FOCUS ON: IOWA

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6 mins read

WHERE THINGS STAND IN IOWA TODAY

After a devastating election loss in 2016, Iowa was an improved-but-still-mixed bag for Democrats in 2018.

We came up short in the Iowa Governor’s race and lost 2 Iowa State Senate seats. Conversely, we managed to flip 2 Congressional Districts and 4 Iowa State House seats (although we didn’t take control of that chamber). And in 2019, one of the longest-serving Republican State House members switched parties from Republican to Democrat.

So while there is still a long way to go, Democrats have made big strides in the last two years in Iowa. The 2020 election can continue that positive trend.

With that in mind, here are the reasons why Iowa deserves our focus in 2020:

 

REASON #1: DEFEATING JONI ERNST

If we flip Iowa’s Senate seat, the Republican Party has little chance of maintaining their Senate Majority. It’s one of the ‘tipping point’ Senate races that could make the one-vote difference between a slim Democratic Majority and a slim Republican Majority.

Just as importantly, from a moral perspective, Joni Ernst has proven herself unworthy of the title of United States Senator. For four years Joni has done nothing but enable Donald Trump’s worst impulses as he has embarrassed and harmed the state of Iowa.

Theresa Greenfield is a great Democratic candidate who will restore honor and dignity to this office, and we must help her win this tough race.

 

REASON #2: FLIPPING THE IOWA STATE HOUSE

Iowa currently has a Republican state government ‘trifecta’ (which means that they control the Governorship and both houses of the Iowa State Legislature). It is imperative that we break up Iowa’s GOP trifecta for a multitude of reasons, perhaps none more important than giving Democrats a seat at the table when Congressional and State Legislative redistricting is decided in 2021.

In order to do so, we need to flip *4* Iowa State House seats to take control of that chamber. Note that there are *7* Iowa House seats up for grabs in the trending-blue metro/suburban areas of Omaha (in neighboring Nebraska), Sioux City, Des Moines, and Cedar Rapids that are potentially winnable (Districs 16, 19, 25, 30, 37, 67, and 95).

 

REASON #3: FLIPPING IOWA’s 6 ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES

No, Iowa likely won’t be the state that puts Joe Biden over 270. But we need a landslide victory in both the popular vote and the Electoral College vote to make sure Trump is vanquished for good. And seeing Iowa swing back to the Democrats in 2020 after a big swing to the Republicans in 2016 would be a major psychological victory.

 

REASON #4: DEFENDING DEMOCRATIC HOUSE SEATS

Flipping Iowa’s 4th Congressional District became a tougher proposition once the odious Steve King was defeated in his primary, although who knows what can happen in a wave election with a good candidate like J.D. Scholten. But the biggest Congressional priority in Iowa will be to play defense and help the House Democrats maintain their current Majority.

That means defending first-term Congresswomen Abby Finkenauer in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District and Cindy Axne in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District against tough challengers.

And it also means electing Rita Hart to keep the open-seat race of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in Democratic hands.

 

REASON #5: MAKING INROADS IN THE IOWA STATE SENATE

In the Iowa State Senate, only 25 of the chamber’s 50 seats are up for election in 2020. And in 2018 Republicans actually increased their majority.

Democrats need to flip *8* seats to take outright control, which will be tough. But at the very least we can make gains. There are *3* Iowa State Senate seats in the trending-blue metro/suburban areas of Omaha (in neighboring Nebraska) and Des Moines that are potentially winnable (Districts 8, 20, and 22).

 

REASON #6: STATE SUPREME COURT RETENTION ELECTIONS

There are 4 Iowa State Supreme Court judges up for Retention Elections this year. In these elections the voters choose whether or not to retain the judges. All 4 judges who are up for a Retention Election this year were Republican-appointed. If defeated, a list of replacement judges would be compiled by a commission, and the Republican Governor would choose one of those options. The odds seem long that a more favorable judge might be selected, but it is possible, and therefor worth keeping an eye on. Rejecting them all would certainly send a message, however. But the risk of even worse replacements could not be ruled out.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read about why Iowa is so important this year.

Keep in mind that these are not the only reasons to Focus on Iowa this year. There will undoubtedly be a number of other local elections worth paying attention to as well.

If you’d like to help Focus on Iowa, please sign up HERE for the DemCast “Focus14” Iowa effort!

Join the team and make a difference for both The Hawkeye State and the country.


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