What Wins Up and Down the Ballot in Iowa Tell Us for 2020 and Beyond
To: Interested Parties
From: NARAL Pro-Choice America
Date: November 7, 2018
Re: What Wins Up and Down the Ballot in Iowa Tell Us for 2020 and Beyond
Iowa witnessed historic wins and is now sending pro-choice champions to Washington. These victories were a rebuke to the Trump/Republican agenda that was pushed by David Young, Rod Blum, and extreme candidates up and down the ballot. After this historic election night, Iowa is now represented by two women – the first two women to represent the state in the U.S. House. Abortion access and reproductive freedom were key issues in races across Iowa. By making their support for reproductive rights a focal point of their campaigns, Cindy Axne, Abby Finkenauer, and NARAL endorsed House candidates Dave Williams (HD 60), Molly Donahue (HD 68), Heather Matson (HD 38), Kristin Sunde (HD 42), Jennifer Konfrst (HD 43) and Karin Derry (HD 39) built a strong coalition that resulted in wins by considerable margins. The results in Iowa were not a solo trend. Across the nation from Virginia to Washington State, from Iowa to Pennsylvania, we saw Democrats win and secure victories that further protect our basic human rights.
Despite these historic wins, Iowans will have to double-down their efforts to combat Kim Reynolds and the GOP’s extreme agenda. In the face of attempts by Republicans to force through cruel and unnecessary abortion bans like Reynolds’s 6-week ban earlier this year, NARAL is ready to work with partners across the state to ensure that Republicans in Iowa don’t get the chance to further decimate our basic human rights.
The lesson for 2019, 2020 and beyond is clear: embracing reproductive freedom and fighting for the right of women and families to determine their own destinies is a winning strategy.
I. CHAMPIONING REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM WAS KEY TO WINS BY AXNE, FINKENAUER AND HOUSE DEMOCRATS
Candidates won by large margins in the general election
- Finkenauer won by nearly 5 points
- Axne toppled long-time anti-choice Republican David Young by nearly 2 points
- Democratic voters were enthusiastic and turned out in record-breaking numbers
- Axne and Finkenauer are now the first two women to ever represent Iowa in the U.S. House
- Iowa is now represented by a majority of female elected officials at the federal level
- 49 women will now serve in the Iowa legislature, an all-time record
Candidates gained support in part because they embraced a platform to expand and protect abortion access
- Cindy Axne, Abby Finkenauer and NARAL’s endorsed House candidates have spent their careers collectively fighting for the rights of women and families.
- Both Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer fought for reproductive freedom and were outspoken opponents of the 6-week ban pushed by Kim Reynolds and the GOP
- Cindy Axne embraced NARAL’s endorsement, and made fighting for women’s healthcare and abortion access a priority in her campaign
- Abby Finkenauer defeated Rod Blum who issued inaccurate ads targeting Finkenauer for being pro-choice
II. WINS IN IOWA SOLIDIFY WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW — ABORTION IS A WINNING ISSUE UP AND DOWN THE BALLOT ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Not just in Iowa, but across the nation, voters overwhelmingly support abortion access.
- 7 in 10 Iowans believe a woman should be able to make her own personal healthcare decisions and that includes her decision to access an abortion.
- 86% of Democratic voters oppose limiting abortion access. This support is even more pronounced amongst women, particularly women of color, who have always been core to the Democratic base.
- What’s more, 53% of Republicans want to uphold the protections that Roe v. Wade provides to women and families
III. NARAL MEMBERS WERE AN EARLY FORCE FOR CANDIDATES FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM OF THE TICKET IN IOWA
NARAL members endorsed pro-choice champions early and worked hard for them through the cycle. After launching the largest ever midterm political program in NARAL’s history, the organization invested in diverse candidates up and down the ballot across the country, mobilizing members and voters through mail, phones, digital ads, door to door canvassing, TV ads, and rallies that hold anti-choice candidates accountable and lift up pro-choice champions. Iowa was a key state where pro-choice wins were crucial. From holding phone banks every single Tuesday, to knocking hundreds of doors per week, NARAL members across Iowa have truly energized and mobilized voters at higher rates than ever before. Over the course of the campaign, our members:
- Knocked 10,400 doors
- Made 56,706 calls to voters
NARAL Iowa members marching to the polls in Cedar Rapids
NARAL Supported Winning State Legislative Candidates Across the State of Iowa
NARAL Iowa endorsed eight House candidates, and dug in deep from the beginning of the election cycle to ensure that Iowans had the best champions representing them in Des Moines. In September, NARAL members gathered together with members of the Iowa House and state House candidates who pledged to introduce legislation to protect Roe v Wade if elected. NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, along with House Minority Leader, Mark Smith joined Kristin Sunde (HD 42), Heather Matson (HD 38), Karin Derry (HD 39), Jennifer Konfrst (HD 43), Dave Williams (HD 60), Eric Gjerde (HD 67), and Molly Donahue (HD 68) to publicly commit to introducing legislation to protect Roe v Wade if elected. NARAL was a leading voice in condemning current Gov. Kim Reynolds for recently signing the most extreme abortion ban in the country and will work aggressively with allies in the House to protect women’s reproductive rights.
NARAL President Ilyse Hogue with Democratic Minority Leader Mark Smith, NARAL members, and House candidates in September
IV. NARAL IS BUILDING POWER IN IOWA AS WE HEAD INTO 2019 and 2020
As we head into 2019 and 2020, campaigns should embrace the critical lessons learned in Iowa — when candidates are unapologetic, pro-choice champions and run on a platform of making reproductive freedom a reality for all, we win. NARAL has spent the last several years building power across the state of Iowa, digging deep to ensure that we don’t just elect pro-choice champions, but support them, aid them in passing legislation that protects the reproductive rights and freedoms of women and families and gives them the resources they need to succeed.
NARAL will continue to build momentum across the state, working with pro-choice partners to fight back against the GOP’s last-ditch efforts to bring Iowa back to the 1950’s and erode the rights of women and families. With Kim Reynolds in the Governor’s mansion and a GOP majority, our members will be on the frontlines to protect access to abortion care for Iowans. NARAL members are heading into 2019 and 2020 with groundbreaking energy and will continue serving as a support system to the candidates who fight for the rights and freedom of all, and holding accountable those who exist to attack our ability to make our own personal healthcare decisions.