Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. They have experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald.

Democratic challengers to President Joe Biden speak at Iowa State Fair

By: and - August 12, 2023

While much of the political attention at the Iowa State Fair was focused on the Republican 2024 presidential contenders, two Democratic challengers to President Joe Biden also took the stage Saturday at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox. Democrats Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who are running for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination, […]

Trump, DeSantis and more 2024 candidates pack Iowa State Fair

By: - August 12, 2023

The Republican frontrunners in the 2024 presidential race — former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — competed for attention Saturday on the packed Iowa State Fairgrounds along with a handful of other candidates. Republicans Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy and Ryan Binkley also held events on the fairgrounds, while Democrats Marianne Williamson and […]

Fairgoers mingle with five GOP presidential candidates on Day 2 of Iowa State Fair

By: - August 11, 2023

Five GOP presidential candidates were at the Iowa State Fair Friday, mixing campaign speeches and talking with Iowans with traditional fair activities like grilling pork chops and taking a peek at the Butter Cow. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former Vice President Mike Pence and California talk show host Larry Elder were all return visitors […]

Iowa Democratic Party chair airs concerns about RFK Jr. ‘antisemitic comments’

By: - August 10, 2023

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rita Hart said 2024 Democratic challengers to President Joe Biden are welcome to campaign in Iowa, but said she was concerned about Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s “antisemitic” comments. Hart, joined by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a fellow Democrat, spoke about the state fair and Iowa caucuses Thursday during the recording of […]

Republican presidential candidates kick off Iowa State Fair events

By: - August 10, 2023

Several Republican presidential candidates spoke to Iowans at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines Thursday, holding events with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox. It was the first day of the 10-day long event that historically brings presidential candidates out to directly interact with Iowa caucusgoers and show their […]

Polk County to pay for emergency contraceptives for rape victims after state halts funding

By: - August 8, 2023

The Polk County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to provide funding for emergency contraception and crisis services for victims of sexual assault and rape. The decision comes four months after Attorney General Brenna Bird confirmed the state had paused payments for the state’s program of paying for emergency contraception — and, in rare cases, […]

GOP presidential candidates rally at Iowa fundraiser

By: and - August 6, 2023

In the wake of former President Donald Trump’s most recent indictments, his opponents in the campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination railed against the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice at a fundraising event Sunday for U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson. More than 300 people attended Hinson’s BBQ Bash at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids. […]

Iowa Department of Education does not commit to clarifying K-12 book restriction rules

By: - August 3, 2023

Despite requests from Iowa educators, the Iowa Department of Education does not plan to release detailed guidance on implementation of new laws restricting book and school materials, officials said Thursday during a state board meeting. During the State Board of Education meeting, Eric St. Clair, the legislative liaison of the department, discussed new laws passed […]

Gov. Kim Reynolds deploys more than 100 National Guard troops to southern border

By: - August 2, 2023

More than 100 Iowa National Guard soldiers will deploy to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to support the state’s “Operation Lone Star,” the governor’s office announced Wednesday. Federal American Rescue Plan funding will pay for the deployment, the governor’s office said. The troops will support “Operation Lone Star,” a joint operation with the Texas Department […]

ACLU of Iowa seeks help in identifying books banned from school libraries

By: - August 1, 2023

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is seeking help in identifying the books that will be banned from school libraries and classrooms in the upcoming school year. The Iowa Department of Education has not yet released official guidance for schools looking to implement Senate File 496, a law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds that […]

Iowa Republicans cheer Trump as most opponents tread carefully

By: and - July 28, 2023

Iowa Republicans emphasized they were open to hearing from all 13 presidential candidates Friday at the state party’s Lincoln Dinner, but many in the audience were ready to send former President Donald Trump back for a rematch. “In Iowa, we are a neutral, objective state,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said. “We’re going […]

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz criticizes Republicans ahead of Iowa GOP dinner

By: - July 28, 2023

Faced with 13 Republican presidential candidates gathering Friday in Des Moines, Iowa Democrats turned to some out-of-state talent to help deliver their side of the story. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was in Des Moines Friday morning to speak at an Iowa Democratic Party news conference in advance of the state Republican Party’s Lincoln Dinner. The […]