Bracket Buster: Underdog Amy Sinclair Claims Top Spot in Extreme 16


Iowans voted, and the #Extreme16 has been selected! Download and print your bracket, and let the #MarchMadness begin!

Reynolds, King, and Ernst take the other top four spots in a bracket filled with a majority of newcomers

In a stunning upset, underdog State Senator Amy Sinclair claimed the top seed in this year‘s Extreme 16, the annual list of the most extreme Iowans released by Progress Iowa.

“Sinclair knocked off heavy favorites like Congressman Steve King and Governor Kim Reynolds by refusing to assist working families on the rebound,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “Sinclair’s tournament resume is extensive, and she’s been a strong contender for years. This year she took so many errant shots at our public schools and ending transparency in her committee it was enough to vault her to the number one seed.”

Another surprise this year was the third seed given to Congressman Steve King, who seemed like a strong contender for the top spot, given his affinity for white supremacy. King was seeded seventh in last year’s Extreme 16 bracket.

“King is so damn embarrassing to our state he’s usually a slam dunk choice,” said Sinovic. “But thankfully, his main achievement is in generating headlines and shame. King has never even passed a piece of his own legislation, so for all his blustering racism, he’s ranked below Sinclair and Reynolds because we don’t think he’s got what it takes for a deep tournament run.”

In an unusual move, the father/son combination of Jeff and Bobby Kaufmann co-earned a spot in the Extreme 16 as the twelve seed this year.

“Both the Kaufmanns, senior and junior, have bullied their way through Iowa politics for years,” said Sinovic. “This year Bobby bullied advocates for retirement security, but in the past it’s been demonstrators and even students. Then his daddy comes to his defense, using the Iowa Republican Party as a personal shield for his son. We couldn’t ignore that kind of background when determining this year’s bracket.”  

Click here or read below to view the bracket along with the entire Extreme 16, in addition to the “first four out.”

2018 Extreme 16 – Tournament Resumes

  1. Amy Sinclair, State Senator (2018 ranking: 2) – Sinclair takes the top spot this year, after building on a strong resume as the #2 seed in last year’s bracket. She hasn’t missed a beat in 2019, ending the transparency rules for subcommittee meetings in the Education Committee as Chair; pushing an unconstitutional education voucher scheme that would undermine public schools; and attending a meeting with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos without inviting her constituents or members of the public.
  2. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Governor (2018 ranking: 1) The Governor continues her assault on working families and continues to underfund public schools. Last week she tried to keep private a meeting with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (we found out about it anyway).  
  3. Steve King, U.S. Congressman (2018 ranking: 7) After the closest election of his political career, did you think King would slow down his racist rhetoric? Nah, we didn’t either. A true embarrassment to our state and country.
  4. Joni Ernst, U.S. Senator (2018 ranking: 11) Senator ‘Squeal’ has been busy raising campaign cash behind closed doors from the healthcare industry, at $5,000 a ticket. Meanwhile she’s voted seven times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, won’t support legislation to make the Mueller report public, and refuses to stand up for Iowans while backing President Trump more than 91 percent of the time.
  5. Jake Chapman, State Senator (2018 ranking: n/a) Introducing a constitutional amendment making medical decisions for every woman in the state? Check. Hypocritically supporting the death penalty despite being “pro-life”? Check. Extremism and hypocrisy vaulted Chapman from off the list to the #5 seed this year.
  6. Michael Bergan, State Representative (2018 ranking: n/a) Another new addition to the Extreme 16, Bergan had his lawyer argue that votes cast by his constituents shouldn’t count. That bears repeating: Bergan didn’t want the people he represents to be able to vote. Unbelievable, but true, and truly extreme.
  7. Roby Smith, State Senator (2018 ranking: n/a) Who thinks all Iowans should be able to vote, regardless of what time they get off of work, whether they’re a student, or where they live? Not Roby Smith, according to legislation he proposed this year.
  8. Matt Windschitl, State Representative (2018 ranking: 13) Guns, guns, and more guns. In the year since the Parkland shooting that sparked the March for Our Lives protests, there has been nearly one mass shooting every single day. But that hasn’t stopped Windschitl from drafting legislation and a constitutional amendment that would make a similar tragedy more likely in Iowa.
  9. Donald Trump, U.S. President (2018 ranking: n/a) A newcomer to this bracket, Trump has been a disaster for the country and for our state. From a Twitter Trade War that hurts farmers to proposing cuts to Medicare and Social Security (which he promised he wouldn’t do), Trump has done all he can to hurt our state.
  10. Brad Zaun, State Senator (2018 ranking: n/a) Zaun introduces some truly awful legislation. Ending tenure at our public universities. Privatizing public pensions and putting retirement security at risk for so many Iowans. And he stood smiling next to the most dangerous person in America for our public schools (Betsy DeVos) while she came to Iowa without meeting any member of the public.
  11. Ashley Hinson, State Representative (2018 ranking: n/a) Despite occasionally passing herself off as more moderate, Hinson’s voting record is truly extreme: the most extreme abortion ban in the country, gutting worker’s rights and worker’s compensation, underfunding public schools, extreme gun legislation, and more. She’s earned her #11 seed and has the potential to move up next year.
  12. King Kaufmann & Prince Bobby, Iowa GOP Chair & Son/State Representative (2018 rankings: n/a) These two have been bullying their way around Iowa politics for years. Their bloviation is truly extraordinary, and is backed up by almost nothing of real substance. This year Prince Bobby threatened advocacy groups for speaking out, branding them liars for standing up for their members and issues they support. King Kaufmann used the Iowa GOP to rise to his son’s defense. And despite his dishonest campaign of smear tactics, even the King couldn’t prevent Eric Giddens from winning the special election in Senate District 30.
  13. Linda Upmeyer, State Representative (2018 ranking: 5) As Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, she’s responsible for every terrible and awful piece of legislation that moves. And there are some truly terrible bills that have moved.
  14. Jason Schultz, State Senator (2018 ranking: n/a) Which legislator ratcheted up the war on poor people? That would be Jason Schultz, who wrote the legislation that would prevent many Iowans from being covered by Medicaid if they even temporarily become unemployed.
  15. Gary Carlson, State Representative (2018 ranking: n/a) Flying somewhat under the radar, Carlson has a consistent and extreme voting record in the Iowa House. To boost his extreme resume, he was the floor manager for legislation that gutted worker’s compensation, sticking it to families all across the state.
  16. Chuck Grassley, U.S. Senator (2018 ranking: 9) Brett Kavanaugh. Neil Gorsuch. Merrick Garland. Grassley’s place in history is written in stone, for the nuclear bomb of politicization he brought to the Supreme Court nomination process.

First Four Out:

Charles Schneider, State Senator (2018 ranking: n/a) When you bring a three point shooter off the bench, they’re in the game to shoot threes. And when you bring the Reason Foundation into Iowa, as Schneider did, you’re doing it because you want to privatize public pensions. It’s what they do. Their presentation, along with legislation introduced in the State Senate, has given every Iowan who values their retirement security reason to be concerned.

Iowa Farm Bureau, Insurance company (2018 ranking: n/a) Every year, Iowa Farm Bureau passes itself off as a group that represents farmers. Every year, Iowa Farm Bureau lobbies the legislature representing what it truly is: a huge insurance company looking out for their own bottom line. It’s a brilliant marketing campaign, but the bills they support hurt average Iowans every day.

Steve Holt, State Representative (2018 ranking: n/a) Holt ran the committee that denied Iowans their right to vote in House District 55. And as Judiciary Chair he’s pushing forward dangerous changes to Iowa’s judicial nomination process, adding more politics to our courts.

Skyler Wheeler, State Representative (2018 ranking: 12) Just when we thought there could be nothing less tone-deaf than profiling a “pale, white Brit” for Black History Month, Representative Wheeler reached new hypocritical heights this year when he introduced a bill to bring back the death penalty while also claiming to be “pro-life.”