Polls just closed in Iowa, and I will update this thread frequently throughout the night as results come in. Separate posts on some of the statewide and Congressional races will be forthcoming once the outcome is clear. The Secretary of State’s website is compiling vote totals here. Anecdotal evidence suggests turnout far exceeded 2014 levels on election day.
Early voting already set a record for an Iowa midterm election. This post includes tables showing absentee ballots requested and returned in all four Congressional districts from October 9 through November 6. The numbers aren’t quite final; absentee ballots can be hand-delivered to county auditors today, and ballots arriving by mail later this week can be counted with a postmark dated November 5 or earlier.
What we know: at least 538,043 Iowans voted before election day this year. The total early vote in 2014 was 465,166. Iowa Democrats cast 186,269 early ballots in 2014. As of this morning, 230,294 Democrats had already voted. Republicans cast 178,653 early ballots in 2014 and were at 189,961 this morning. Turnout among no-party Iowa voters typically drops sharply in non-presidential years. Four years ago, 99,491 independents cast ballots; the comparable number today is 114,878.
Earlier today, I reviewed the nine Iowa Senate races most likely to be competitive and 20 Iowa House races that will likely decide control of the lower chamber.
9:15 UPDATE: With 101 of 177 Polk County precincts reporting, Cindy Axne leads by about 30,000 votes, a good margin in the population center of Iowa’s third Congressional district.
9:20 UPDATE: 134 Polk County precincts in, and Axne has almost 58 percent of the vote, leading by nearly 32,000 votes. Two-term Republican incumbent David Young would struggle to make up that margin elsewhere in IA-03.
9:30 UPDATE: Young lost Polk County by just under 2,000 votes in 2014. He’s down by 31,000 votes with 153 of the county’s 177 precincts reporting.
Fred Hubbell leads Governor Kim Reynolds by about 34,000 votes in Polk County. Democratic candidate for state auditor Rob Sand has a nearly 39,000 vote lead over Republican incumbent Mary Mosiman. Tim Gannon leads Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig by about 30,000 votes in Polk County. Deidre DeJear leads Secretary of State Paul Pate by only about 26,000 votes.
In Ankeny, Amber Gustafson narrowly trails Iowa Senate Majority leader Jack Whitver in Senate district 19 with 16 of 23 precincts reporting. Heather Matson has a small lead over State Representative Kevin Koester with nine of 12 precincts in.
Huge result in House district 42, the most expensive state House race in Iowa history: Democrat Kristin Sunde has defeated five-term State Representative Peter Cownie by 7,823 votes to 6,653 (54 percent to 46 percent), according to unofficial results. Jennifer Konfrst has a comfortable lead in the open House district 43, a pickup for Democrats in the seat House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow fled from.
9:40 UPDATE: With only one precinct outstanding, Karin Derry leads GOP State Representative Jake Highfill by nearly 500 votes in Iowa House district 39. This would be another big win for Democrats.
Axne still leads by about 31,000 votes with 164 of 177 Polk County precincts in. Young’s career in Congress appears to be over.
9:45 UPDATE: Media organizations starting to call the IA-03 race for Cindy Axne. She worked incredibly hard for the last year and a half, earned this win. She still has a 31,000 vote lead in Polk County with 170 out of 177 precincts reporting.
All House district 38 precincts are in, and Heather Matson has defeated Kevin Koester by 7,883 votes to 7,438 (51.4 percent to 48.5 percent). She also worked incredibly hard in 2016 as well as this cycle.
10:00 UPDATE: Abby Finkenauer has ended two-term Representative Rod Blum’s career in the first Congressional district. Now Democrats will hold three of Iowa’s four Congressional districts for the first time since our state lost a district after the 2010 census.
Hubbell leads in the governor’s race with about half the votes counted.
Senate Majority Leader Whitver defeated Amber Gustafson in Senate district 19 by 17,923 votes to 16,863 (51.5 parent to 48.4 percent). It’s incredible that race became close, given the political composition of that district.
10:10 UPDATE: I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the impact of ending straight-ticket voting in Iowa. I’m surprised to see there isn’t much of a drop-off from the total votes cast for governor and the votes cast for other statewide offices. At this writing, 489,806 votes have been counted in the governor’s race (Hubbell leads by about 30,000), 480,769 for secretary of state (Paul Pate and Deidre DeJear are nearly tied), 478,610 for state auditor (Rob Sand has a 60,000 vote lead over Mary Mosiman), 479,168 for state treasurer (Michael Fitzgerald has nearly 60 percent of the vote), and 477,873 for secretary of agriculture (Tim Gannon leads Mike Naig by about 21,000 votes).
10:20 UPDATE: 536,591 votes now reported in governor’s race, Hubbell leads by more than 45,000 (285,945 to 239,174). It’s not clear which counties are outstanding.
10:25: 588,468 votes counted in governor’s race: Hubbell 306,336 (52 percent), Reynolds 269,568 (46 percent).
10:30 UPDATE: Democratic pickup in Iowa Senate district 7 as Jackie Smith defeated GOP State Senator Rick Bertrand in Sioux City. Republican Zach Nunn will pick up the open Senate district 15, previously held by Democrat Chaz Allen.
In the governor’s race, Hubbell’s lead has dropped to about 30,000 with about 618,059 votes counted.
All precincts are in for House district 39: Karin Derry leads by 9,318 votes to 9,113 (49.6 percent to 48.5 percent). That is not a large margin, but it’s more than big enough to hold up under a recount.
The governor’s race has tightened: 751,665 votes counted, Hubbell has 369,573 and Reynolds 366,242.
10:50 UPDATE: The Des Moines Register’s website has more results than the Secretary of State’s website. They have Hubbell with 542,075 votes to 536,852 for Reynolds.
11:00 UPDATE: Not looking good for Hubbell. Reynolds has pulled ahead by 557,652 votes to 555,776 on the Register’s results page, with mostly rural counties left to report.
Now the Register has 570,195 for Reynolds and 563,215 for Hubbell. It looks like this race is over.
11:15 UPDATE: NBC has called Iowa’s fourth Congressional district for Steve King and the governor’s race for Reynolds.
Catching up on Iowa House results: Democratic incumbents Timothy Kacena (House district 14) and Charlie McConkey (House district 15) have won. The only Democratic-held state House seat in danger is House district 9, where Republican Ann Meyer leads by a few hundred votes with one precinct not reporting yet. UPDATE: Meyer leads by nearly 400 votes with every precinct in.
Republicans have lost at least seven Iowa House seats. Four incumbents have been defeated so far: Koester lost to Matson in House district 38, Highfill lost to Derry in House district 39, Cownie lost to Sunde in House district 42, and Rogers lost to Williams in House district 60. Democrats picked up three open seats: Konfrst won House district 43, Judge won House district 44, and Molly Donahue won House district 68.
GOP Representative Ashley Hinson held on in House district 67. Full results are not in for several other districts Democrats were contesting. UPDATE: Republican Shannon Lundgren has held House district 57.
One bright spot: Rob Sand won the state auditor’s race. According to the Secretary of State’s website, he has 569,003 votes (51 percent) to 518,342 votes (46.4 percent) for Republican incumbent Mary Mosiman. Among other things, he has pledged to investigate the private corporations that now manage Iowa’s Medicaid program.
11:30 UPDATE: Reynolds is pulling away, now leads by about 26,000 votes.
Catching up on the Iowa Senate races: Republicans have indeed expanded their majority. They lost one seat (Jackie Smith defeated Rick Bertrand in Senate district 7). But they picked up at least three Democratic-held seats: Zach Nunn won the open Senate district 15, Chris Cournoyer won the open Senate district 49, and Carrie Koelker defeated State Senator Tod Bowman in Senate district 29.
A few other results are not final. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks is on track to hold the open Senate district 41 for Republicans as well.
Democratic State Senators Kevin Kinney (Senate district 39) and Amanda Ragan (Senate district 27) lead in races Republicans have targeted.
1:15 am UPDATE: All credit to J.D. Scholten for running an incredible campaign. Although he didn’t win IA-04, he gave King the race of his life. At this writing, King leads by only 157,221 votes to 146,698 (50.3 percent to 47.0 percent).
Final margins in the other Congressional races:
• Finkenauer beat Blum in IA-01 by 169,341 votes to 152,939 (50.9 percent to 46.0 percent)
• Democratic Representative Dave Loebsack won a seventh term in IA-02 with 171,054 votes (54.8 percent) to 133,010 votes for Christopher Peters (42.6 percent).
• Axne beat Young by 169,886 votes to 164,656 (49.0 percent to 47.5 percent). He carried fifteen of the sixteen counties but could not make up Axne’s enormous margin in Polk, the population center of the district.
With unofficial results in from all 99 counties, Reynolds now leads Hubbell by 662,633 votes to 623,099 (50.4 percent to 47.4 percent).
Libertarians have lost full political party status, as their nominee for governor Jake Porter received only 21,095 votes (1.6 percent). He would have done better if the Hubbell/Reynolds race had been widely seen as uncompetitive.
As mentioned above Rob Sand defeated State Auditor Mary Mosiman. His margin was convincing: 652,589 votes to 596,850 (50.9 percent to 46.5 percent).
Incumbents won every other statewide office:
• Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate defeated Deidre DeJear by 680,998 votes to 576,349 (52.9 percent to 44.7 percent).
• Democratic State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald defeated Jeremy Davis by 702,796 votes to 549,630 (54.8 percent to 42.8 percent).
• Republican Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig defeated Tim Gannon by 646,928 votes to 595,703 (50.5 percent to 46.5 percent).
• Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller defeated Libertarian Marco Battaglia by 871,640 votes to 259,628 (76.5 percent to 22.8 percent). Republicans did not field a candidate for this race.