Topline Takeaways from Election Night:
- The national Republican wave never materialized. In Iowa, the Republicans outperformed the national Republican party’s performance at the state and federal levels. As we detail below, the Republicans performed extremely well both in the legislative and executive branch races as well as at the federal level. With the Iowa Senate Republicans reaching the constitutional supermajority number of 34, confirmation votes on gubernatorial appointees no longer will need Democratic votes.
- As of this morning, control of both the US House and US Senate is in question. In the Senate, the Democrats hold 48 seats, and the Republicans hold 47 seats. In the House, the Democrats hold 174 seats, and the Republicans hold 199 (218 needed for control of the chamber).
- If numbers hold in Iowa, the Republicans swept the Congressional races retaining three House seats and picking up one. The pickup of the third Congressional seat has not been called yet, but Zach Nunn is ahead by over 2,000 votes. Senator Grassley defeated Mike Franken.
- As anticipated, Governor Reynolds defeated Deirdre DeJear by a comfortable margin. Two longtime Democratic incumbents lost their statewide races as Roby Smith beat Mike Fitzgerald for State Treasurer and Brenna Bird defeated Tom Miller for Attorney General. Democratic incumbent Rob Sand will hold and defeat Todd Halbur and serve another term as State Auditor.
Governor Reynolds attained 58% of the vote in Iowa, securing her second full term in office. The race was called for Reynolds moments after the polls closed. Governor Reynolds commented on her win, “Our message for you tonight is this: We are not stopping. We are not slowing down.”
The statewide offices followed suit, with the Republicans holding the offices of the Secretary of State and Secretary of Agriculture, and picking up the offices of the Treasurer of the State and the Attorney General. Both the Treasurer of the State and the Attorney General were held by Democrats who were the longest-serving in their respective positions (Treasurer Fitzgerald since 1983 and Attorney General Miller since 1978 – with a brief interim from 1990-1994).
Auditor of the State Rob Sand held onto his seat by a mere 3,000 votes. He now remains the sole Democrat holding a statewide office.
Iowa Legislative Branch
The election came down to how many seats could be gained or retained in the suburban districts. Both parties spent the bulk of their resources on these races. While control of the chambers was never in question, the parties split the suburbs fairly evenly. In the Des Moines metro, the House Republicans lost two House seats in Ankeny, but the Senate Republicans picked up the newly created Ankeny Senate seat. All three races were extremely close. Elsewhere in the suburbs, Republicans and Democrats generally held their seats.
Iowa House of Representatives- REPUBLICAN HOLD WITH GAINS
The House Republicans netted 4 seats and retained control of the chamber by a margin of 64 to 36
Iowa Senate- REPUBLICAN HOLD WITH GAINS
The Senate Republicans picked up 2 seats and retained control of the chamber by a margin of 34 to 16. The significance of attaining 34 seats is that Republicans now have a “supermajority” in the Senate, meaning they will have the required 34 votes to confirm all Governor nominations and Democrats cannot vote to block those appointments. It has been over 50 years since either party has held a supermajority in the Iowa Senate.
Iowa Federal Delegation
U.S. Senate – REPUBLICAN HOLD
Senator Chuck Grassley defeated Michael Franken 56 percent to 43 percent. This margin reflected the last poll taken before the election. Before that, polling had this race much closer. If the Republicans take control of the US Senate, Senator Grassley will return to the role as President Pro-Tem of the Senate (fourth in line for the Presidency). Regardless of which party controls the chamber, with the retirement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Grassley now becomes the Senator with the most seniority in the Senate.
Iowa Congressional District 1-REPUBLICAN HOLD
Representative Marianette Miller-Meeks (R) defeated State Representative Christina Bohannon 56 percent to 43 percent and will serve her second term in Congress. In her last election, her race was decided by six votes after a recount and remains the closest Congressional race in history. This time with a new district, Miller-Meeks was favored in the polls to win from the beginning of the campaign.
Iowa Congressional District 2-REPUBLICAN HOLD
Representative Ashley Hinson defeated State Senator Liz Mathis 54 percent to 46 percent and will serve her second term in Congress. This was consistent with polling throughout the campaign but this race was routinely classified as a “toss-up” or a “lean Republican.”
Iowa Congressional District 3-REPUBLICAN PICK UP
State Senator Zach Nunn defeated two-term Congresswoman Cindy Axne by just over 2,000 votes. The polling was accurate on this race as it was always extremely tight and was long seen as critical to both parties controlling the US House chamber.
Iowa Congressional District 4-REPUBLICAN HOLD
Representative Feenstra was heavily favored throughout the campaign as this district is one of the reddest in the country. Feenstra defeated Ryan Melton 67 percent to 30 percent and will go on to serve his second term in Congress.
The Dentons Davis Brown Government Relations Team Davis Brown will continue to provide election analysis and updates as they become available.
On Tuesday, December 13, the Iowa Dentons Government Relations team will host a luncheon where we will provide a detailed analysis of the election and what can be expected at the Iowa Statehouse. We will be joined by our colleagues from our DC office who will provide their insights into the US Congress as a result of this election. Email Stephanie.Gifford@dentons.com to reserve your seat.