Continuing a 99-part series. Previous installments are here. -promoted by desmoinesdem
This week I will review our fifth-smallest county in terms of population, Wayne County. The 2010 census found 6,403 people living in the entire 527 square miles (34th smallest) that are within Wayne County. To put this in perspective, it is roughly equal to population with the city of Oelwein. Wayne County is south and just a bit east of Des Moines. According to Google Maps, the county seat of Wayne County, Corydon, is 70.5 road miles from the Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines. Wayne County was founded in 1846 from Appanoose County and was named after Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne.
As we’ve seen as another trend in these first five rural counties, the highest population in the county of 17,491 was in the 1900 census. Wayne County has lost population in every census since that time.
The racial makeup of the county was 98.78 percent White, 0.06 percent Black or African American, 0.12 percent Native American, 0.15 percent Asian, 0.06 percent Pacific Islander, 0.19 percent from other races, and 0.64 percent from two or more races. 0.71 percent of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Some 10.8 percent of the population live in households with income at or below the poverty level. Average personal income was estimated at $28,555 which was the 5th lowest of Iowa’s 99 counties. Wayne County had the 48th highest unemployment rate in 2010 (tied with several others), 6.2 percent. (As of November 2016 the unemployment rate was 3.1 percent.)
In terms of educational attainment, Wayne County has the 8th lowest rate of residents having received a bachelors degree or higher, 14.1 percent.
Wayne County is currently a part of the Second Congressional district and has been represented by Dave Loebsack (D) since 2007.
Currently Wayne County is a part of Iowa Senate district 14, represented by Amy Sinclair (R) and part of Iowa House district 27, represented by Joel Fry (R).
2016 Elections Results
Donald Trump 2,069 (70.4 percent) Hillary Clinton 719 (24.5 percent) Others 152 (5.1 percent)
US Senate Chuck Grassley 2,119 (74.9 percent) Patty Judge 645 (22.0 percent) Others 89 (3.1 percent)
US House Dave Loebsack 1,135 (40.2 percent) Christopher Peters 1,687 (59.7 percent) Other 3 (0.1 percent)
Iowa Senate- Amy Sinclair-R 2,422 (86.6 percent) Ruth Smith-Independent 373 (13.3 percent) Others 1 (0.1 percent) NO DEMOCRATIC candidate This was an open seat
Iowa House- Joel Fry-R 2,214 (78.5 percent) Rich Higdon-D 603 (21.4 percent) Other 5 (0.2 percent)
Since 1960, the Republican Nominee has carried Wayne County 10 times and the Democratic Nominee 5 times, with the most recent Democratic victory in 1996.
Romney carried Wayne county in 2012 by 11.40 percent while Trump won in 2016 with a 45.9 percent advantage! President Bill Clinton won Wayne County by 11 percent in 1996.
The Wayne County Board of Supervisors has a 2-1 Republican majority. All county elected officials except the County Recorder are Republican.
Wayne County was an another electoral disaster for Democrats in 2016. Many 2016 election post mortems have pointed out the disastrous (for Democrats) collapse of support in rural areas that have little demographic diversity. Wayne County is an another almost perfect example of this problem. Democrats cannot expect to find electoral success when losing counties by 46 percent in Presidential elections, 53 percent in Senate elections, and definitely not by failing to have a candidate for Iowa Senate. At least there was a Democrat in the state House race.
The ability of Dave Loebsack to limit his margin to losing by 19 percent as compared to the huge margins at the top of the ticket was key to a Democratic victory in the US House race. Looking back at the 2014 elections, Joni Ernst defeated Bruce Braley in Wayne county by 30 percent, and Terry Branstad defeated Jack Hatch by 43 percent, so Democrats losing in the county by wide margins is a continuing trend.
Next week: Osceola County
Sources: Iowa State University Iowa Community Indicators Program, Wikipedia, Dave Leip’s Atlas of Presidential Elections, Iowan Official Register (The Redbook), Iowa State Secretary of State