Clay Masters

Morning Edition Host

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter. He also covers environmental issues.

Clay joined the Iowa Public Radio newsroom as a statehouse correspondent in 2012 and started hosting Morning Edition in 2014. Clay is an award-winning multi-media journalist whose radio stories have been heard on various NPR and American Public Media programs.

He was one of the founding reporters of Harvest Public Media, the regional journalism consortium covering agriculture and food production in the Midwest. He was based in Lincoln, Nebraska where he worked for Nebraska’s statewide public radio and television network.

He’s also an occasional music contributor to NPR’s arts desk.

Clay’s favorite NPR program is All Things Considered.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds Thursday ordered Iowa K-12 schools to remain closed through April 30 and asked school districts to submit plans for offering instruction during part of that time.

She originally recommended on March 15 that schools close until April 13 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But state officials this week said Iowa could reach the peak of new coronavirus cases in two to three weeks.

Clay Masters / IPR

In normal times, people can take for granted essential services like water and electricity in their homes. What’s even more critical during this pandemic is the health of these skilled workers who keep these key services going. Some utilities are taking steps to keep their staff from getting sick with coronavirus, which includes locking employees in at work.  


John Pemble / IPR file

“Shelter-in-place” is not a legal term and different states use different terms. It generally means that people are ordered to stay home from work except those deemed essential by the state, and those going to grocery store, pharmacy and doctor, or to get fresh air at safe distance from others. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says people should continue to stay home if they can although she is not making a shelter-in-place order as some governors have. 

Aw Creative / Unsplash

Iowa is now up to 90 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Gov. Kim Reynolds has now gone a step further in her disaster proclamation and has ordered salons, spas and tattoo parlors to close until March 31.

In a press conference Sunday she also brought up some childcare mitigation requirements. Morning Edition host Clay Masters talks with IPR health reporter Natalie Krebs about the governor's latest recommendations during this interview.

Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state is working to get more tests for COVID-19.

At a press conference Thursday, Reynolds said the state hygienic lab has been able to keep up with the number of tests it receives, but is working with the federal government to get more.

Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Iowa businesses, school districts and citizens continue to respond to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. Updates and news regarding the spread of the virus in Iowa for the week of March 15-21 are available here. 

Natalie Krebs / IPR

Gov. Kim Reynolds held a press conference at the State Operations Emergency Center in Johnston Monday to discuss her recommendation to close school for four weeks and other measures the state is taking in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Here is what we know about school closures. 


iowa capitol
John Pemble / IPR file

Iowa’s legislative session will be suspended for at least 30 days after state officials confirmed community spread of COVID-19 in Iowa, leaders announced Sunday afternoon.

Lindsey Moon and John Pemble / IPR

The 2020 Iowa Legislature gaveled in for the session on Jan. 13. They're scheduled to continue meeting at the Statehouse until sometime around April 21. Over the course of the 100 days lawmakers have to conduct business, file and debate legislation, and pass bills, there are two important deadlines. 

Clay Masters / IPR

The Iowa Democratic Party has elected an interim chair following Troy Price’s resignation. Mark Smith of Marshalltown, a 10-term state representative, was voted as the party’s new interim leader on Saturday.

Caucus Meltdown

Feb 6, 2020

The 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses devolved into chaos when the system for reporting results failed. Technical issues, human error and reporting inaccuracies delayed the outcome for days, and the repercussions are still playing out. On the twentieth episode of Caucus Land, we take a look at the app that broke the caucuses and how Iowa Democrats are responding.


Clay Masters / IPR File

Senator Ernst walked comments back she made to Bloomberg News yesterday about former Vice President Joe Biden. She’d implied should he become president, Republicans would impeach him as soon as he was elected.

John Pemble / IPR file

The Iowa Statehouse will be empty Monday so lawmakers can caucus tonight in their home districts. But they’ll be back Tuesday to continue debating K-12 public school funding. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters talks with IPR state government reporter Katarina Sostaric about the week ahead at the legislature.

Clay Masters / IPR

Pollsters behind the Des Moines Register/CNN Iowa Poll have decided not to release the results of its final, highly anticipated survey before the Iowa caucuses.

The release of the poll was canceled Saturday night after former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign raised concerns that his name was not included in at least one phone call.

Clay Masters / IPR

Iowans will caucus Monday, and there will finally be results to how all that campaigning and organizing has paid off for the Democratic candidates. 

What started as the largest and most diverse crop of Democratic presidential candidates in history has been cut down substantially ahead of the February 3rd Iowa caucuses. But it’s not just Iowa that’s winnowed the field. On the nineteenth episode of Caucus Land, we’ll talk about how we got here and what it could mean for the future of the Iowa caucuses.


Clay Masters / IPR

There are just three days until the Iowa caucuses and on Thursday night President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Des Moines at Drake University, where he focused his remarks on the general election.

Speaking for an hour and a half at the Knapp Center, President Trump didn't bring up his party's caucuses next week. Instead, he touted recent trade deals, spent time talking about his 2016 win and attacked his potential Democratic rivals in 2020.  

Clay Masters / IPR file

President Donald Trump is holding a rally Thursday in Iowa, just four days before the state’s caucuses. Trump faces no significant threat from within his party but his campaign has been quietly working in the state. The rally is part of Trump’s efforts to counter program the Democratic candidates. 

John Pemble / IPR file photo

Republican state senators are advancing an abortion-related constitutional amendment early in Iowa’s legislative session. Iowa Public Radio Morning Edition host Clay Masters talks with state government reporter Katarina Sostaric about the proposed amendment and other issues facing lawmakers in the week ahead in the legislature.

Clay Masters / IPR File

The Iowa Democratic Party is doing the Iowa caucuses a bit differently this year. In 2016, the Democratic National Committee told the state party they needed to be able to do a recount in 2020. 

Here are the big changes for this year. 

Every four years, people have to basically relearn how the Iowa Democratic caucuses work. This year, a slate of new rules means caucus night could get even more confusing, and campaigns will have more ways than ever to spin the results out of Iowa. On the eighteenth episode of Caucus Land, we’ll break down what actually happens on February 3rd. Plus, conversations with two candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden and billionaire Tom Steyer.


Clay Masters / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is one of four U.S. senators who are back in Washington and away from Iowa as President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins Tuesday. Monday in Des Moines, Sanders told a crowd he will have to rely more on volunteers and surrogates to close the deal than he had hoped. 

Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

In January 2019, billionaire businessman Tom Steyer originally said he wouldn’t run for president but he changed his mind later that summer. Steyer was behind the Need to Impeach organization that pushed for the impeachment of President Donald Trump and he also started NextGen America which focuses on progressive issues including climate and mobilizing young voters. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters spoke with Steyer before a campaign event in Council Bluffs on Tuesday.

John Pemble / IPR

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will have an advantage over the Senators running for his party’s nomination as President Trump’s impeachment trial begins Tuesday. The trial centers on the president pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters sat down with the former vice president before a Saturday campaign event at Simpson College in Indianola.

CNN

Six Democratic presidential candidates faced off at a debate at Drake University in Des Moines Tuesday, less than three weeks ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. 

Clay Masters / IPR

Six of the Democratic presidential hopefuls will debate in Des Moines Tuesday at Drake University. It is the first time there will be no candidates of color on the stage. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee is standing by the standards to make it on that debate stage.

John Pemble

Monday is the first day of the 2020 legislative session.  For the fourth session in a row, Republicans have control of the governor’s office, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Morning Edition host Clay Masters talks with IPR state government reporter Katarina Sostaric about what to expect this legislative session.

 

Clay Masters / IPR

A respected poll out this weekend in Iowa shows 45 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers say they could still be persuaded to support someone else. The state's caucuses, which are first in the presidential nominating process, are now about three weeks away. 

The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll also says 13 percent of those likely to caucus on February 3 have not picked a favorite.

A wide open competitive presidential primary should be a moment of opportunity and peak political leverage for ambitious and aspiring politicians in places like Iowa. But one of the most sought-after Democrats in the first-in-the-nation caucus state isn't interested in endorsing a presidential candidate.

As the youngest of a handful of Democrats in statewide office in Iowa, state Auditor Rob Sand, who was elected in 2018, is often mentioned as a potential future U.S. Senate or gubernatorial candidate.

There are plenty of critics of the Iowa caucuses. This year, there's pressure from insiders and outsiders to change the process. On the seventeenth episode of Caucus Land, we'll talk about why some of those changes haven't happened with Lauren Chooljian, a host of the New Hampshire Public Radio podcast Stranglehold. Plus, conversations with two candidates: former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.


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