Iowa and national 2018 election results thread

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.

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Part 4: How to corrupt Iowa agriculture

Latest deep dive by Tyler Higgs on money in Iowa politics. -promoted by desmoinesdem

There’s nothing more Iowan than farming, and there’s nothing more dangerous than a corrupt politician. Those idyllic Grant Wood images of Iowa farms and hard-working Iowa farmers are being replaced by logos of the Big Ag monopolies that exploit the Iowa family farmer for financial gain. That is how you corrupt Iowa agriculture.

In this article, I will show the finances of both candidates for Iowa secretary of agriculture, Republican Mike Naig and Democrat Tim Gannon. You can decide who is fighting for the family farmer and who is in the pocket of big agribusiness companies.

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Iowa media shrug as Farm Bureau deploys corporate cash for Mike Naig

Iowa law prohibits corporate campaign contributions, so it seems like big news for a business lobby group to seek a “one-time investment of corporate funds” on behalf of a statewide candidate whose election “could return dividends for a decade or more to come.”

Yet media gatekeepers have mostly decided the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s plan to elect Republican Mike Naig as secretary of agriculture isn’t newsworthy.

While most print and broadcast outlets ignore the story, pro-Naig advertising that strongly resembles the Republican’s campaign messaging has reached hundreds of thousands of voters.

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Weak laws allow Iowa Farm Bureau to boost Mike Naig with corporate cash

“This is illegal right?” a contact asked this morning after reading Pat Rynard’s scoop about the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation soliciting agribusiness dollars to help Republican Mike Naig win the secretary of agriculture election.

You’d think so, since Iowa law prohibits corporations from donating to candidate committees or state PACs.

However, the Farm Bureau appears to have found a legal way to boost Naig with Big Ag cash while concealing the sources of those funds until after November 6.

The scheme is a case study of how Iowa’s campaign finance laws fail to limit corporate influence effectively or even provide transparency when companies try to buy elections.

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Iowa reaction to aid plan for farmers hurt by trade war

“Tariffs are the greatest!” President Donald Trump tweeted today, adding that “All will be Great!”

A few hours later, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced “up to $12 billion in programs” aimed at helping farmers, “in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods.”

Trump will surely talk up the assistance at his joint event with Representative Rod Blum (IA-01) in Dubuque on July 26. But the escalating trade war isn’t just affecting farmers. Steel tariffs are hurting manufacturers too. “Whirpool shares plummeted Tuesday after executives blamed rising steel and aluminum costs for diminished quarterly earnings,” Michael Sheetz reported for CNBC on July 24. Whirlpool’s refrigerator factory in Amana is the largest employer in Iowa County.

While Democrats criticized the temporary response to a “self-inflicted wound,” top Iowa Republicans reacted to the farm aid plan in three distinct ways. Blum and Representative Steve King (IA-04) unambiguously praised the president. Their U.S. House colleague David Young (IA-03) was notably more critical of Trump’s policy. Iowa’s U.S. senators, Governor Kim Reynolds, and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig tried to thread the needle, depicting themselves as fighting for Iowa farmers and open markets without denouncing the president’s approach to trade negotiations.

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