Iowa Politics

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In this special edition of River to River, a panel of reporters and columnists from The Gazette analyze the biggest news headlines of the week. Investigative Reporter Erin Jordan and IPR's Ben Kieffer hosted the "Pints and Politics" event before a live audience in Cedar Rapids on Jan. 16. 

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Iowa Democrats have until Friday to preregister to caucus this February as part of the state party's new early check-in process.

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With Caucus Day less than 20 days away, River to River continues its series of interviews with 2020 presidential candidates. During this segment, host Ben Kieffer speaks with entrepreneur Andrew Yang. 

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On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer sits down with IPR's Clay Masters, UNI's Donna Hoffman and ISU's Jonathan Hassid to recap last night's CNN Des Moines Register Democratic Presidential Debate hosted at Drake University. 

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The 2020 legislative session started Monday, introducing a renewed opportunity for policy changes in Iowa. Iowa Senate and House leaders join River to River to discuss their priorities for the upcoming months. 

Kate Payne / IPR

Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld returned to Iowa this week for the first time since the Iowa State Fair and said he offers an alternative to President Donald Trump on a variety of issues from economic conservatism to climate change.

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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As of the New Year, Iowans can go just over the Mississippi River into neighboring Illinois to buy recreational marijuana. Now that sales are legal in the Prairie State, some officials in Iowa are warning residents to be mindful of state law.

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A Democrat who's been running for president longer than anyone else in this cycle is pulling out all the stops to gain traction ahead of the Iowa caucuses next month. Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney has set out to visit at least 40 towns in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. 

Kate Payne/IPR

Democratic presidential candidates are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision-making process in killing a top Iranian military commander. With less than a month until the first in the nation Iowa caucuses, some potential caucusgoers say the tensions in the Middle East could impact how they make their decisions.

Kate Payne / IPR

A month out from caucus night, entrepreneur Andrew Yang is banking on success in Iowa to rocket his upstart campaign through the early states and “all the way to the top."

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Iowa caucusgoers who update their party registration by December 31st will have an easier check-in process on caucus night. Both major parties are encouraging caucusgoers to make sure their information is current to avoid any further delays at their caucus locations.

John Pemble / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds has agreed to keep resettling refugees in the state, while also questioning the security record of the program, without evidence. Under a Trump administration executive order, states and counties have to give formal consent for the federal government to resettle refugees in their area, a move that some supporters say gives local officials a greater say in the process.

Kate Payne/IPR file

On Christmas Day of 2018, a Honduran mother and her young son arrived in Iowa City, after fleeing gang violence in their home country. One year later, their asylum request is still pending, but they’re feeling hopeful for the New Year.

When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he defined marriage as “between a man and a woman." A decade later, that position would be almost unimaginable in this cycle’s Democratic presidential race. On the sixteenth episode of Caucus Land, we’ll talk about how the candidates are approaching LGBTQ policy. Plus, we’ll wade into the debate over whether Iowa is diverse enough to be first in the nation.


John Pemble/ IPR file

Entrepreneur and presidential candidate Andrew Yang is touting his status as the only person of color to qualify for the upcoming Democratic debate. Seven leading candidates will take to the stage in Los Angeles this Thursday for the sixth televised debate

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The prospect of an all-white Democratic presidential debate later this month is concerning for some candidates and party activists. Following California Sen. Kamala Harris’ exit from the race, still other critics have larger issues with the overall nomination process.

One of the surest ways to fire up Iowa Democrats at a campaign event? Bring up U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. On the fifteenth episode of Caucus Land, we’ll hear how that outrage over K-12 policy is spilling over into presidential candidates’ plans. Plus, a conversation with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.


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California Sen. Kamala Harris’ exit from the presidential contest Tuesday is a loss for some Iowa Democrats who hope to see more diversity in the field. And for some, her departure from the race is also renewing larger debates about the nomination process.

Clay Masters/IPR

Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is continuing to defend her phased-in Medicare For All plan on the campaign trail. After surging to the front of the crowded presidential field earlier this fall, Warren has been slipping in national and early state polls in recent weeks, as she’s faced increased scrutiny for her healthcare plan and her status as a frontrunner.

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This Thanksgiving holiday comes in the midst of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Iowans may find themselves spending time with friends and family with very different political views, but there are some ways to keep conversations civil.

President Trump built his 2016 campaign on stoking fears around immigration. Leading up to 2020, Democrats are running against his policies. On the fourteenth episode of Caucus Land, we’ll hear more about their immigration proposals. Plus, a look at a candidate who’s been campaigning in Iowa longer than anyone else this cycle.


Kate Payne/IPR

Seven Iowa cities are more welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people than the national average, according to a recent analysis by the Human Rights Campaign. The organization rated 506 cities across the country and nine cities in Iowa for its annual municipal equality index.

Kate Payne/IPR

Likely Democratic caucusgoers say climate change is increasingly among their top issues. In response, presidential candidates are rolling out ambitious policy goals to drastically cut emissions and retool the economy. But there are real questions about if the country can transition as quickly as Democrats are proposing.

Kate Payne/IPR

Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Deval Patrick says he will be competing in the Iowa caucuses. His late entrance to the race puts him at a distinct disadvantage in the state, where many of his competitors have been building grassroots organizations for months, and some of them for years.

The scientific community says the world must zero out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In response, Democratic presidential candidates are rolling out aggressive climate plans. On the thirteenth episode of Caucus Land, we'll talk about what it would take to meet those goals. And later, a conversation with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.


Ben Kieffer / IPR

Late last month, freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez officially endorsed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for president. In his latest swing through Iowa, Ocasio-Cortez joined Sanders on the campaign trail, marking her first trip to the state. 

How much does her endorsement mean to likely caucusgoers in Iowa? 

Kate Payne / IPR

New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallied voters in Iowa this weekend with Vermont senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, hoping to win over supporters for their Green New Deal.

Clay Masters/IPR

This weekend saw one of the largest events on the state’s political calendar: the Iowa Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice Celebration. Thirteen presidential candidates took the stage in Des Moines Friday, but the campaigning didn’t end there: two dozen more events followed as candidates criss-crossed the state.

All the Democratic candidates have plans to tighten gun laws. Mass shootings have put the debate front and center. On the twelfth episode of Caucus Land, we’ll talk about the Democratic proposals with proponents, critics and experts. And later, a conversation with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

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