Political Theater is heading to the Iowa State Fair to check out how the 2020 races for president and Senate and four competitive House contests are shaping up in this bellwether state. Why Iowa? Because that’s where the candidates are.
Bridget Bowman, our senior political writer, and Leah Askarinam of Inside Elections lay it all out for us on the latest episode of Political Theater.
The Hawkeye State was one of those places that voted twice for Barack Obama, in 2008 and 2012, and then flipped to Donald Trump in 2016.
Trump won it 51-42 percent over Democrat Hillary Clinton. In 2012, Obama beat Republican Mitt Romney 52-46 percent, and in 2008, Obama bested Sen. John McCain 54-44 percent. Important to keep in mind: Trump lost the 2016 Iowa Republican caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz, albeit narrowly, while Clinton beat Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, again narrowly.
“Again, narrowly” could be the unofficial motto for Iowa, at least when it comes to politics.
Sen. Joni Ernst is up for reelection, and as a Republican on the Senate leadership team, as well as someone who has occasionally distanced herself from the president, she is on a number of Democratic target lists. If Democrats are able to flip her seat, that would go a long way to providing them a path to the majority.
All four House races are competitive in the 2020 cycle.
In the 2nd District, Democrat Dave Loebsack is retiring, opening up a competitive seat that Trump carried 49-45 percent.
And in the 4th District, Republican Steve King narrowly beat Democrat J.D. Scholten in 2018, 50-47 percent, in a place where Trump romped to a 61-34 percent win over Clinton.
How these five congressional races shake out will go a long way toward determining which party is in the majority in 2021. And who wins those races could depend a lot on who is running for president against Trump. We expect pretty much all of these people at the Iowa State Fair, which is why we will be there as well.
Oh, and we’re also going for the food, including, at last count, 69 different types of food on a stick. Oh, and Slipknot and Night Ranger are playing too. It’s going to be a hoot.
- Iowans prep for fierce 2020 fight — and not just for the White House
- Iowa: The Fair of Entourages
- How to survive and thrive in Iowa — words of wisdom from former staffers
- How Gephardt’s 2004 Iowa team boosted the Democratic Party
- This Iowa farmer has his finger on the 2020 pulse
- Going full Grassley on the Iowa Caucuses
- Former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling announces he’s running in Iowa
- National Democrats take sides in Iowa Senate primary
- Iowa’s David Young wants a rematch against Cindy Axne
- Iowa’s Dave Loebsack will not run for re-election in 2020
- Rating change: Loebsack’s retirement in Iowa expands House playing field
- GOP Rep. King gets rematch against J.D. Scholten, who he narrowly defeated in 2018
- Steve King’s constituents in Iowa grapple with his ‘white supremacy’ comments