What a difference a few years makes.
In 2018, Democrats barnstormed Iowa, flipping two congressional districts, holding another, and nearly winning the deeply Republican 4th District and the governor’s mansion for the first time in over a decade.
But in 2020, Republicans stormed right back, flipping two districts, replacing their own controversial 4th District representative, beating back a well-funded Democratic Senate candidate, and handing President Donald Trump a resounding victory for the second cycle in a row.
The only Iowa Democrat who survived 2020 was Cindy Axne, a first-term congresswoman from Des Moines who represents the state’s 3rd District and won re-election by the skin of her teeth.
Now, Republicans are champing at the bit to finish what they started in 2020. That would give the GOP complete control of the state’s House delegation for the first time since 1994, and — if venerable Sen. Chuck Grassley returns for an 8th term — it would be the first time since the 1940s that Iowa sends no Democrats to Washington at all.
Axne and her allies have other plans, and are already deploying significant financial resources to make sure she can buck a poor political environment and return to DC next year.
The Lay of the Land
The 3rd District sits in the southwest corner of the state, where it is anchored by Polk County, home of Des Moines, the state’s capital and largest city. By population, 62 percent of the district lives in Polk County, and in the 2020…