Iowa

Trump Criticism Dominates Grassley Town Meeting

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) “faced relentless questioning about President Trump’s fitness for office and his own handling of the investigation into Russian election meddling at a rural town meeting here Friday morning,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“It was a striking scene, not least because of where it was playing out: in a rural western Iowa county where Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly two-to-one and where Trump carried 65 percent of the vote in 2016. And in contrast to the crowds that packed into lawmakers’ town meetings last year, the anti-Trump contingent was not obviously organized.”

Iowa Has Soured on Trump

Washington Post: “Iowa has seemingly soured on the president and his party. The end-of-year Iowa Poll, an industry standard conducted by Des Moines-based Selzer and Co., found Trump with just 35 percent approval in the state. Only 34 percent of Iowans said they would back Republicans for Congress in 2018, and 61 percent said they were turned off by politics altogether.”

A Troubling Number for Iowa Republicans

One more number to highlight in the new Des Moines Register poll: Iowans favor electing Democrats to Congress over Republicans by 40% to 34%.

“The finding is notable because Republicans hold three of Iowa’s four congressional seats, including two seen as among the most competitive in the country in 2018. The results are starkest in Iowa’s 1st congressional district, which encompasses 20 northeast Iowa counties and is currently held by two-term Republican U.S. Rep. Rod Blum. Despite the GOP incumbent, 47% of poll respondents in the district say they would vote for a Democrat, while just 29% say they’ll vote Republican.”

Branstad Will Step Down as Iowa Governor

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) “will resign as Iowa and the nation’s longest-serving governor and Kim Reynolds will be sworn in as his successor in back-to-back morning ceremonies at the Iowa Capitol,” the Des Moines Register reports.

“The long-awaited gubernatorial transition occurs two days after Branstad’s confirmation as ambassador to China by the U.S. Senate. In addition to the transfer of gubernatorial power, Branstad will be officially sworn into his diplomatic post.”

O’Malley Already Polling In Iowa

“The leadership PAC of former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley commissioned a Public Policy Polling survey of the first-in-the-nation caucus state earlier this month,” according to a copy of the results obtained by Politico.

“The poll, which shows O’Malley at 18 percent of Democratic caucus-goers in a field of nine potential candidates if the contest were held today, also asked the Iowans about New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Housing Sec. Julian Castro, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.”

Early Ballots Show Clinton Strength in North Carolina

“Seven weeks before Election Day, the earliest numbers from advance voting for president show initial strength for Hillary Clinton in swing state North Carolina, good news for Donald Trump in battleground Iowa and a record number of requests for ballots in Ohio,” the AP reports.

“The first early voting figures Tuesday are too preliminary to serve as clear indicators about how the election will go. Still, they are of interest because, unlike polls, they deal with actual voters either casting ballots or taking their first steps to do so. Campaigns are scrutinizing these figures to help guide their strategies.”

Trump Quote of the Day

“Look, I’ve never done this before. I’ve been a politician for seven months. I’m against governors and senators. They’ve done it their whole lives. It would seem to me that people would just go out and vote.”

— Donald Trump, quoted by the Associated Press, explaining that he “never realized” the need to encourage supporters to actually take part in the Iowa caucuses.