Iowans went to the polls on election day and voted Republican up and down the ticket. President Donald Trump was declared the winner of Iowa’s six electoral votes at the top of the ballot. The campaign provided the following statement to Iowa Field Report:
“Tonight, Iowans resoundingly reaffirmed their 2016 vote that Democrats have spent four years trying to reverse. As President Trump, Senator Joni Ernst, Ashley Hinson, and Randy Feenstra enjoy their victories tonight, Iowans have made it clear: the Hawkeye State is a Republican state.” – RNC Spokesperson Preya Samsundar
Iowans voted in record numbers. While still unofficial, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, Iowans blew away the all-time voter turnout record for a general election. The old record, set in 2012, was 1,589,951 votes. Eight years later, the unofficial turnout totals nearly 100,000 more, 1,687,899.
While we wait to hear the national election outcome for president, one thing is clear here in Iowa. Even before the official vote canvass is complete, Iowa is no longer purple. It’s Red.
Money & Message
Investment in Iowa is always appreciated unless it’s outside money looking to meddle in our elections. Democrats spent big and have little to show for it. That’s nationally, but especially here in Iowa. Democrats enjoyed a massive fundraising advantage this cycle both on the official campaign side and the outside dark money/super PAC side. Estimates vary, but Democrats spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $115 million, perhaps even as much as $150 million to take down Joni Ernst. They failed. Iowa voters rejected it in the US Senate race, and in the legislative races flush with cash from out of state and millions from the failed gubernatorial candidate, Fred Hubble.
Increasingly, when Dem donors see a shiny object in a red/purple state, they flood the zone w/ out-of-state $$. And in combing through Tuesday’s down-ballot wreckage, it’s not clear that $$ did more good than harm.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 5, 2020
Democrats came into election day emboldened by favorable polls and drunk on their own kool-aid. They believed that frustrations with the president nationally gave them permission to advocate and pursue their agenda’s most radical parts. The voters could sense their eagerness to leverage big government to accomplish this and rejected them. Tuesday’s results in Iowa were a complete indictment of the Democrats’ agenda, including; defunding the police, the Green New Deal, and government-run healthcare.
Many Iowa Capital watchers assumed that Republicans would lose a few of their house seats, expecting a new balance of 50-50 or maybe 52-48. Democrats were scared but still confident they would fair ok. However, Iowa voters had other plans. Republicans not only defended their incumbents, but they expanded their majority to 59, flipping an eye-popping seven Democrat-held seats.
Iowa Field Report profiled almost all of the candidates who defeated sitting, high profile Democrats like Andy McKean, Mary Gaskill, and Karin Derry.
- Brooke Boden, House District 26
- Garrett Gobble, House District 38
- Eddie Andrews, House District 39
- Steve Bradley, House District 58
- Chad Ingels, House District 64
- Cherielynn Westrich, House District 81
- Martin Graber, House District 83
“Tonight’s election results demonstrate that Iowans strongly support the direction of our state under Republican leadership. Voters know that they can trust House Republicans to handle their taxpayer dollars responsibly, jumpstart our economy, and return to normalcy as quickly as possible,” said Speaker Pat Grassley.
“House Republicans are ready to get to work alongside Governor Reynolds and the Senate to make Iowa an even better place to raise a family and grow a business,” he concluded.
The Senate Republicans and Jack Whitver also had a great night.
We are excited to welcome seven new members to the Iowa Senate Republican caucus! #ialegis pic.twitter.com/EntzkrBejW
— Iowa Senate GOP (@IASenateGOP) November 4, 2020
The wins kept on coming with Iowa’s congressional races.
It’s official – Abby Finkenauer will be a one-term congresswoman. Eastern Iowa voters decided they had enough of her complaining and partisanship. To replace her, they have sent former Journalist, Ashley Hinson to Washington to represent them. Of the 412,814 votes cast in Iowa’s first, Hinson secured 211,573 (51.25%) to Abby Finkenauer’s 200,814 (48.65%).
Finkenauer was an early endorser of Biden. We shouldn’t be surprised that if Joe pulls off the electoral college win she ends up in another job she’s unqualified for, but this time in the administration.
I am honored to be the Congresswoman elect for Iowa’s first district! Tonight we sent a message, the chaos and…
Posted by Ashley Hinson on Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Update: a previous version of the post had Miller-Meeks winning with 265 votes but after a glitch was discovered in Jasper County Hart took the lead by 144.
She may have finally done it. Early Wednesday morning, with a razor-thin lead Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks declared victory. However, as things stand now Rita Hart has a 144 vote lead over MMM.
Breaking: @millermeeks will take the stage in a few mins to declare victory. #IA02 #iapolitics
— Iowa Field Report.com (@IAFieldReport) November 4, 2020
Both Hart and Miller-Meeks were running to replace the seven-term, Congressman Dave Loebsack. There are all several thousand outstanding ballots in the district. We will know more after the official canvass happens on November 10th, the day after absentee ballots are due.
Former congressman David Young was defeated Tuesday, trying to unseat Democratic congresswoman Cindy Axne. Young took in 212,727 votes (47.55%) to Cindy Axne’s 218,968 (48.94%). Last week’s Des Moines Register Selzer poll alluded to a blowout, but the race ended up being much closer than predicted.
Several factors came into play. In addition to contending with a third party candidate who pulled votes from his race, Young also had a shift in demographics to deal with. The margins in Polk County were huge for Axne, and in the past, the GOP could look to Dallas County to offset those. However, Dallas County did not deliver the margin Young needed.
While last night didn’t go our way, the fight is never over. Our land and liberties, our family and friends, our faith and freedoms – are all worth fighting for. Thank you for joining the fight with me. I’ll never stop fighting and I know you won’t either. pic.twitter.com/GSlAnbIaDl
— David Young (@YoungForIowa) November 5, 2020
Iowa’s fourth district voters gave Randy Feenstra a huge victory. Feenstra trounced Democrat J.D. Scholten earning 236,859 votes (61.99%) to Scholten’s 144,352 votes (37.78%).
However, the evening’s biggest loser was not J.D. It was disgraced congressman Steve King. First, he put on a masterclass lesson on how to be a petulant sore loser.
I enthusiastically voted for Trump first thing this morning but I couldn’t get my hand to fill in the oval for the Republican nominee for Congress.
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) November 3, 2020
The replies to King’s tweet were not kind.
— Nick Ryan (@NicholasTRyan) November 3, 2020
Later, after the ballots were counted, it got worse for King. Feenstra took in more votes Tuesday than King ever garnered in his 17 years in congress. King’s high watermark was in 2016 when he earned 226,719 votes running against Democrat Kim Weaver. The voters of the fourth district, the same ones that King claimed would not elect Feenstra, gave him more than 10,000 more votes than King ever received. Goodbye Steve.
Rob Sands who?
Auditor Rob Sand took to the op-ed pages in Des Moines, Davenport, and Decorah (his home town) to encourage Iowans to vote out John Landon (R-Ankeny), Gary Mohr (R-Bettendorf), and Michael Bergan (R-Decorah). Landon’s and Mohr’s suburban seats seemed like prime pick-up for Democrats, so Sand probably thought he could look like the hero. Instead, he was the zero. Both Landon and Mohr won handedly; no one cared what Sand had to say. And what about Bergan’s seat? Nope. Despite Sand writing an op-ed in his hometown paper, Bergan gained votes from his 2016 run. Let this be just one more reminder that Twitter, where Sand and many in Iowa’s press corps make their political home, is not real life and certainly not real Iowa. But you keep doing you, Rob.
The New York Times is less influential with Iowans than Rob Sand.
Last week, New York Times reporters Trip Gabriel and Astead Herdon wrote that Governor Reynolds’ handling of the pandemic “may be dragging down fellow Republicans who are running, including Mr. Trump and Senator Joni Ernst.” These reporters, who gained a keen understanding of Iowans think based upon 1.) What they read on Twitter, 2.) What they see outside the window of their tiny New York studio apartments, and 3.) What they hear from DGA operatives, told a story about how Iowans were upset because the Governor hasn’t issued a mask mandate and that they would take out this frustration on all Republicans at the ballot box.
Wrong. Really wrong. Mask mandates and school closures have been a hot topic, even in the suburbs around Des Moines. And how did Republicans in those districts fair? See above. And cancel your NYT subscription. Oh, wait…