Juliana Martinez—Staff Writer
While some states continue to recount votes to ensure a fair election, Iowa’s races were called the day after constituents cast their votes.
For the gubernatorial race, fifth generation Iowan and incumbent Kim Reynolds was chosen to serve as Iowa’s first elected female governor. Reynolds filled the position in 2017 when her predecessor Terry Brandstad stepped down to fill a different position as ambassador, but this is the first time she was elected to that office. Reynolds won with 50.4 percent of the votes; she claimed just 3 percent (about 40,000 votes) more than her opponent, Fred Hubbell.
Iowa Senator Randy Feenstra, a Dordt professor and alumnus, noted his colleague is authentic, genuine and charismatic.
“You don’t see that very often with politicians,” Feenstra. “I think most Iowans can relate to her…whether they agree with her or not, that’s different.”
Dr. John Swart, a northwest Iowa businessman and Orange City resident, noted Reynolds is pro-business, which is certainly “positive for the state in general.” He also found the closeness of the election no surprise, given “urban versus rural politics.”
The new term for Governor Reynolds and her running mate, Adam Gregg, will officially begin on Jan. 11, 2019, following the Iowa gubernatorial inauguration in Des Moines.
Two of the four U.S. House of Representative seats were flipped for Iowa, with Steve King and Dave Loebsack remaining as the winning incumbents. David Young, the Republican candidate for Iowa’s third district, was defeated by Democrat Cindy Axne. There was only a 5,000 vote margin between the two candidates. Abby Finkenauer defeated Rob Blum, a Republican who represented the first district since 2015.
Three out of the four Iowa seats will be held by Democrats, with Steve King as the lone Iowan Republican in the U.S. House. King faced his own tight battle, too: he only won by 3.4 percent of the votes in Iowa’s fourth district.
Iowans do not seem surprised by the tight race.
“King is not eloquent,” Swart said. “Schoulten…actually presented himself much better than King does.”
Although King has been the district’s representative since 2003, this election was by far his closest race. According to Feenstra, King needs to “represent the people… you have to be out there and talk with them,” and he did not see King as very engaged or active.
Nationally, the Democratic Party gained control of the House of Representatives with 32 more seats than the Republicans. Ten elections are still being weighed.
In the Senate, Republicans maintained control and even gained a few seats. Republicans will hold at least 52 seats, and Democrats currently have control of 46 seats. Arizona’s Senate election has not yet been called, but is leaning towards the Democrat nominee at time of printing.
Of the states that held gubernatorial elections, 23 states elected a Democrat and 26 elected a Republican.