Clay Masters

Clay Masters is a reporter for Iowa Public Radio and formerly for Harvest Public Media. His stories have appeared on NPR

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There's one issue the major presidential candidates seem to agree on. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton say they're opposed to President Obama's multi-national trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

If Republicans don't hold hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Democrats believe the issue could help them win the Senate this November.

One test case for this proposition is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversees Supreme Court nominations.

At 82 years old, Grassley has coasted safely to re-election for decades and is seeking his seventh Senate term this fall.

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Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is stepping up his game in Iowa.

The first term Texas senator has picked up influential endorsements there and is drawing bigger crowds.

At the stage of the race when many caucus-goers are still deciding who to support in the first in the nation presidential caucus, Cruz is making a big play for Iowa evangelical voters, who helped Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012 win the Iowa Republican caucuses.

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For decades, many presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa have made sure to offer their loud support for ethanol — the fuel made from corn.

Ethanol is an important industry in Iowa. The state is the top producer of ethanol in the nation, accounting for 28 percent of national production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

But this election cycle, ethanol is not the campaign force it once was.

Take the contrast between George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign and the current campaign of his brother, Jeb Bush.

At the Central Iowa Shelter and Services in Des Moines, Iowa, health insurance navigator Andrea Pearce stood in a crowded dining hall on a recent day, shouting instructions on how residents can sign up for Medicaid.

"If you do not have insurance and you want to enroll and you have an e-mail address where you know the password," she said, "come to the computer lab we will guide you through the application."

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The Republican governor of Iowa is one of the longest serving in U.S. history. And with a election campaign coming up next year, he's suddenly taken a keen interest in making one controversial part of Obamacare work. That's the expansion of Medicaid, something some states are still deciding whether or not to do. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters has more.

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It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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President Obama is headed to Iowa on Tuesday where he will likely talk about wind energy. The president says he'll continue tax credits for wind energy and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he won't.

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