2018 Iowa primary results: Early wins for Hubbell, Finkenauer, Axne

Good news for Iowa political junkies who value sleep: there’s no need for an all-nighter to follow this year’s primary results. In the most closely-watched races, it was clear less than an hour after polls closed that Fred Hubbell will be the Democratic nominee against Governor Kim Reynolds, Abby Finkenauer will face off against Representative Rod Blum in Iowa’s first Congressional district, and Cindy Axne will challenge Representative David Young in the third Congressional district.

I’ll update this post frequently throughout the evening as results are reported.

The Associated Press called the governor’s race for Hubbell a little after 9:30 pm. Polk County, containing Des Moines and most of its suburbs, is often among the earliest to report unofficial results. With almost all Polk precincts reporting, Hubbell had about 57.7 percent of the vote. Cathy Glasson was a distant second with 18.6 percent, followed by John Norris (12.6 percent), Nate Boulton (5.1 percent), Andy McGuire (4.1 percent), and Ross Wilburn (1.9 percent). 10:30 pm UPDATE: Hubbell was at 55.7 percent with 31 of 99 counties reporting

Early returns had Abby Finkenauer winning more than two-thirds of the vote in IA-01, where three other Democrats were on the ballot. UPDATE: Around 11:00 pm, Finkenauer had 62.5 percent of the vote, followed by Thomas Heckroth (22.1 percent), Courtney Rowe (8.1 percent), and George Ramsey III (7.2 percent).

Axne is also on track to exceed 50 percent of the vote. With most Polk County precincts in, Axne was above 57 percent in IA-03’s largest county, followed by Eddie Mauro (27.2 percent) and Pete D’Alessandro (15.4 percent). About two-thirds of the registered Democrats in IA-03 live in Polk, but a higher percentage of Democratic primary voters will likely come from there, because of other hard-fought races in the Des Moines area.

Speaking of which, State Senator Matt McCoy defeated longtime Polk County Supervisor John Mauro by a surprisingly wide margin: about 69 percent to 31 percent.

Claire Celsi won the Senate district 21 primary to replace McCoy with about 57.8 percent to 41.9 percent for Connie Ryan.

State Representative Rick Olson easily defeated Democratic primary challengers Tiffany Allison and Heather Ryan in House district 31 on the east side of Des Moines. Olson won about 63 percent of the vote.

In the Democratic primary for Iowa House district 38, Heather Matson won about 80 percent to 20 percent for Reyma McCoy McDeid. That sets up a rematch between Matson and State Representative Kevin Koester.

Kent Balduchi defeated Dan Nieland in the House district 30 primary and will face Republican State Representative Zach Nunn.

In the Iowa secretary of state primary, Jim Mowrer barely outpolled Deidre DeJear in Polk County, despite having been the 2016 Democratic nominee for Congress in this district. Meanwhile, DeJear was winning 67 percent of the vote in Johnson County. 10:30 pm UPDATE: With 31 of the 99 counties reporting, DeJear led by 52 percent to 48 percent.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that J.D. Scholten was around 49 percent of the vote in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district primary with a third of the counties reporting. Leann Jacobsen was in second place with 37 percent, and John Paschen had 13 percent.

10:45 pm UPDATE: Zach Wahls is leading Janice Weiner in the primary to replace retiring Senator Bob Dvorsky in Senate district 37.

11:00 pm UPDATE: DeJear at 50.6 percent to Mowrer’s 49.2 percent with 52 counties reporting. Scholten has around 49 percent with two-thirds of the IA-04 counties reporting.

Axne has 58 percent of the vote with eleven of the 16 counties in IA-03 reporting. Finkenauer’s vote share in IA-01 is around 62 percent.

Early this year, it seemed possible, even probable, that the nominee for either governor or the third Congressional district would be decided at convention. I’m glad the primary voters have selected the nominee in every Democratic race. Although my preferred candidate (John Norris) would have had a decent chance at a convention, a few hundred convention delegates who are a subset of a few thousand people who were able to attend the Iowa caucuses during a winter storm should not decide the general election candidate.

11:45 pm UPDATE: Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker won an impressive 66 percent of the vote against a long-serving Democratic incumbent on the same board.

Jake Porter will be the Libertarian nominee for governor, having won just under 54 percent of the vote to 39 percent for Marco Battaglia. Oddly, about 7 percent of Libertarian voters wrote in another candidate for this race.

EMILY’s List-endorsed candidates are having a good night. In addition to Finkenauer and Axne winning big:

-Molly Donahue won the Democratic nomination with about 66.4 percent of the vote against Scott Foens in the open House district 68, covering part of the Cedar Rapids suburbs. Donahue was the 2016 Democratic candidate here but lost to Ken Rizer, who is not seeking re-election.

-Lindsay James won about 55 percent of the vote against two rivals in Dubuque’s House district 99, up to now represented by Finkenauer.

-Ann Fields won nearly 82 percent of the vote in the open House district 28.

-Lori Egan won about 67 percent of the vote in the open House district 56.

-Mary Stewart won about 58 percent in the open Senate district 41.

-Mowrer conceded the secretary of state race to DeJear shortly before midnight.

Of the Iowans endorsed by EMILY’s List, only Janice Weiner lost today, but she was up against an unusually strong rival in Zach Wahls.

AFTER-MIDNIGHT UPDATE: More than 176,000 Democrats voted for a candidate for governor, far exceeding the previous high-water mark for a Democratic primary (about 148,000 in 2006). With all counties reporting unofficial results, Hubbell has more than 98,000 votes (55.5 percent), followed by Glasson (20.5 percent), Norris (11.4 percent), McGuire (5.2 percent), Boulton (5.1 percent), and Wilburn (2.2 percent).

Finkenauer received 66.9 percent of the votes in IA-01, more than triple the second-place candidate Heckroth (19.2 percent).

Unofficial results from IA-03 gave Axne 57.9 percent, Mauro 26.3 percent, and D’Alessandro 15.5 percent.

Scholten won 51.2 percent in the IA-04 primary, with Jacobsen at 31.9 percent and Paschen at 16.7 percent.

I keep forgetting Steve King had a Republican primary challenger in IA-04. Cyndi Hanson didn’t raise much money or do much campaigning, but she took 25.2 percent of the vote to King’s 74.7 percent. State Senator Rick Bertrand received about 35 percent of the vote as a better-known and better-funded GOP opponent in the 2016 primary.

In the GOP primary to represent IA-02, Christopher Peters took about 87.8 percent of the vote. Write-in candidate Ginny Caligiuri received 12.2 percent.

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig received 34.7 percent of the vote in the five-way GOP primary, just a tiny bit short of the 35 percent he needed to win the GOP nomination outright. The Republican state convention will select the nominee later this month. I assume delegates will choose Naig, but anything can happen. Dan Zumbach finished second in this primary with 21.4 percent, followed by Craig Lang (18.6 percent), Ray Gaesser (16.2 percent), and Chad Ingels (8.9 percent).

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