Iowa House district 60 primary: Jane Bloomingdale vs. John Rosenfeld

UPDATE: Unofficial results show Bloomingdale won the nomination by 1,729 votes to 1,112 (60.8 percent to 39.1 percent). Original post follows.

Four of the 64 Iowa House Republicans have competition in the June 4 primary, and the most closely-watched of those elections will happen in House district 60. State Representative Jane Bloomingdale held off a primary challenger in 2022, even as several of her GOP colleagues failed to secure their nominations. She now faces John Rosenfeld, who is running to her right on several issues.

In a late twist, Governor Kim Reynolds endorsed Bloomingdale, even though the incumbent voted against one of the governor’s top legislative priorities last year and has consistently opposed GOP efforts to ban abortion in Iowa.


House district 60 covers all of Worth and Mitchell counties along Iowa’s northern border, plus western parts of Cerro Gordo County (including Clear Lake) and two townships in Floyd County.

This area of Iowa has swung dramatically toward Republicans over the past decade. Mitchell County was the whitest county in the U.S. to vote for Barack Obama, but Donald Trump carried the county by wide margins in 2016 and 2020. Worth, Floyd, and Cerro Gordo are also “pivot” counties, having voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, then for Trump in the next two presidential elections.

According to the map Josh Hughes created in Dave’s Redistricting App, precincts that are now part of House district 60 favored Trump over Joe Biden in 2020 by 62.0 percent to 36.3 percent. Republican Joni Ernst carried the same territory in the 2020 U.S. Senate race by 57.0 percent to 40.1 percent.

House district 60 is the more Republican-leaning half of Senate district 30, where another hotly contested GOP primary is underway. The latest voter registration figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office show 5,080 registered Democrats, 9,245 Republicans, 8,778 no-party voters, and 124 Libertarians live in this area. Looking only at “active” registered voters (those who have cast a ballot sometime in the past two years), the numbers are 3,869 Democrats, 7,563 Republicans, 5,365 no-party voters, and 64 Libertarians.

No Democratic or Libertarian candidate has filed to run in House district 60. Even if one or both parties hold special conventions to nominate candidates over the summer, the winner of the GOP primary will be heavily favored in November. First elected to the legislature in 2016, Bloomingdale was unopposed in 2022 and received more than 70 percent of the vote against her Democratic challenger in 2020.


Bloomingdale is a lifelong resident of Northwood (Worth County), where she served in city government for 20 years before running for the state House. She has owned and operated an accounting business for decades and previously worked for the local school district.

During her eight years in the legislature, Bloomingdale has mostly voted in line with the rest of the GOP caucus. But her stance on abortion has angered many social conservatives. She was not present when the House approved a 20-week abortion ban in 2017. The following year, she was one of six House Republicans to vote against a near-total abortion ban. In 2020, she was one of the holdouts who kept the chamber from passing a state constitutional amendment, which might have cleared a path for a total abortion ban. When a larger GOP majority approved that constitutional amendment in 2021, she voted against it on the House floor.

Bloomingdale was absent from the July 2023 special legislative session where Republicans approved a barely-changed version of the 2018 abortion ban. However, this year she voted for a bill containing “personhood” language, which could have threatened the availability of in vitro fertilization. (That bill did not advance in the Iowa Senate.)

During the past several years, Bloomingdale has also opposed some Republican efforts to restrict local government authority. For example, this year she voted against an amendment on the House floor that would have banned speed cameras, and against a bill banning local regulations on stormwater and topsoil—though she came around to supporting the stormwater bill a few days later.

While Bloomingdale has generally supported GOP policies on education, she long opposed the governor’s plan to use state funds for “education savings accounts” covering private school tuition. For that reason, she was one of the House members the American Federation for Children targeted in 2022. That conservative group spent nearly $50,000 on the GOP primary race in House district 60. One of their ads claimed, “Bloomingdale and Democrats opposed the governor’s education plan. […] Jane Bloomingdale—supported by Democrats, loved by liberals.”

Oddly, Reynolds did not get involved in Bloomingdale’s primary last cycle, when she backed opponents of several other House Republicans who opposed her school voucher plan.

More than 20 House Republicans (including the top four on the leadership team) endorsed Bloomingdale, who defeated anti-abortion candidate Deb Hild by 1,591 votes to 1,335 (54.3 percent to 45.1 percent).


Reynolds has never publicly explained why she declined to take a position in the last House district 60 primary. I wondered whether she would go after Bloomingdale this cycle, because in January 2023, the incumbent was one of twelve Republican lawmakers to vote against the governor’s expanded “school choice” bill. In addition, as mentioned above, the incumbent skipped the special session Reynolds called last summer to enact another abortion ban.

Nevertheless, Reynolds is urging Republicans to vote for Bloomingdale on June 4, saying in a May 30 Facebook video, “Jane has played a big role in Republicans cutting taxes and cutting the size of government. I need fighters like Jane Bloomingdale by my side.”

What’s going on here?

The simplest explanation is that Bloomingdale has chaired the House State Government Committee since early 2023. In that role, she floor managed the governor’s massive state government reorganization plan, allowing no substantive amendments during House floor debate. She has led House efforts to pass several follow-up bills, such as this year’s legislation scrapping dozens of boards and commissions, which incorporated most of the governor’s proposals. Bloomingdale also serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has handled a series of tax cuts Reynolds signed into law.

Several influential business groups are backing Bloomingdale in her current race: the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the Iowa Industry PAC (affiliated with the Iowa Association of Business and Industry), the National Rifle Association, and the Iowa Bankers Association. The incumbent has also touted endorsements from all of the county sheriffs in her district.

Incumbents typically are able to raise far more money than challengers, and the House district 60 race is no exception. Bloomingdale’s campaign started the year with more than $101,000 cash on hand and raised $40,115.75 from January through mid-May. Political action committees contributed most of the funds raised last year, and that’s been true in 2024 so far. The campaign raised another $17,600 (mostly from PACs) between May 15 and May 28.

The biggest PAC donations to Bloomingdale’s campaign came from the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Realtors PAC, and Absolute Energy ($5,000 each). Absolute Energy operates an ethanol plant on the border of Minnesota and Iowa (Mitchell County), which is on Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed CO2 pipeline route.

While Bloomingdale did vote for a 2023 bill designed to restrict eminent domain for CO2 pipelines, as well as a bill this year that would have allowed landowners to go to court sooner to challenge the use of eminent domain, she hasn’t led on the issue. Those were also easy votes to take, because it was obvious Iowa Senate Republicans would not act on any legislation seeking to halt CO2 pipelines. Indeed, Senator Waylon Brown has buried all such bills in the Commerce Committee he chairs.

Bloomingdale’s largest campaign expenditures this year have been for printing and distributing literature and mailings, but she reported spending just $21,728.33 through late May. Unlike Brown, who is seeking re-election in Senate district 30, she hasn’t bought any radio or television advertising.

If the incumbent falls short on June 4, she will regret going into the home stretch with $137,430.23 cash on hand.


Rosenfeld grew up in Mason City and now sells fertilizer equipment in Clear Lake, according to a bio the candidate provided to Bleeding Heartland shortly after he filed nominating papers in March. He owned a small business in Colorado for 29 years and was active in that state’s Republican Party politics.

The challenger describes his legislative priorities as “preborn life, personal property rights, education reform, Second Amendment rights.” In a recent Facebook video, Rosenfeld said, “I am Iowa’s pro-life choice for district 60. I also believe that the school systems are failing our children, and we need curriculum reform. I’m also a strong advocate for personal property rights, and I will protect against private company abuses with the carbon pipeline.”

Rosenfeld has emphasized messaging against the CO2 pipeline, and he appeared at a May 30 event for Doug Campbell, the GOP challenger in Senate district 30. The featured speaker was former U.S. Representative Steve King, who has been helping landowners trying to block the pipeline.

Several conservative-aligned groups have endorsed Rosenfeld. The Iowa Liberty Network describes itself as “a Christian, grassroots, nonpartisan organization focused on maintaining the liberties endowed by our Creator through getting authentic, constitutional conservatives elected to the state legislature and other public offices.”

Informed Choice Iowa is best known for anti-vaccine advocacy but also backs candidates who promise to stand for “Informed Consent, Privacy, Parental Rights, Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech.”

The social conservative group The FAMiLY Leader said in a statement, “John is passionately pro-life. But his opponent in this race, Jane Bloomingdale, has a lengthy pro-abortion track record. She consistently breaks from her party to vote against protections for babies in the womb.”

Iowa Gun Owners considers the National Rifle Association and its Iowa affiliate to be insufficiently pro-gun. Aaron Dorr explained in a May 21 Facebook video that while Bloomingdale is “obviously a nice person,” she has never been “a leader or a fighter for the Second Amendment.” She has voted for pro-gun bills brought to the House floor, but she didn’t fill out the Iowa Gun Owners survey and hasn’t co-sponsored bills the group supports, such as the so-called “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” which would prohibit using Iowa law enforcement to enforce federal gun control laws. In contrast, Rosenfeld completed the survey and aligned with the group’s position on every issue.

Like many Iowa legislative challengers, Rosenfeld is running a low-budget operation. His campaign started from scratch and raised $12,370.44 from January to mid-May, including a $5,000 loan and a $2,000 contribution from Doug Campbell. Rosenfeld’s campaign raised another $5,551.99 during the second half of May, including his only reported PAC contribution: $1,000 from the Iowa Liberty Network.

Rosenfeld’s biggest expenses have been for printing, direct mail, and text messages, but total expenditures are below $20,000. His latest campaign finance disclosure shows $1,535.15 cash on hand and $2,026.01 in unpaid bills for printing campaign materials.

The FAMiLY Leader reported an independent expenditure of $4,600 on direct mail supporting Rosenfeld, with a distribution date of June 1. That’s cutting it close for a June 4 primary, given how inconsistent the U.S. Postal Service can be—especially in rural areas.

Final note: Bloomingdale endorsed Nikki Haley for president before the Iowa caucuses. While that does not appear to be a major talking point for the challenger, Rosenfeld is clearly trying to tap into GOP fervor for Donald Trump. He asserted in a May 26 Facebook post, “They will do anything to stop Trump! Corruption In The Uniparty as absolutely widespread! Vote in challengers on June 4th!”

Top photos of State Representative Jane Bloomingdale and GOP primary challenger John Rosenfeld were originally published on their Facebook pages, here and here.

About the Author(s)

Laura Belin

  • Thank you, Laura

    Reading this was certainly depressing, but also informative. Facing reality is the first step to changing it.

    And thanks for the reminder about Bloomingdale’s change of mind regarding the topsoil and stormwater bill. What a contrast to the moderate, sensible Iowa Republican legislators years ago who recognized the value of conservation.