Democrats prevail in three Iowa House races after recounts

Democrats have officially won three close Iowa House races following recounts completed this week, confirming that the party will hold at least 36 of the 100 seats in the chamber next year.

In House district 20, covering part of Council Bluffs and Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County, the final vote tally narrowed Josh Turek’s lead over Republican Sarah Abdouch by one vote. He ended up winning by six: 3,403 votes to 3,397 (50.0 percent to 49.9 percent). Turek, who uses a wheelchair, will be the first disability rights advocate elected to the legislature.

In House district 42, covering part of Ankeny, Heather Matson remained 23 votes ahead of GOP State Representative Garrett Gobble: 6,991 votes to 6,968 (50.0 percent to 49.8 percent).

This area is by far the “swingiest” current Iowa House terrain. In a district covering much of the same territory, Republican State Representative Kevin Koester held off a challenge from Matson in 2016, then lost to the Democrat two years later. Republican Garrett Gobble narrowly defeated Matson in 2020, only to lose an even closer race this year.

In House district 72, covering part of the city of Dubuque and some areas of Dubuque County outside the city, State Representative Chuck Isenhart’s lead over Jennifer Smith shrank from 95 votes to 94. Final tally: 6,164 to 6,070 (50.3 percent to 49.6 percent).

Click here for maps, voter registration totals, and recent voting history for all of the districts where Republicans requested recounts.

Only one genuinely close race is still unresolved. Scott County will recount ballots in House district 81 (part of Davenport) next week. Following a county-wide administrative recount, Democrat Craig Cooper led Republican Luana Stoltenberg by six votes: 5,093 to 5,087 (50.0 percent to 49.9 percent). The outcome here will determine whether the GOP majority in the Iowa House will be 63-37 or 64-36.

Two other recounts will also take place next week, but there is no chance of the result changing. Democratic State Representative Sharon Steckman leads by 739 votes in House district 59 (Mason City and part of Cerro Gordo County), and Democrat Elizabeth Wilson leads by 305 votes in House district 73 (covering Marion in Linn County).

Top image, from left: Josh Turek, Heather Matson, and Chuck Isenhart. Cropped from photos posted on their Facebook pages.

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