot.   

John Pemble/IPR

Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate brought his re-election campaign to the Iowa State Fair Tuesday, taking his turn on the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox.  

As the state’s chief elections officer, Pate said Iowa has registered a quarter of a million new voters during his time in office, aided in part by a new online voter registration system.   He said the state ranks among the top in the nation for voter participation and registration.   Also, 17-year olds can now register and vote in primary elections.

kim reynolds
John Pemble / IPR

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds took to the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the state fair Tuesday and touted her new legislation and positive state rankings as part of her campaign to remain governor of Iowa.

She told supporters and fair-goers she is proud of signing tax code changes, mental health reform, and job training bills into law.

“We have a lot of positive things happening in Iowa,” Reynolds said. “And I know the other side wants to think everything’s doom and gloom and Iowa’s going to hell in a handbasket and I’m sorry, it is not.”

Michael Leland/IPR

The Libertarian candidate for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District seat says low income Iowans should be able to keep more of their money.  Charles Aldrich of Clarion is running against Republican incumbent Steve King.  Aldrich says people who earn less than $350 a week shouldn’t have to pay federal taxes. 

“These people are working for poverty wages, and they shouldn’t be having to fork over their money because the government thinks that they can spend it more wisely,” he said.

Joyce Russell/IPR

Iowa 2nd District Congressman Dave Loebsack warned state fairgoers Monday that if Republicans retain control of the U.S. House, there will be a renewed attempt at entitlement reform directed at the nation’s senior citizens.     

Loebsack was first elected in a Democratic wave in 2006 after President George W. Bush’s plan to privatize social security failed to advance. 

“It crashed and burned due to bipartisan opposition,” Loebsack said from the Des Moines Register Soapbox at the fair.  

Michael Leland/IPR

The Libertarian candidate for Iowa governor acknowledges he probably won’t win the election, but he says this political campaign is an opportunity to expand the party in the state.  Council Bluffs business consultant Jake Porter says Libertarians are on the ballot in about three dozen contests this November, including statewide offices and all four congressional races. 

Porter says there are about 11,000 registered Libertarians in the state, and he’d like to see that number reach 20,000 in part by getting out the party’s message.

fred hubbell
Katarina Sostaric/IPR

Standing on the Des Moines Register soapbox Saturday, Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell criticized Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds for what he said is her failure to stand up to the White House during escalating trade disputes.

Hubbell said tariffs are putting rural communities “on edge.”

“It’s not acceptable to say, ‘Let’s be patient, it’s going to work its way out.’ We need someone to stand up for Iowans and put Iowans first, regardless of who’s in the White House and regardless of what the party is,” Hubbell said. “And that’s what I’m going to do.”

deidre dejear
John Pemble / IPR

Secretary of State candidate Deidre DeJear told state fair-goers Friday she wants all eligible voters in Iowa to have access to the ballot box.

DeJear is a Democrat challenging Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate in the November election.

She said her grandmother in Mississippi saw the sacrifices made when people of color and women were seeking the right to vote.

Michael Leland/IPR

An Iowa State Fair tradition resumed on Thursday's opening day – political speeches at the Des Moines Register soapbox. First up Thursday was Abby Finkenauer.  She’s a Democrat challenging Republican Rod Blum for the 1st Congressional District seat in Washington.  In a brief speech to a few dozen supporters, Finkenauer said she’d like to get people talking more about values, and hope.

Creative Commons/Pixabay

 

Technology Is playing an increasingly active role in our political climate. Social media and other technological communications systems make it easier for people to engage with candidates, increase opportunities for offline political mobilization, and provide access to an unprecedented amount of news and information.

Abby Finkenauer Campaign

Since 2009, Iowa boards and commissions have been required by law to maintain gender balance. The latest research from Iowa State University’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics shows that boards statewide have fallen short.

Kelly Winfrey, Assistant Professor at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University, joins host Ben Kieffer on this segment of River to River to chat about the ongoing study.

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