2016 Elections

Matt Johnson / Flickr

This week, Trump lifted his ban on about a dozen media organizations he had barred from his news conferences and campaign events. One of the first of the media organizations to be banned was the Des Moines Register, whose reporters were blacklisted from his events after the paper ran an editorial urging him to drop out.  Lynn Hicks, Opinion Editor at the Des Moines Register, says Trump’s decision was unexpected because the opinion section and newsroom are completely separate entities with a "firewall" between them.

Michael Luick-Thrams

An Iowa historian, running as an independent in the race for U.S. Senate, says he sees opportunity for someone outside the two-party system in this election cycle. He says every 30 years or so cultures open up, look around, and assess what's going well and what needs to be changed. Michael Luick-Thrams says now is that moment.

Wikimedia

Congress returned to the U.S. capitol this week, but prospects for getting much done before the election are dim. In this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Drake Political Science Professor and Chair at Drake University and Flansburg Fellow at the Harkin Institute, Dennis Goldford and Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Iowa, Tim Hagle. In addition to unlikely congressional action, they also discuss the future of Fox News, given the departure of Roger Ailes as well as the latest developments in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Freepik

As with most issues, republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton see the U.S. role in the world very differently. In this edition of River to River, Host Ben Kieffer talks with Jim McCormick, Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University and Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College about the foreign policy challenges likely facing the next President of the United States.

John Pemble

On this special edition of River to River, presented in conjunction with The Gazette, Ben Kieffer and co-host Jennifer Hemmingsen discuss the latest news from the campaign trail with panelists: Gazette political & investigative reporter James Lynch, along with Gazette columnists Lynda Waddington and Todd Dorman.

John Pemble

The Democratic candidate for U. S. Senate says efforts to improve Iowa’s water quality have been put off too long. Former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge owns a cow-calf operation in Monroe County. 725 Iowa waterways are classified as “impaired,” according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Judge says it’s a huge issue.

Dean Borg/IPR

Republican Vice-presidential nominee, Mike Pence, was on the attack during a Monday rally in Cedar Rapids.

“Hillary Clinton should shut down the Clinton Foundation right now,” Pence told a crowd of about 200 people. “How in the world can they say they will shut down the Clinton Foundation if she’s elected President of the United States?”

Pence portrayed that as allowing “foreign contributors and major corporations to make down payments on access to the Clinton Administration.”

SARAH BODEN/IPR

Democrat Jim Mowrer of Des Moines went on the offensive at the Des Moines Register’s State Fair soapbox Monday. The Iraq War Veteran is challenging Rep. David Young in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District.

Mowrer cited a recent failed amendment that would have prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. Young was one of several GOP lawmakers to switch their votes, defeating the measure.

 

Zebby Wahls

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Zach and Zebby Wahls of Iowa City about a hugely successful deck of playing cards they designed inspired by the 2016 presidential campaign.  

Michael Leland/IPR

U.S. Senate candidates took over the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair Sunday, with the Democratic candidate accusing Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley of ducking the fair’s forum, and an independent candidate criticizing the country’s “aristocracy of money.”

Former Iowa Agriculture Secretary and Lt Governor Patty Judge told a crowd gathered for the soapbox speech if she’s elected, she’ll try to get a seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee and help write the next Farm Bill.

Sarah Boden/IPR

Voters of Iowa's 3rd Congressional District heard from two candidates Friday at the Des Moines Register's soapbox  at the Iowa State Fair. 

Freshman Rep. David Young took the stage first, and boasted to a crowd of roughly 45 people that he has not cashed a pay check since April, because Congress has failed to pass a budget. The Republican incumbent says his salary will be in escrow until this happens, or until January 3, 2017, which is the last day of the 114th Congress. 

Dr. Christopher Peters introduced himself to an audience at the Iowa State Fair Thursday as the Republican candidate for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District. Peters told those gathered at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox he wants to make sure people have less government in people’s lives.

“Our founders were deeply distrustful of centralized powerful government,” he said. “They sought to diffuse power between the three branches of the national government, as well as between the national government and the separate state governments.”

John Pemble/IPR

Republican Congressman Steve King says he does not have any qualms with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican border. He says he’d go even further. King made his comments before a crowd at the Des Moines Register soapbox on the opening day of the Iowa State Fair.

Clay Masters/IPR

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was back in Des Moines Wednesday for her first appearance since her close win over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses. 

After touring a local t-shirt store and stopping at a bakery, Clinton spoke to about 1500 people packed in the gym at Lincoln High School. She says in her first 100 days as president she’ll make the biggest investment in good paying jobs since World War Two. She also spoke highly of Iowa wind energy.

Gage Skidmore/flickr

A spokesman for Governor Branstad confirms that the governor has agreed to advise the Donald Trump campaign on renewable fuels and other issues, what the spokesman calls “issues important to Iowans".  

But the spokesman declined to comment on reports that another prominent Iowan, agribusiness leader Bruce Rastetter, is on the list for a job in a Trump administration.  

Branstad spokesman Ben Hammes is downplaying the announcement about the governor advising Trump.

Gage Skidmore

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, David Cay Johnston, whose latest book The Making of Donald Trump culminates nearly 30 years of reporting on the media mogul and reality TV start turned presidential candidate. 

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is questioning Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's commitment to ethanol.

Grassley says Clinton has been exploring an energy policy in California that focuses on carbon reduction and relies upon a market strategy. That contrasts with the existing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which mandates production of ethanol and other bio-based fuels. The RFS has been a boon to Corn Belt farmers.

John Pemble/IPR

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he wants more information about a cyber attack at the Democratic National Committee that resulted in the online publication of thousands of sensitive e-mails.   

The FBI is investigating whether Russia broke into DNC servers and handed over information to Wiki-Leaks which promptly posted it online.  

Grassley says it’s believable Russia was behind it.

"I believe they have the capability and the history of doing it, but do I know they're specifically involved in this hacking?" Grassley asks. “I don't know.” 

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack may be on Hillary Clinton's short-list for a vice presidential running mate. Several national media outlets have reported that while Vilsack has not confirmed he's being vetted, Clinton insiders say he's in the running.

Vilsack served as the Democratic governor of Iowa from 1999-2007. He's been in President Obama's cabinet since 2009.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

In Washington D.C. the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hard at work hoping to elect more Democrats to the U.S. House.  

In Iowa, they’ve targeted 3rd District Republican incumbent David Young for defeat.   

The DCCC has launched television ads linking Young to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.  

The ads will run in Iowa through the Republican convention.   

The ads are running in ten congressional districts across the country.  

Marcia Cirillo/flickr

Former Democratic Governor Chet Culver says there are interesting races on the November ballot including the contest between his former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge and Republican incumbent Charles Grassley. 

But he says his new job as president of the Greater Des Moines YMCA will keep him from working to get Judge and other Democrats elected.  

Culver says working for the YMCA, he’ll have to appeal to both Republicans and Democrats.

“So I will take a step back from the political arena,” Culver says.  

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Many Republicans rebuked presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for his remarks suggesting that Latino and Muslim judges would be unable to rule fairly on a trial involving the candidate. State Senator David Johnson did them one better: he left the party.

Tuesday’s primary elections set the stage for two of the nation’s most competitive congressional campaigns. In Eastern Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, Cedar Rapids Democrat Monica Vernon seeks to replace first-term Republican Rod Blum of Dubuque.

University of Northern Iowa political scientist Donna Hoffman says Vernon’s success depends voter turn-out.

Rob Dillard/IPR

Former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge is the Democrats’ choice to take on U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley in the general election in November. It was one of several primaries that will help decide who will represent Iowa in Washington next year.

At her campaign headquarters in Des Moines last night, Judge made it clear to supporters what her campaign strategy would be. Iowans can expect to see plenty of campaign signs between now and November that are a play on Patty Judge’s last name.

Rob Dillard/IPR

10:46 update

Former Pentagon worker Jim Mowrer will face first-term incumbent David Young on the 3rd Congressional District ballot this November.  He defeated Desmund Adams and Mike Sherzan in the 3rd District Democratic primary.  With nearly all precincts reporting, Mowrer had about 50-percent of the vote, Sherzan 36%, and Adams 14%.

10:42pm update

Joyce Russell/IPR file photo

An Iowa Republican State Senator is using this primary election day to change his political party affiliation, protesting the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

Northwest Iowa legislator David Johnson of Ocheyedan, who has served 18-years in Iowa’s legislature, issued a blistering statement after changing his voter registration to “no party.”

Senator Johnson’s statement says “mark me down as never Trump, and at the same time, never Clinton”.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Today is primary day across Iowa.  A number of key races are on the ballot:

U.S. Senate Democratic Primary: Tim Fiegen, Rob Hogg, Patty Judge, and Bob Krause are running to determine who will win the party's nomination to face Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley in November.

1st Congressional District: Democrats Pat Murphy and Monica Vernon face each other in a primary for the second time in two years. The winner faces Republican Rep. Rod Blum.

Courtesy photo

In advance of next Tuesday’s primary election, IPR is bringing you interviews and stories about the candidates and the issues. Here is a profile of Democratic candidate Monica Vernon, who’s in the First District Congressional race.

Monica Vernon has been here before. She ran for the Democratic nomination in 2014 in a five-way primary and came in second to former Iowa lawmaker Pat Murphy. She and Murphy are back on the ballot this time around.  Vernon says she’s ready to pick up where she left off, especially on the issue of increasing the minimum wage.

Pat Blank/IPR

Two candidates who were in the 2014 Democratic primary for the nomination in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District are giving it another shot. Pat Murphy and Monica Vernon will face off in the June 7th primary. 

Pat Murphy of Dubuque served 12 terms in the Iowa House and ended his legislative career while he was Speaker of the House to run for Congress. He won the Democratic nomination in the 2014 U.S. Congressional race in a five-way primary. Murphy then lost to Republican Rod Blum in the general election.

KCCI.COM

Three Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. And while Desmund Adams, Jim Mowrer and Mike Sherzan each have a compelling biography, when it comes to policy the differences amongst the trio are nearly nonexistent.

Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District covers 16 counties in the southwest corner of the state. It includes both Des Moines and Council Bluffs, along with many rural communities.

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