IA-03: How vulnerable is Cindy Axne?

Ninth in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.

U.S. Representative Cindy Axne was among 32 House members added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” program, Stephanie Akin was first to report for Roll Call on March 1.

Putting Axne on the list of potentially vulnerable House incumbents is a no-brainer. Iowa’s third Congressional district was one of only seven in the country that voted for both President Donald Trump and a Democratic candidate for U.S. House. Speaking to members of the Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee in December, Axne noted that she is the only House Democrat to win two elections by less than a 2 percent margin in a district Trump carried. She’s also the only current member of her caucus to win twice with less than a 50 percent vote share.

Iowa won’t adopt a new political map for at least another six months, and Axne has not confirmed whether she will seek re-election. (She is sometimes mentioned as a possible candidate for governor.) Nevertheless, the 2020 results in IA-03 inform some educated guesses about Axne’s prospects in a third Congressional campaign.

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Iowa Congressional redistricting scenarios: What we know

Evan Burger: Despite census delays, what we know about Iowa’s redistricting process allows us to say a surprising amount about how the new Congressional districts will look. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last month, I wrote that census delays might prevent the Iowa legislature from fulfilling their constitutional requirement to finish redistricting by September 1. Since then, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that they will not finish compiling the data necessary for redistricting until September 30, so the legislature is now guaranteed to miss their deadline.

All eyes are now on the Iowa Supreme Court. Will the justices exercise their authority to take over redistricting on September 15, or will they give the legislature more time to finish the standard redistricting process? So far, the judicial branch hasn’t said.

How the legislature will handle the delay is also not clear. Facing a similar situation, California legislators asked their state supreme court for an extension of the constitutional deadline, which the justices unanimously voted to grant. Legislative leaders in Iowa have not said whether they will take a similarly proactive approach. Iowa Capital Dispatch and Radio Iowa have quoted Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and House Speaker Pat Grassley as saying they are evaluating their options.

The census delays continue to add uncertainty into Iowa’s redistricting process. But we do know some things about redistricting – and that allows us to say a surprising amount about how the new districts will look.

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Rob Sand may run for higher office in 2022; Cindy Axne non-committal

Following another devastating election up and down the ballot, Iowa Democrats have begun to speculate about the next political cycle. Governor Kim Reynolds will be up for re-election, and Iowa’s other U.S. Senate seat will be on the ballot.

State Auditor Rob Sand hasn’t ruled out running for governor, Senate, or re-election in 2022, he told viewers of an “ask me anything” Facebook session on December 10. “Any of those three would be possibilities.”

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Lessons of 2020: Every Iowa Congressional district favors Republicans

Seventh in a series interpreting the results of Iowa’s 2020 state and federal elections.

Hawaii became the 50th state to certify its 2020 election results this week. The Cook Political Report’s national popular vote tracker shows Joe Biden received 81,282,376 votes (51.3 percent) to 74,222,576 votes for Donald Trump (46.9 percent).

With the books closed on the popular vote for president, we can fill in some details on a reality that came into focus last month: Iowa no longer has any Democratic-leaning U.S. House districts.

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Iowa Democratic Party vs Democratic voters: Can the shepherd find the sheep?

Glenn Hurst: “Democrats across Iowa are looking for a candidate who is not playing to the middle, the establishment. They want to vote for someone who runs as a Democrat and espouses Democratic values.” -promoted by Laura Belin

In 2016, when Bernie Sanders lost the primary to Hillary Clinton and then Donald Trump won the presidency, Iowa Democrats were at each other’s throats. Blame was laid on the left-leaning voters for not turning out for Clinton. The establishment was accused of running a system to “fix” the nomination for an unpopular candidate.

This intraparty drama was such a common phenomena across the country that a reconciliation committee, a.k.a. the “Unity Panel” was formed to address the conflict.

If my Facebook wall and Twitter feed are a measure of political discontent, the party is absolutely pacified. There has been a relative lack of backroom chatter regarding the presidential outcome this year compared to 2016. The Joe Biden win appears to be taken as a relief and eyes have turned away from questioning why he lost in Iowa. This does not mean the Iowa Democratic Party has wiped its brow and is moving on with business as usual.

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