IA-03: DCCC puts Cindy Axne in "Red to Blue" program

The main campaign arm of U.S. House Democrats confirmed today that Cindy Axne is among their “top-tier” candidates in GOP-held districts.

In a statement enclosed in full below, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Axne earned a spot in the “Red to Blue” program

by surpassing aggressive goals for grassroots engagement, local support, campaign organization, and fundraising. Beyond her demonstrated abilities to build a winning campaign infrastructure, Axne has deep roots in the district and a persuasive message that helped drive her to victory in a competitive Democratic primary.

Axne won nearly 58 percent of the vote in Iowa’s third Congressional district, an unexpectedly large margin against two other Democrats running well-funded, district-wide campaigns. She won an absolute majority of votes in fifteen of the sixteen counties (scroll down for results in each county).

The last IA-03 nominee, Jim Mowrer, joined the Red to Blue program the week after the three-way 2016 primary, which Mowrer won with just under 50 percent of the vote. The DCCC went on to spend more than $2.6 million in IA-03 during the 2016 cycle, mostly on communications opposing Representative David Young. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent $1.9 million defending the seat. Almost all of the money funded negative messaging about Mowrer.

Iowa’s third Congressional district has a partisan voting index of R+1, indicating that it voted about one point more Republican than the country as a whole in the last two presidential elections. Young outperformed Donald Trump by 5 points to win re-election in 2016 with about 53.4 percent of the vote. Leading election forecasters see IA-03 as either “lean Republican” or “likely Republican.”

The latest official figures show that as of June 1, the IA-03 counties contained 160,158 active registered Democrats, 169,394 Republicans, and 169,457 no-party voters. Those numbers do not reflect people who changed their party registration on June 5 to vote in the primary.

The DCCC will also spend heavily in Iowa’s first district, a toss up race where Abby Finkenauer gained around two-thirds of the vote in the four-way Democratic primary. The DCCC added Finkenauer to the Red to Blue program last November and was supporting her campaign financially this spring.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

Map of Iowa’s Congressional districts:

Unofficial vote share and raw votes for Cindy Axne in each county, from largest to smallest in terms of total votes for her:

57.0 percent (23,842 votes) in Polk County

61.6 percent (2,918 votes) in Dallas County

58.2 percent (1,904 votes) in Warren County

57.8 percent (1,453 votes) in Pottawattamie County

62.9 percent (496 votes) in Madison County

57.7 percent (305 votes) in Guthrie County

70.2 percent (290 votes) in Cass County

72.0 percent (270 votes) in Mills County

51.1 percent (249 votes) in Union County

67.9 percent (220 votes) in Montgomery County

62.2 percent (212 votes) in Page County

62.6 percent (211 votes) in Adair County

62.7 percent (173 votes) in Fremont County

43.9 percent (147 votes) in Ringgold County

58.9 percent (109 votes) in Adams County

59.7 percent (102 votes) in Taylor County

June 15 news release from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (emphasis in original):

DCCC CHAIR LUJÁN RECOGNIZES CINDY AXNE AS PART OF ‘RED TO BLUE’ PROGRAM

FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2018 // CINDY AXNE
DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján today announced that Cindy Axne has earned a spot on the DCCC’s highly competitive Red to Blue program. After a strong performance in the primary, Axne joins other top-tier Democratic candidates across the country with this designation.

Axne has worked hard in her community to earn a spot on Red to Blue by surpassing aggressive goals for grassroots engagement, local support, campaign organization, and fundraising. Beyond her demonstrated abilities to build a winning campaign infrastructure, Axne has deep roots in the district and a persuasive message that helped drive her to victory in a competitive Democratic primary.

“A fifth-generation Iowan and small business owner, Cindy has deep roots to the community she aims to serve,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján. “She’s a proven leader within her community, having successfully advocated for all-day kindergarten for every child in West Des Moines. She’ll bring that fight to Congress to lower healthcare costs and get results for Iowans. Her impressive primary victory and grassroots-driven campaign puts her on track to flip this seat in November.”

Red to Blue is a highly competitive and battle-tested program at the DCCC that arms top-tier candidates with organizational and fundraising support to help them continue to run strong campaigns. Additionally, the DCCC provides strategic guidance, staff resources, candidate trainings, and more. It is not an endorsement.

In 2018, the DCCC will make more targeted and frequent additions to the Red to Blue program than in previous election cycles.

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